When President Obama made a landmark speech against modern slavery on Tuesday, many of us in the news media shrugged. It didn’t fit into the political narrative. It wasn’t controversial, so — yawn — it wasn’t really news.
But women like Sina Vann noticed. She’s a friend of mine who was trafficked as a young girl from Vietnam into Cambodian brothels — where she was regularly punished by being locked inside coffins with scorpions and biting ants. Now an anti-trafficking activist with the Somaly Mam Foundation, she sent me an exuberant e-mail (in fractured English, her third language) with a message for Obama: “We are survivors here so proud of you, you are the big president in U.S. and you take action of trafficking. So you give victims from around the world have hope.”
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