Somaly Mam, an internationally renowned human rights activist and Oprah-approved author, resigned from her eponymous foundation this week after a damning Newsweek exposé suggested she lied on numerous occasions about instances of sexual abuse and rape.
According to the Newsweek story, Mam encouraged young women to fabricate stories of sex trafficking and may have lied about details from her own past.
At least two young women who publicly claimed Mam rescued them from a life of sex slavery were, according to the article, never actually abused.
Late last year, Ratha finally confessed that her story was fabricated and carefully rehearsed for the cameras under Mam's instruction, and only after she was chosen from a group of girls who had been put through an audition. Now in her early 30s and living a modest life on the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Ratha says she reluctantly allowed herself to be depicted as a child prostitute: "Somaly said that…if I want to help another woman I have to do [the interview] very well."
The author also points out numerous inconsistencies in Mam's own story, first published in Mam's best-selling memoir, "The Road to Lost Innocence."
In a statement released today, the Somaly Mam Foundation said they hired a law firm several months ago to look into the claims against Mam and, "as a result... we have accepted Somaly's resignation effective immediately."
[image via AP]