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In February of this year, singer Ricky Martin spent three-days at a United Nations conference in Vienna where he learned of Cambodia’s child trafficking problems. This week, he was reduced to tears during a charity trip to a Cambodian shelter where a teenage rape victim performed a song she wrote about her ordeal as a trafficking victim.

“She sings like an angel,” said Martin, a five-time Grammy Award winner.

The sultry pop star was representing his Ricky Martin Foundation in support of the fight against human trafficking when he visited a shelter in Siem Reap in order to spend time with children affected by sexual assaults. The shelter houses 65 victims of human trafficking, and Martin spent time comforting, among others, a 3-month-old girl whose mother was sold into prostitution, as well as numerous children in need of comfort.

After his visit, Martin was obviously touched by the stories from these young survivors.

“I’m not going to stop.” He told the children, “All of you are my heroes. You are a gift of my life.”

According to the United Nations, about 2.5 million people are involved in forced labor as a result of trafficking, with most victims between the ages of 18 and 24. The US State Department has called Cambodia a country that is ‘a source, destination and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for sexual exploitation and labor.’

“The fact that you have 200 non-governmental groups working in the country working on human trafficking is unheard of,” Martin told Cambodian officials, according to the Associated Press.

Martin isn’t alone on his quest, and has joined actress Emma Thompson and Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak in calling for action. Additionally, in 2005, Martin collaborated with the International Organization for Migration on “Llama y Vive” (Call and Live), a campaign aimed at the prevention of human trafficking, protection of the youngest victims of child trafficking, and prosecution of the traffickers.

Martin has been a vocal activits for years. In September 2002, he received a Hispanic Heritage Award for his humanitarian work through the Sabera Foundation in rescuing three orphan girls from the streets of Calcutta. He also acts as a Goodwill Ambassador to UNICEF, and established the Ricky Martin Foundation in Puerto Rico to advocate for the welfare of children around the world.

Martin established the Ricky Martin Foundation in Puerto Rico, to effectively pursue his humanitarian principles and to advocate for the welfare of children around the world. From the outset, Martin and his staff decided to support programs that enhance the well being of children. As facilitators and strong believers in partnerships with international organizations, the private sector, local non-profits, and individuals, the Ricky Martin Foundation continues to evolve. Our voice in alliance with other sectors is committed to defend the most fragile population against modern forms of slavery and to provide them a safer world through wellness initiatives.

To further uphold our principle of social justice, in 2004 the RMF launched People for Children, a global initiative to educate, denunciate, and support the international framework for the elimination of human trafficking, especially minors. This unscrupulous market annually generates $10 billion dollars, and it’s only preceded by the trafficking of drugs and arms.

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