Sotheary Ly


“Already a role model for young women in Cambodia, Sotheary has great potential to be an Australian global role model, representing the best of multicultural Australia. She has personally sacrificed in order to give back to her country of birth, and her actions have helped thousands of disadvantaged Cambodians.“ – Robin Scott MP, Member for Preston

Sotheary Ly is the Executive Director of Healthcare Center for Children (HCC), an organisation dedicated to woman’s and child’s rights, through prevention and protection of children and women from human trafficking, sexual abuse and child labour.

Through her inspiring efforts, Sotheary led a number of important changes which have had far-reaching impacts in Cambodia, including the recognition of men as victims of human trafficking and the introduction of a Buddhist as well legal approach to the prevention of human trafficking. Sotheary also played an instrumental role in the creation of the Cambodia-Thailand Anti Human Trafficking Network, which she hopes will have a significant impact on the prevention and reduction of cross border trafficking.

As recognition of her important role in the local community, Sotheary has received numerous major awards, including a 2003 Centenary Medal awarded by the Prime Minister of Australia, a 2005 Gold Medal Award by the Cambodian Prime Minister for contributing to rehabilitating and recovering of Cambodia and a 2009 Australian Leadership Award.

Born during the Khmer Rouge Regime, Sotheary arrived as a migrant to Australia at the age of 16, not speaking a word of English. She graduated from Monash University and RMIT with a Masters of Social Science (International Development).