Nomi Network is a non-profit organization, which aims to leverage the marketplace to eradicate human trafficking. The organization increases the financial independence of women who are vulnerable to or survivors of sex trafficking. The root cause of sex trafficking and slavery is economic poverty; thus, addressing the economic drivers that push impoverished women and children into sexual slavery is critical.
Nomi Network is named after an eight-year-old survivor of sex trafficking that Diana Mao and Alissa Moore had met while visiting a rehabilitation center in Cambodia. Diana and Alissa had expected the girls to be withdrawn, but when they arrived, Nomi* ran to them with her arms wide open and hugged Diana. She was a bundle of innocence and trust, and for the remainder of the visit, she clung to them with affection. Unfortunately, as a result of having been forced to have sex with men, Nomi has a permanent mental disability that prevents her from being able to be fully rehabilitated and reintegrated back into the community.
When Nomi was first admitted to the shelter, she could not get along with any of the other girls due to her mental disability. She could not talk in full sentences, and she drooled on the other girls. However, very recently, founder Supei Liu visited Nomi at the shelter and discovered that Nomi’s learning ability and social skills have improved enormously. She is talking in Khmer and has even learned some English. Nomi is making friends and is able to live and get along with the eight other girls in the long-term ward of the shelter. Supei says that Nomi is very compassionate and expressed deep concern when she noticed a large band aid on Supei’s arm.
Nomi’s story is representative of the millions of individuals who live the brutal reality of sex trafficking every day. Nomi Network wants to ensure that people like Nomi have a voice, a hope and a future. Their stories deserve to be heard and responded to as they cry out: “Know me, Know my story, and Know my success.”
* Nomi is an altered name for the protection and privacy of the girls at the rehabilitation center in Cambodia.
By: Diana Mao