Academy award winning Actress and United Nations Goodwill ambassador Mira Sorvino first began expressing her passion for social justice at Harvard University, where she received two Ford Foundation grants to research her summa thesis on Racial Conflict between Chinese and African students in the PRC, which was awarded the coveted Hoopes Prize. Upon graduation, she researched and interviewed Russophilic neo-Nazi leaders for a documentary on the rise of anti-Semitism in Russia, “Freedom to Hate,” which she associate produced.
She was the official ambassador for Amnesty International’s “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign from 2004 to 2008. Her work with Amnesty was recognized at the Artivist Film Festival. In March 2006, she was honored with Amnesty International’s Artist of Conscience Award. She lobbied Capitol Hill on the topic of Human Trafficking and officially testified before Congress on the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
Having supported the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime anti-trafficking initiatives since 2007, in 2009 Sorvino was appointed to her current position as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Goodwill Ambassador in the Global Fight Against Human Trafficking. She has traveled to Mexico and Spain to launch the U.N.’s Blue Heart Campaign to fight Human Trafficking, and to London and Bangkok, Thailand to promote the recently created U.N. Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking. She has participated in public forums in Luxor, Egypt, at the Niemeyer Center in Aviles, Spain, Baku Azerbaijan, and in Washington D.C.. In each locale, Sorvino works together with NGOs on the ground and members of government and law enforcement to better synthesize efforts to discover and protect victims, and punish perpetrators of, Human Trafficking. In Fall 2010 she was honored for her work by Save The Children, and in December 2010, the U.N. awarded her “Global Advocate of the Year.” She has participated in sessions to create the UN General Assembly’s Global Plan of Action to Combat Human Trafficking. She represented UNODC at the Vatican at the 2nd Annual Conference on Modern Day Slavery and the collaboration between the church and law enforcement. She regularly addresses the UN General Assembly.
She has testified before the US Senate on Human Trafficking, helped engender legislative change at the National Conference of State Legislators, spoken at the National Association of Attorneys General, the American Bar Association, the Mashable Social Good Summit, and the Deloitte Center to reform state laws on human trafficking and domestic minor victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, as well as speaking at Harvard, Delta Airlines, and in conferences in Sweden and Aruba.
Collaborating with the CNN Freedom project, she led Jim Clancy on a discovery of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and Hotline, narrated the documentary “Mozambique or Bust,” and was the on-the-ground interviewer in the award-winning documentary “Everyday in Cambodia” on the crisis of virgin sales in Phnom Penh. She participated in the ECPAT documentary “What I’ve Been Through is Not Who I Am” (one of many collaborations with ECPAT), and acted in the dramatic films on modern day slavery, “Human Trafficking” and “Trade of Innocents” and wrote the foreword to “Walking Prey” on the vulnerability of US youth to sex trafficking. She will be seen in 2020 in the 20th Century Fox feature “Sound of Freedom” opposite Jim Caviezel, which highlights the child trafficking victim rescue Operation Underground Railroad (OURescue).
In the fall of 2017 Sorvino was one of the first women to come forward about Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Misconduct in Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker exposé. She has emerged as one of the most prominent voices of #MeToo and #TimesUp and has received several honors for her advocacy including from UCLA for both Human Trafficking and #MeToo. She has spoken at the Tribeca TimesUp summit and the Museum for Civil and Human Rights, and for the New York Times New Rules summit and the Wrap Women conference. Legislatively she helped pass the strongest slate of anti-sexual harassment bills in the country in CA with Equal Rights Advocates. Her advocacy in NY State alongside TimesUp and Governor Andrew Cuomo helped pass extensions to the statute of limitations for rape and strengthened protections against sexual harassment. . She was just awarded Humanitarian of the Year by the United Nations Association of New York for her work on Human Trafficking.
Sorvino considers herself a victims’ and survivors’ advocate and has interviewed and been inspired by many of them around the world. She is happily married to actor/writer/director Christopher Backus, and they have four lovely children.