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Sorvino feels 'compelled' to fight human trafficking

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A cause worth fighting for
  • Actress Mira Sorvino is a U.N. ambassador raising awareness about human trafficking
  • She has also been involved with CNN Heroes since it began in 2007
  • Sorvino: CNN Heroes "inspired me further to do what little I can on my side"

Editor's Note: Voting is under way for the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year. The winner will be announced at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which airs Thanksgiving night, November 25, at 8 p.m. ET. See the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and and cast your vote.

(CNN) -- Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino is dedicated to ending human trafficking. She serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and she frequently travels abroad to raise awareness about the issue.

Sorvino also been involved with CNN Heroes since 2007, the first year of the campaign. She recently sat down with CNN Heroes producer Brittany Stahl to talk about the campaign and her humanitarian work. Below are excerpts from that interview.

Brittany Stahl: Tell me about your work fighting human trafficking. Why did you get involved, and what exactly do you do?

Mira Sorvino: Trafficking is the worst kind of human depravity that you can imagine. And it involves children and the most vulnerable, the poorest of the poor. So, everywhere I go with the U.N., in addition to doing our official duties and holding our press conferences, I interview victims. I basically consider myself a victim's advocate. I feel like that that's the best way that I can expose the really horrendous nature of the crime to the public and try to produce swifter results. Because once you get to know individuals who have suffered at the hands of traffickers ... who have lived to tell the tale, it is so disturbing and heartbreaking that you feel compelled to act. You feel compelled to work against it. It's definitely a cause worth fighting for.

Stahl: What is a hero to you?

Sorvino: A hero is someone who braves extraordinary risk and gives so much more of him or herself ... to uplift someone or many people who are suffering.

Stahl: Do you have any personal heroes?

Sorvino: The first one that comes to mind for me is Martin Luther King. He was always my hero. That was always who I aspired to be like if I could be like anybody in a moral, human way. I read all of his speeches and his autobiography, and I just try to learn from his path and what he did.

Stahl: You were a presenter at the first "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" back in 2007. What was that like?

Sorvino: It was really amazing. I was extremely moved by all the extraordinary things that all the various Heroes had done. And that the emphasis of such a prestigious show -- on acts of altruism and selflessness and service -- is exactly what the world's focus should be on. It combats the ridiculous frothiness of reality TV and the consumerism that has sort of become our national religion. Human acts of kindness and love -- and love borne out by action -- is really what life is all about. It's about how much you're giving, not how much you're getting. So it's an extraordinary show, and I was really, really proud to be a part of it.

Stahl: Did any of those CNN Heroes particularly inspire you?

Sorvino: You know, they all did. I was just sort of in awe, one after the next. Wow. They just inspired me further to do what little I can on my side in any of my activism or things that I'm trying to do. It's just like: "OK, yeah, you can do this. You can get involved, and you can try to make a small difference."

Stahl: Why do you think we need to honor everyday heroes?

Sorvino: It's really inspirational. But you know there's lots of ways to be a hero, too. There are many people who are heroic in their everyday life and their everyday generosity. Some people are gigantic heroes who save people from burning buildings, and some people are just saving people by loving them in a constant and almost superhuman way. I think it's a wonderful thing.