Real life sex-trafficking story on film
She has rescued thousands of women from prostitution and continues to bear the brunt of human traffickers who view her as a threat, but that does not deter activist Sunitha Krishnan from taking her advocacy to films, through a depiction of a real life sex-trafficking story.
"Ente" a film made in Malayalam stars Marathi actor Anjali Patel in lead and actor Siddique as who plays Patel's father,is scheduled to hit theatres later this month. "Sex trafficking has been a problem for so many years but even today people are quick to point fingers at trafficked women and girls. The blocks in the minds of people have not changed, they still think that abuse and trafficking cannot happen to them. That has got to change and I am taking the route of mainstream cinema to reach to a larger audience," says Sunitha.
Sunitha has coproduced the film, which has also been simultaneously shot in Telugu, with her husband Rajesh Touchriver. The activist who runs an NGO in Hyderabad to help victims of sexual assault says she has received death threats and been targeted by acid attacks and even beaten up over a dozen times by those who view her as a threat.
"The biggest challenge in what I am doing is getting people to empathise with the problem. I believe the day those who have the power to make rules begin to empathise and personalise the problem that day social change will begin," says the activist.
The film revolves around a father and his daughter and attempts to give facts about trafficking in persons, which is the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in the world, "It is a real life story that I was witness to and Rajesh has treated it like a thriller movie, which one can sit down and watch with a family," says Sunitha.
The social activist, whose organisation rescues women from brothels and educates their children to prevent second- generation prostitution, says her fight is about breaking the complacency which seems to have set in about the subject. "I also helped draft the anti-trafficking policy and my recommendations for rehabilitating sex victims have been passed into state legislation," says the 40-year-old activist.
In 2010, Andra Pradesh adopted a policy that she drafted establishing minimum standards of care that shelters and service providers must meet. The policies she helped draft has helped survivors access rehabilitation services and financial restitution.
Meanwhile, the Telugu version of "Ente" is called "Prathyayam". The music is by Shantanu Moitra and Sharreth and also stars actors Neena Kurup, Lakshmi Menon, Anoop Aravind among others.