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Indian doc film on sex trafficking to premiere at US fest

Mar 08, 2017

The film is a virtual reality movie that gives voice to the story of an Indian woman’s survival of trafficking, and reconciliation with her father.

Mumbai/ Hyderabad: A new documentary on sex trafficking is all set to take the discourse on the horrors of human trafficking to masses. The documentary Notes to My Father is a result of a partnership between Hyderabad based My Choices Foundation with VR For Good, a social good initiative by Oculus.

Notes to My Father claims to be the world’s first virtual reality documentary on sex trafficking and an official entry from India. The documentary is based on the true story of a survivor and is set to make its world premiere at the prestigious South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival between 14-16 March in Austin, Texas, post which it will make its way to India in May 2017.

According to estimates, there are 20 million commercial sex workers in India, and around 80 per cent of these, almost 16 million women, are victims of sex trafficking. This alarming figure underlines an urgent need for people to take note of the growing criminal industry of the trade in human beings, not only in India but globally.

Notes to My Father aims to serve as a first step towards awareness about human trafficking. The story of the film revolves around a real life trafficking survivor Ramadevi and her father Kullayappa. The eleven minute documentary has been directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jayisha Patel, and executive produced by Gabo Aroro - Creative Director of the United Nations – who also served as a project mentor for the movie.

Hannah Norling, Head of Marketing and Communications, My Choices Foundation and one of the film’s producer, believes that sex trafficking is a complex and dangerous web that affects millions of women and children across the country. “Through this film we wanted to educate the world on the issue of sex-trafficking and believed that using the immersive medium of VR was one of the most powerful ways to help people feel deeply connected to the cause.”

“By telling the story of a survivor through a connection with her father, we aim to highlight the very real hope that trafficking can be prevented if only families in risk areas are aware. We are looking forward to the world premiere of the movie at the prestigious SXSW festival and hope that people stand up and take notice of the issue at hand,” Norling said.

This film is inspired by discussions and conversations with real life survivors and is a story of love, grief and reconciliation. The film shows Ramadevi penning down a letter to her father recounting the horrors of her past in an Indian brothel. Through a touching an insightful letter, she reaches out to her father – who unintentionally played a role in his daughter’s trauma – so that they can talk about the past, their pain and hope that her own daughter is saved from a similar fate.

Notes to My Father also forms the core of an awareness campaign by Operation Red Alert of My Choices Foundation titled The Good Father, a movement to prevent large scale human trafficking in India.

Earlier, Operation Red Alert commissioned an award winning research paper that reveals startling insights on the compulsion behind human behavior to understand causes on both supply and demand side of human trafficking. The paper helps stakeholders in understanding male behaviour that perpetuates the trafficking of young girls for sexual exploitation.

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