The Ugly Betty star was inspired to reconnect with her roots by visiting her parents' birthplace in Honduras, following the filming of a harrowing documentary in India.
As part of the documentary, the actress helped investigate child prostitution for Half the Sky Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
After the New York screening of the documentary, Ferrera spoke to the audience saying: "After the trip, it was really hard to come back to real life.
"Mainly I know I am not immune to something we all feel - which is to feel something so passionately, so deeply, see a way that you can make a difference, then come back to your real life and forget.
"I tried as hard as I could to do something in the moment... based on this trip... Something that is near to my heart is that my parents are from Honduras. But I was born in the United States and I'd never been to my own home in Honduras.
"I went with the One Campaign, I asked them to shine a light on women and girls in Honduras and I just got back from that trip... What I have learned is that everyone around the world wants to be loved and to be able to protect ourselves and our families, and in the end nothing else matters."