Mira Sorvino, whose upcoming Lifetime miniseries focuses on women forced into sex slavery, has taken the issue to heart.
On Tuesday she spoke to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington, D.C., calling on members to take action to stop women from being exploited. She also discussed her miniseries, Human Trafficking
which airs Oct. 24 and 25, and legislation to prosecute sex traffickers.
Sorvino, who is also involved in Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women program, also is scheduled to meet Thursday with members of the United Nations in New York. The Oscar winner, 38, spoke to PEOPLE about the miniseries and the issue of human trafficking.
What did you learn about human trafficking from making this movie?
I had not realized that in our day in age in our country that so many people could still be so callous and inhuman as to own another person and absolutely degrade them in any way possible. When we think of slavery we certainly don't think of it in a 21st century American context.
You also met with victims. How did that change your perception of the issue?
To look into the eyes of somebody who has been told that they are lower than a dog and that no one cares for them and that they have sustained that lifestyle for years, your heart breaks. I didn't know what to expect from talking to a person in real life but in speaking to them I was just sort of overwhelmed with sadness.
What does your husband, Chris Backus, think of your role?
When he saw the movie I think actually we were both blown away. I am really proud to be a part of this.
What other plans do you have to help raise awareness about the issue?
I think we are going to shoot a PSA. There is a whole downloadable tool kit (www.amnestyusa.org/women/index.do
) on trafficking (and) what you can do to get involved with your community. This is all something that Amnesty created with the film to get all of their members to get up in arms about the topic.