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 running for eight weeks on CNN.com. She won the majority of two million votes cast, and CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed that 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, and then embraced, 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.’
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.
Learn more on Koirala’s fan page on CNN Heroes, and watch her CNN Hero video there…
The top 10 CNN Heroes, chosen from an initial pool of more than 10,000 nominations, were each honored with a documentary tribute and introduced by a celebrity presenter, including Halle Berry, Jessica Alba, Kid Rock, LL Cool J, Renee Zellweger, Gerard Butler, Kiefer Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Aaron Eckhart and Holly Robinson Peete.
(WATCH the video wrap-up of the show below, and watch the entire show rerun this weekend – See Showtimes) – And, learn more about 9 more heroes below the video…
Here are the other nine 2010 top CNN Heroes in alphabetical order:
Guadalupe Arizpe De La Vega founded a hospital in Juarez, Mexico, that cares for about 900 people daily — regardless of their ability to pay. Despite the escalating violence in the city, the 74-year-old travels there several times a week to make sure residents get the care they need. Learn more about Guadalupe
Susan Burton was once caught in a cycle of addiction and incarceration. Today, her nonprofit A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides sober housing and other support services to formerly incarcerated women in California. Learn more about Susan
With her weight-loss challenge, Shape Up Vicksburg, Linda Fondren is helping her Mississippi hometown battle the bulge. Through free fitness activities and nutrition classes, residents have lost nearly 15,000 pounds to date. Learn more about Linda
Narayanan Krishnan brings hot meals and dignity to India’s homeless and destitute — 365 days per year — through his nonprofit Akshaya Trust. Since 2002, he has served more than 1.2 million meals. Learn more about Narayanan
Since 1992, Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow has dedicated his life to helping people in need. Today, his program, Mary’s Meals — run from a tin shed in the Scottish highlands — provides free daily meals to more than 400,000 children around the world. Learn more about Magnus
Harmon Parker is using his masonry skills to save lives. Since 1997 he has helped build 45 footbridges over perilous rivers in Kenya, protecting people from flash floods and predatory animals. The bridges also connect isolated villagers to valuable resources. Learn more about Harmon
Aki Ra is helping to make his native Cambodia safer by clearing land mines — many of which he planted years ago as a child soldier. Since 1993, he and his Cambodian Self Help Demining organization have cleared about 50,000 mines and unexploded weapons. Learn more about Aki Ra
Evans Wadongo, 23, invented a way for rural families in Kenya to replace smoky kerosene and firelight with solar power. Through his Use Solar, Save Lives program, he’s distributed an estimated 10,000 free solar lanterns. Learn more about Evans
Since 2005, Texas home builder Dan Wallrath has given injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans homes of their own — mortgage-free. He and his Operation Finally Home team have five new custom homes under construction. WATCH his moving video below, or see more at GNN here…