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Sheryl Sandberg’s hero: Somaly Mam

November 15, 2011, 8:00 PM UTC

Somaly Mam is a hero. Nick Kristof said so in his op-ed column in the New York Times this past weekend. Kristof raided a brothel in Northern Cambodia with this amazing woman who has become the guiding light in fighting forced prostitution around the world.

After escaping a similar brothel, where she was raped and tortured on a daily basis for years, Somaly Mam found her purpose. She devoted her life to fighting human trafficking, has saved 7,000 women and children from slavery, and has put her own life at risk countless times. Her biggest everyday concern is the 75 girls who live with her in her home, a haven.

“For me, dying is nothing,” Mam told Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, one of her most ardent supporters, on stage at this year’s Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. Sandberg framed the problem of human slavery in business terms: It is an estimated $32 billion industry. Imagine, in this era–human trafficking is reportedly the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world.

Sandberg’s conversation with Mam drew a standing ovation from the MPW audience, some tears, and a flood of support to the tune of $45,000.

We’re glad we could help in a small way. Watch this clip of Sandberg’s interview with Mam, and if you too would like to help, go to the Somaly Mam Foundation here.