Bio: I was born in Herat, Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban regime. My family fled to Iran when I was a child. I was raised as an impoverished, undocumented, street child in Tehran. Although illegal, it is still customary to sell girls into forced child marriage. My family attempted to sell me at the age of 10, however the contract fell through. They again attempted to sell me at the age of sixteen, but I escaped. During this time, an Iranian documentary film producer, Rohksareh Gaemmmeghemi, chose to follow my life and report on the plight of Afghan street children. She produced a movie entitled, “Sonita”. The movie won several international film festivals, and in the United States won the Sundance World Cinema Jury Prize and the Sundance World Cinema Audience Award for a Documentary. During the course of filming the movie, I produced a song titled, “Daughters for Sale”, which went viral. The movie, music and video provided the opportunity to attend school in the United States and offered a platform to advocate against the practice of forced child marriage. I have been privileged to be named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2015, BBC’s 100 Women of 2015, an Asia Society Game Changer of 2017, a 2018 MTV Generation Chance Award recipient, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 and featured by CNN, NPR, BBC, Buzzfeed News and over 150 publications in 20 countries. I am currently in college with an intended major in Human Rights and routinely appear at the United Nations and on behalf of other organizations advocating for the global abolishment of forced child marriage. For more info, see: www.sonita.net
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