In 1995, Mira Sorvino won an Academy Award for her role as a prostitute in the Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. Today, Sorvino, a mother of four and devout Christian, spends much of her time trying to free young women and girls from the throes of forced prostitution.
The UN's Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking, Sorvino is a passionate advocate for the cause—taking trips abroad to observe the problem, researching the issue, giving speeches and interviews on the topic, and, most recently, making a movie about it. Trade of Innocents, a drama about the sex trafficking industry in Southeast Asia, opens Friday in New York and will expand to other theaters across the U.S. in the weeks ahead.
In the film, Sorvino plays the wife of an NGO worker (Dermot Mulroney) in Cambodia who is trying to help local police crack down on human trafficking. Sorvino's character, grieving the murder of her own daughter, volunteers with girls who have been rescued from sexual slavery.
As a young girl, Sorvino read the Diary of Anne Frank and was influenced by the horrors of the holocaust. As a Harvard student, she wrote her thesis on the causes of conflict between Chinese and African students; she recently wrote (in Guideposts) that she "wanted to understand what gave rise to one human being's ability to see another as somehow less than human."
CT interviewed Sorvino recently by e-mail about Trade of Innocents and her passionate activism.
Why did you want to play this role?
I felt that it was a moving portrayal of the plight of children being sold for sex, and highlighted some potent strategies to fight it. Since I spend a great deal of my time working on that fight with the UN, I felt it could be a powerful combination of my activist ...