By Delinda Lombardo on
Pulitzer Prize winning author Nicholas Kristof and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn, sat down with Oprah this week to discuss their book, “Half The Sky,” which features miraculous stories about empowering the poorest girls and women in the world.
The heart breaking episode of Oprah also aired Kristof’s hard-hitting video about a teenage Cambodian sex-slave. The film, which is fronted by Angelina Jolie and includes narrations by Ben Affleck and Demi Moore, recounts stories about the death, mutilation and despicable discrimination against young women and teenagers in the world’s poorest places.
“In the 19th century, the foremost challenge was slavery,” Kristof says. “Today, we think it is the gender inequity, especially in the developing world.”
In the video, shot by Kristof, Jolie recounts a horrific story of a young girl who was kidnapped from her village when she was just 13, sold to sex slavery and forced into prostitution. “Virgins bring in hundreds of dollars for brothel owners and are in high demand by men with Aids, who believe having sex with a virgin will cure their disease,” narrates Jolie, “Because these enslaved girls are forbidden to request condoms, they’re vulnerable to STDs (sexually-transmitted diseases), AIDS and pregnancies.”
Demi Moore narrates the story of ‘Prudence’ in the video: “This is Prudence, a 24-year-old mother of three from a remote village in Cameroon” she says, “After suffering three days of agonizing labor, a midwife sat on her stomach in a desperate attempt to force the baby out, but instead ruptured her uterus. Hoping to save the baby, Prudence’s family found someone to drive her 75 miles to the hospital on a motorcycle…An African woman has one chance in 20 of dying in pregnancy. In much of the world, the most dangerous thing a woman can do is become pregnant.”
“In the country of Niger, I saw a case just like Prudence’s—only the woman lived. She lived because of a $42 birthing kit that Columbia University provided,” said Kristof. “One of the dangers is that we can sometimes focus on all the bad things, and it seems depressing and we tune it out, but there is a lot of progress, a lot of potential to really bring about change.”
Kristof, who was appearing on Oprah to promote his new book Half The Sky, estimates tens of millions of young girls are ensnared in a global sex trafficking and slavery industry.
Find out more on Oprah.com.
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