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Why I am Grateful for Demi Moore: CNN’s 2010 Woman of the Year, Anuradha Koirala

You know when people compare something to a trainwreck, meaning that they know they should look away but just can’t? Reading David Batstone’s Not For Sale is like a reverse trainwreck; you want to stop reading because its just so awful, what’s happening to these real, live, human beings, all over the world, but you know you shouldn’t. Every page that disturbs me, I keep going because I have to know. My bubble has to burst. And every chapter that goes by I hug my girls just a little bit more.

What I love about this book, and I think you would too, is that he weaves stories of victims in with those that are fighting to save them. There are amazing stories of everyday heroes, people like you and I, who use things like soya milk, cooking classes, and jewelry making, to literally save lives.

And there’s also some things that make me laugh, like how in Thai Buddhism – especially interesting since Thailand is considered Disneyland for sexual exploits (awful but unfortunately true) – women are not even capable of attaining the highest stage of spiritual enlightenment. The best they can hope for is to do enough good in this life, that they generate enough karma to come back in the next life as a man.  The reverse is true as well: those born a woman in this life were thought to have created enough negative karma in their previous life that they were punished this time around as the ‘weaker sex.’ David and I laughed out loud over that, but it is sadly one of the things that many in South Asia use as an excuse to force women into slavery.

Anyhow… all of this leads me to a profile of one of these everyday heroes, a woman that none of us would know except for CNN & DNA – that’s the Demi and Ashton Foundation, yes, founded by who you think founded it, with the aim to eliminate child sex slavery worldwide. (Note, I’ve never really been a celebrity person, just so you know, but I do love when famous people use their influence for raising awareness to serious, important issues like this, for what else is influence given then to fight the plight of the invisible?) This Nepali woman, Anuradha Koirala, enthusiastically named CNN’s Woman of the Year in November 2010, lets her passion explode through her small stature as she defends the cause of the defenseless. Her organization, Maiti Nepal, has helped rescue more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery since 1993. 12,000 may not seem like much in the face of over 1 million still trapped, but they are 12,000 people whose lives have been radically changed.

CNN’s website writes this woman’s profile much better than I could, so I refer you to the link here. There are several videos that will leave you feeling encouraged and inspired, though a couple of them were slow to load on my computer. It will be worth it.

And the really good news? There are many more just like Anuradha. I hope to tell you about more of them in the weeks to come, but more importantly, to remind you, that every day, living well, being grateful for your own freedom, is one of the best ways we can inch-by-inch join Anuradha’s – and really, every human being’s– cause.

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