November 26th, 2010
04:42 PM ET

Woman fighting sex slavery named CNN Hero of the Year

Editor's note: Watch "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" this weekend on the global networks of CNN. Nominations for 2011 CNN Heroes are now open at CNNHeroes.com.

Los Angeles, California (CNN) - A woman whose group has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls from sex slavery has been named the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year.

Anuradha Koirala was chosen by the public in an online poll that ran for eight weeks on CNN.com. CNN's Anderson Cooper revealed the result at the conclusion of the fourth annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute."

"Human trafficking is a crime, a heinous crime, a shame to humanity," Koirala said earlier in the evening after being introduced as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010. "I ask everyone to join me to create a society free of trafficking. We need to do this for all our daughters."

Koirala was introduced by actress Demi Moore, who along with her husband, Ashton Kutcher, created DNA, The Demi and Ashton Foundation, which aims to eliminate child sex slavery worldwide.

"Every day this woman confronts the worst of what humanity has to offer," Moore said of Koirala. "She says, 'Stop. Stop selling our girls.' By raiding brothels and patrolling the India-Nepal border, she saves girls from being sold into the sex trade, where they are being repeatedly raped for profit, tortured and enslaved.

"Since 1993, she has helped rescue more than 12,000 women and girls. Through her organization Maiti Nepal, she has provided more than a shelter for these girls and young women, she has created a home. It is a place for them to heal, go to school, learn a skill, and for some who are infected with HIV/AIDS, it is the place where they can spend their days surrounded by love."

Koirala will receive $100,000 to continue her work with Maiti Nepal, in addition to the $25,000 awarded to each of the top 10 Heroes honored.

"This is another responsibility to me to work with all your support," Koirala told the audience after being named Hero of the Year. "We have to end this heinous crime. Please join hands with me to end this crime. ... Please try to respect the youth. They are the ones who are going to build the next generation. Thank you so much."

Koirala's speech capped the gala event, which was taped November 20 before an audience of nearly 5,000 and premiered Thanksgiving night on the global networks of CNN.

Full story

Filed under: CNN Heroes
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Mo

    This is the most Awe inspiring award show in the history!!! Dear Anderson Cooper and the Cnn network Thankyou Soooooooooooo much for creating this show.Cnn Heros has inspired me beyond anything to do great things for people. i absolutely love this show. thank u.

    November 28, 2010 at 11:10 pm |
  2. Laura Soltani

    So quickly we forget. Those heroes tomorrow will be doing more of their unselfish gift-giving endeavors. The Gift of life, Hope, Light at the end of the tunnel. So selfish we are in forgetting to support them. If we can't be with them physically or geographically to help make a difference, then let our dollars replace us in that mission. Please donate to those less fortunate than we are. Please give. Don't ask why. Don't be selfish. Lend a hand, Give some dollars...Close your eyes and see your contribution making a difference in a child's life out there. Feel good about it. Or shut this post, click away, and I know you will carry that guilt of selfishness with you for days to come... Give..Donate..Just DO IT.

    November 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
  3. Aruna METTLER

    Congratulations Anurahdha, your are courageous beyond words. I wonder if once a year or every other year one can come to nepal and help you?

    November 28, 2010 at 7:55 am |
  4. Rita Bernstein

    I have just watched your CNN heroes and I wanted you to know how deeply touched I am at the optimism and activism of each of the amazing people you honored. All of their works showcased the spirit of compassion and humility and all of their presence was an inspiration to me. I was very moved by the fact that you found and funded these righteous works and enabled all of us in the audience to be witnesses to the valor and courage their lives represent. It also speaks volumes for your use of your media as an expression of humanitarian values and education. Each of us needs to be reminded that economics, consumerism and power cannot be the focus of our human journey but rather some higher calling and some exertion of daily kindness and attention to detail of the humanity around us. I applaud CNN and say thank you for showing me the opportunity I have each day to effect the world. Thank you so much, it was beautifully presented .Anderson/Staff/CNN!

    November 28, 2010 at 1:31 am |
  5. Elisha Dickson

    CNN has come up with a nice style of recognizing saints of modern times. The heroes and heroines worthed the recognitions for the sanity they are creating. Thanks to CNN for presenting them to us all wordwide. Thank you. Elisha Dickson

    November 27, 2010 at 2:37 am |

    Watching you {Anuradha Koirala } in CNN made me to shed tears of joy, you have done this world a great thing. you have given these ladies hope which is unshakable certainty in restoration of life "Hold on! don't waiver!Gods promises are certain and sure. your hopes will be realised.

    November 27, 2010 at 1:54 am |
  7. kasun

    god bless this wonderful and courageous woman and the rest of the cnn heros.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:01 pm |