The Swedish prize committee said Somaly Mam was honoured for her ”dangerous struggle” to save girls sold to brothels in Cambodia. She was selected the winner in a vote by 6.6 million children worldwide.
Mam was herself sold as a sex slave when she was a child and in 2006 her 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped, raped and sold to a brothel.
Mam has helped build safe houses that provide refuge, food and health care abd schooling for girls saved from slavery.
The award which honours efforts to better the lives of children worldwide, is split into three parts.
Peru’s Josefina Condori and Agnes Stevens of the U.S. share an honourary award. The committee cited Condori’s work to protect house maids who work under ”slave-like conditions” in Peru and Stevens’ work for homeless children in the U.S. through the Schools on Wheels organization.
Sweden’s Queen Silvia will host an awards ceremony on Friday at Gripsholm’s castle outside Stockholm.