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“Through the searing stories Chelo Alvarez-Stehle tells in her film, she demonstrates that sexual abuse and sexual trafficking are but points on a continuum. In so doing, she has made an important contribution to the national conversation about sexual assault and rape culture. This film is part of the new movement of independent documentary films that reveal important truths about the terrible secrets we keep as a society and the toll they take on all of us.” — Jack Lerner, UC Irvine law professor, Director of the UCI Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic, member of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association.- Jack Lerner,
Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage is a personal documentary about a filmmaker who, inspired by the transformation of the sex-trafficking survivors whose lives she is documenting, finds the courage to break the silence about sexual abuse in her own life.
A15year quest to expose the underworld of sexual exploitation and trafficking from Asia to the Americas leads worldreporter Chelo AlvarezStehle back to the windswept beach where her childhood ended and family secrets began. As Chelo documents the transformation of sex trafficking survivors, she meets Virginia Isaias, a Mexican woman whose life is engulfed in a cycle of sexual exploitation. Escaping with her 6 months old daughter from a sex trafficking ring in Mexico, Virginia crosses the US border in search of freedom. After years of hard work, Virginia begins to rebuild her life and speaks out about her ordeal for the first time in this documentary. Virginia, who barely speaks English, becomes a US citizen and a prominent advocate for other sexual exploitation survivors in the Latino community in Southern California by setting up a non profit. Inspired by Virginia's courage, Chelo is moved to explore her unyielding desire for seeking out these types of stories in what becomes a parallel journey of introspection that shatters the silence her own family and in her own life.
is president and founder of Human Trafficking Survivors Foundation Herself a survivor of a cycle of sexual violence and trafficking, she has dedicated her life to support survivors of sexual assault in the Latino community of Southern California and beyond. She is the recipient of numerous awards, among them the LULAC 2011 Hispanic Woman of the Year, the AIMS 2013 Hispanic Leadership Award, and recognitions for her community service by the U.S. House of Representatives, California Senator Lou Correa (Women Making a Difference,) and California Senator Ricardo Lara (Breaking the Chains of Slavery.)
Perhaps the only known person who was trafficked as a baby, is today an empowered teenager, and, like her mother, Virginia Isaias, she has started to speak up and is ready to change the world. Lala told her mom, “You told me one person can change the world, and I want to be that person.”
Founder of Shakti Samuha Charimaya (Anu) Tamang is recipient of numerous awards, among them, Hero Acting to End ModernDay Slavery Award 2011, by Hillary Clinton, and the National Gorimaya Woman Genius Award. She is founder of Shakti Samuha which has been awarded with Ramon Magsaysay Award 2013. She was sold to India when she was 16 years to work in brothel as a sex worker. She spent 22 months in a brothel before the Indian government rescued her along with over 200 other Nepali women in 1996. Upon her return to Nepal, Tamang was ostracised by her community. Later in 2000, Tamang and 15 other survivors established Shakti Samuha, an antitrafficking NGO in Kathmandu, Nepal.
SANDS OF SILENCE: Waves of Courage