By Rafael Romo, CNN - They were only 14 years old, cousins from a small town in central Mexico, when a fun trip to the local fair turned into a nightmare of drugs and forced prostitution.
As Maria and Lupe - CNN has changed their names to protect their identities - were waiting by the highway for their early evening bus home, they say a semi-tractor trailer stopped right in front of them and two men got out.
There were no conversations. It all happened very quickly, the cousins say. "They were two men who were wearing black masks like hoodies. We couldn't see their faces," Maria said.
Lupe says she didn't even have time to react. "I only felt that they put something on my nose and that's all I remember. The last thing I remember is yelling for help," Lupe said.
Investigative journalism can "spark action" when it comes to helping end human trafficking, according to a recent United Nations report that examined CNN Freedom Project's "Factory Slaves" investigation.
The U.N. Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking (UNIAP) details how CNN senior international correspondent Dan Rivers and his colleagues uncovered bonded labor in Southeast Asia, where workers had been sent abroad, burdened with large debts and forced to work long hours for years at a time. The practice was part of the complex trail of exploitation in a business supply chain.
In one bonded labor scheme, recruiters got jobs for Cambodian workers at a Malaysian factory. As part the Factory Slaves investigation, which debuted in late 2011, CNN alerted a client company to the factory and the recruiters that employed the migrant workers, who were stranded abroad after surrendering their passports to their employer.
That client company "was moved to action by the (CNN) report," the UNIAP report states, and "quickly took action through an on-site audit at the factory in Penang (Malaysia), and ultimately ensured that their supplier improved the pay and conditions at their factory."
Read the full UNIAP report here.
New York City taxi drivers will soon not just be taking passengers around the city, they're being asked to help spot potential sex trafficking victims.
Under a new city law, drivers should be on the lookout for clues that a passenger is a victim of sex trafficking activity.
In a little under three months the law will kick into effect, and drivers will be required to alert authorities if they see suspicious situations in their cabs which may cause them to believe there is a trafficking victim in the backseat.
CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. WHY WE'RE DOING THIS | MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT