‘Love Sonia’ seeks to raise awareness on the perils of global sex trade

Golden Globe and BAFTA-nominated actress,  Mrunal Thakur, joined survivors of prostitution from Kolkata based NGO, Apne Aap Women Worldwide and Vivel Ab Samjhauta Nahin today for a special screening of Love Sonia’ a feature film on the courage of a young girl, Sonia, battling global sex-trafficking.  The Kolkata screening is presented by Apne Aap Worldwide and Vivel Ab Samjhauta Nahin and is supported by Alliance Francais and Goethe Institute.

The special screening of ‘Love Sonia’ seeks to raise awareness on the perils of global sex trade and the rising vulnerabilities of the last girl. It is a heart wrenching portrayal of the journey of a 17 year old girl from being a victim to a survivor.

 Directed by Tabrez Noorani, famed producer of Slumdog Millionaire and produced by Academy award nominee David Womack of Life of Pi fame, the movie is inspired from the stories of Apne Aap survivors and incidents from Ms. Ruchira Gupta’s thought provoking documentaries on sex-trafficking in Nepal and India – The Selling of Innocents, and Land of Missing Children.

Trafficking is a global £25m business where nearly two years ago the International Labour Organisation found that out of 40m modern slavery victims, nearly five million were involved in forced sexual exploitation, with 99 per cent of them women.

Ruchira Gupta, Founder of Apne Aap adds, “The making of Love Sonia was unique. The Director and actors spent time with survivors of prostitution from my NGO, Apne Aap, treated them as knowledge experts and learned from them every step of the way. It has resulted in a film that truly reflects the dynamics of the global sex trade. We have collaborated with Vivel Ab Samjhauta Nahin to raise awareness particularly in relationship to ending sex-trafficking”

Mrunal Thakur, who plays the young protagonist Sonia believes, “I spent time walking the streets of Sonagachi with survivors of prostitution from Apne Aap. I saw their humanity in the middle of the all the exploitation. It has changed me forever. I saw prostitution is an absence of choice. I was able to play my role so well because of what I learnt from the women. Indeed it is time for Ab Samjhauta Nahin.”

Through its philosophy of ‘Ab Samjhauta Nahin’ (or no compromise), Vivel believes that for a more equal society, awareness is the first step towards empowering and protecting women. It not only celebrates a woman’s power, but actively stands in support of her right to an equal life.

It firmly believes that no one should have to compromise on their dignity or be discriminated against. As part of its campaign, Vivel has been extremely supportive of Apne Aap’s fight to end sex trafficking and exploitation of girls and women across the world. With Apne Aap, Vivel Ab Samjhauta Nahin hopes to challenge stereotypes and help enable self-action for a more gender-equal India.