Add Somaly Mam’s name to the list of beloved do-gooding impostors, fabulists, and serial exaggerators—Michael Moore, Rigoberta Menchu, Ward Churchill, Elizabeth Warren, Greg “Three Cups of Tea” Mortenson, the “gay girl in Damascus” who turned out to be a middle-aged straight man in Georgia—who’ve faked their way through this century alone. Toss in the plagiarists—Chris Hedges (“Pulitzer winner. Lefty hero.”) is only the latest—and you’ve got a veritable avalanche of Anastasias.
How did Somaly Mam fool so many gullible, rich white bleeding hearts for so long? Well, as every hooker learns the hard way, you won’t survive long on these mean streets without a man around to protect you (sweetie). And in Mam’s case, that man was Nicholas Kristof at the New York Times.