May 30th, 2012
06:50 PM ET

Arranged marriage is not forced marriage

Worldwide, every three seconds a girl under the age of 18 is married.

In India, 90% of these marriages are arranged between families.

And with a divorce rate of just above 1% proponents argue arranged marriage is an effective way for young people to find a partner.

But what happens when a proposed marriage goes awry?

CNN's Sumnima Udas looks at the pros and cons of arranged marriage.

May 29th, 2012
11:52 PM ET

Afghan girls forced to marry

In many cultures around the world, marriages are arranged between the families of the bride and the groom.

But in some cases, very young girls are forced into marriage, crossing the line into the more sinister world of human trafficking.

Laws may exist on the books to prevent girls from being child brides, but those laws are often not enforced. Arwa Damon has this story from Afghanistan.

Topics: Uncategorized
May 27th, 2012
06:43 PM ET

Girl brides abducted as fabled HIV cure

By Justine Lang and Robyn Curnow, CNN

KwaCele, South Africa (CNN) - The landscape of the rural Eastern Cape in South Africa has a haunting beauty. A myriad of round turquoise huts scatter across the land in a series of endless villages.

Yet these villages are also home to a terrible and devastating traditional practice that destroys children's lives and tears families apart.

In these villages, girls as young as 12 are kidnapped by older men and forced to 'marry.' It is accepted as part of the Xhosa people's culture. It has continued unabated for decades.

Ukuthwala, which translates as 'to pick up' or 'to take,' is used to justify the abduction of girls. In many cases the parents have given their consent in exchange for a bride price.

But a concerted campaign to educate these isolated communities of the illegality of under-aged sex and abduction appears to be paying off.

FULL POST

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Topics: In The News • Life In Slavery • Uncategorized
May 17th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Freedom Project iReporters nominated

Two Freedom Project iReport videos have been nominated for the annual iReport awards.

South Korean teacher Sunny Yang pledged to "Take a stand against slavery" as part of CNN's Freedom Project and vowed to get her students involved in the cause.

She used a stop-motion drawing to show the difference that we can make in the lives of people living in slavery.

And iReporter Renee Hong created this video to draw attention to the problem of human trafficking. The video uses stop-motion photography and statistics to educate viewers in an entertaining way.

Check out all the iReport nominees here including the Freedom Project stories in the compelling images category

Topics: How to Help • iReport • Uncategorized
Labor migrants dying abroad
May 13th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Nepalese dying to work

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) – Twenty-one-year-old Ramila Syangden weeps uncontrollably as she clutches her 10-month-old baby. She sits and watches as the pyre where her husband’s body will be cremated is set alight in the open Nepalese air.

Syangden never considered one of the potential consequences of her husband’s decision to work abroad. Now she can’t ignore it.

Hours before the Buddhist cremation ceremony she watched the coffin, with her husband’s body inside, arrive on a flight from Saudi Arabia where he had worked.

The paperwork says the 36-year old committed suicide there. Not a single person gathered for the cremation ceremony believes it.

“I don’t think so. He said he would go abroad, see the place, earn as much as he could for the children and come back. I think somebody killed him,“ his wife said.

FULL POST

May 10th, 2012
03:59 PM ET

A lurid journey through Backpage.com

Editor’s Note: On CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," correspondent Deborah Feyerick reported on controversy surrounding the nationwide classified-advertising website Backpage.com. While working on the broad problem of sex trafficking, she and producer Sheila Steffen became aware of the website's adult section and how prosecutors say it's being used by some pimps to peddle girls online.

By Deborah Feyerick and Sheila Steffen, CNN

Go to Backpage.com, choose any city in any state, then click on the adult section of the nationwide classified ads website.

Young women wearing almost nothing pose provocatively. One of the first advertisements I open shows a girl in lacy black underwear. Her eyes are downcast, and she appears much younger than 19, the age stated in her ad.

No one checks whether it's true - not the ages or the identities of these young women. Someone else is clearly taking the picture. The pose appears unnatural, forced.

The text next to her photo reads, "Choke me. Spank me. Pull my hair. Do Whatever You Want...I don't Care - 19." The young woman promises "a time you will NEVER forget."

It's hard to know whether this alleged 19-year-old is doing this because she wants to or because she's being coerced. That's another thing the website doesn't check.

FULL POST

Dance helps sex trafficking victims
May 8th, 2012
04:14 PM ET

Dance helps sex trafficking victims

Teenagers who once worked in India’s sex trade showed how dance is helping them leave their previous lives behind.

Five girls performed for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to India.

They are part of Kolkata Sanved, a dance therapy movement founded in 2004 by Sohini Chakraborty, a dance sociologist and dance activist. It provides an alternative approach to therapy and healing for victims of violence and trafficking.

The 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report, produced by the State Department, said: “India does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so."

 

FULL STORY
Topics: In The News • TIP Report • Uncategorized
May 7th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

Backpage.com defiant over sex trade ads

Backpage.com, a small ads website, is not backing away from a small but profitable corner of the internet that is accused of being a marketplace for pimps to peddle prostitution and exploit young women.

The company says there’s nothing illegal about it, even though 51 attorneys general want to shut it down.

Watch Liz McDougall, from Village Voice Media, defend Backpage.com

But New York Times reporter Nicholas Kristof and California's Attorney General Kamala Harris argue Backpage is a marketplace for human trafficking.

Topics: In The News • Uncategorized