Teen Vogue: 21 Under 21 

Oakland, California native Rebecca Dharmapalan had never heard the word “pimp” outside of MTV, until she found out one of her classmates was being “pimped out” by her older boyfriend. “I’d never heard it used on actual girls in America,” says Dharmapalan in her TedxTeen.


Affinity Magazine, Cover

At only 19, Rebecca has become a visionary activist combatting human trafficking in the United States, when she isnt doing a TED Talk or a documentary on human trafficking, she's stressing over exams at the University of California Berkeley



Rebecca Dharmapalan's parents always called her a rebel without a cause. Growing up in Oakland, California — the birthplace of the Black Panther Movement, parts of the Free Speech and Disability Rights Movements, and more recent movements like Occupy Oakland — she was constantly surrounded by an activist culture.

Huffington Post

“I feel like art doesn’t have a purpose unless it is purposeful. I really use my art and my creativity to inspire other people, and to continue with my efforts in my activism.” 

Rebecca Dharmapalan, 19, is not just a filmmaker. She’s a “changemaker” in her Oakland, California, community — someone who’s actively using her talent and her time to transform the world she lives in.

Huffington Post: Radically Peaceful: Humanizing Oakland’s Youth

Over the past year, I have been working on a project that has become one of my most challenging yet eye-opening experiences. It involves the very heart-wrenching topic of child exploitation, which is unfortunately still amongst us. My specific engagement in this topic came about over a year ago, driven by the fate of a schoolmate who had recently left school without an explanation. Soon after, I discovered that she was being exploited and forced to work on the streets of Oakland.

Colorlines: She Fights Child Sex Trafficking With Film

Nineteen-year-old activist Rebecca Dharmapalan is raising funds to turn her short documentary about child sex trafficking into a feature film.

Oakland Local

Oakland student film wins international film festival, renews city’s effort to combat sex trafficking.