Sat Mar 5, 2022 – 2:30 pm | Visit Beloit
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With 45 million sex trafficking victims worldwide, only 1% manage to escape. SURVIVING SEX TRAFFICKING examines the ongoing struggles of survivors as they fight to break free of their past, heal their bodies and minds and find hope for the future.
Executive produced by Alyssa Milano, Jeannie Mai and Jeezy, filmmaker Sadhvi Siddhali Shree, (STOPPING TRAFFIC: THE MOVEMENT TO END SEX-TRAFFICKING) travels across US, India and Ethiopia to hear these powerful stories and shine a light on this horrific epidemic.
I was introduced to the dark underworld of sex trafficking when I watched The Whistleblower in 2011. In 2015, my passion for this issue inspired me to direct my debut feature STOPPING TRAFFIC: THE MOVEMENT TO END SEX TRAFFICKING, which shined a light on the dark world of sex trafficking.
I was thrilled to be invited to festivals around the world and to see the increased awareness of this issue. As I began to process and meditate in the aftermath, I felt that there was still a depth of understanding missing from focusing only on such a narrow topic. Having suffered from sexual abuse as a child, as well as PTSD, I empathize with the depth of this trauma and how difficult it is to move on.
Do survivors ever truly heal? With this burning question, I set out to find victims who had escaped from Trafficking. I wanted to know if they could move past what happened to them, not only to see if I could heal, but also to show anyone who has suffered this pain that there is still a reason for hope.
I met some incredible, brave and generous women while making this film: Angie, whose smile lights up a room, Kendra, whose strength drives her to better herself, and Rachel who now travels the world to help others heal. Their stories have helped me continue to heal, and I hope that my film will serve to help heal others around the world.
Sadhvi Siddhali Shree
Sadhvi Siddhali Shree is a Jain monk, US Army veteran, social justice advocate, author, and documentary filmmaker. After watching a film about sex trafficking, Shree was inspired to work with activists to expose the horrors of the 150-billion-dollar industry. Her first film, STOPPING TRAFFIC: THE MOVEMENT TO END SEX TRAFFICKING, received awards from festivals and international attention on this important issue.
With her team of filmmakers and monks, Shree travels around the world to women’s shelters and to victims who are ready to talk, share their stories, and fight for a better future. With her sophomore feature SURVIVING SEX TRAFFICKING, Shree calls for empathy and understanding for ostracized survivors to help them heal from the tragic wounds caused by sex trafficking.
Shree met her spiritual guru after dissociating with the Catholic Church in high school, and later became the first North American female Jain monk. Her teachings helped her recover from the PTSD resulting from serving as an Army medic. They also allowed her to recall her own child sexual abuse, which she suffered at the age of 6. Armed with her teachings as well as her passion to help survivors and end trafficking, she has devoted herself to aiding victims of abuse.
Returning BIFF Filmmaker
Sadhvi Siddhali Shree
Director Sadhvi Siddhali Shree screened previously at BIFF in 2018 with her film Stopping Traffic for which she won among BIFF’s highest honors, The Power of Film Award.