Editor's note: Davinder Kumar is an award-winning development journalist who works for children’s rights organization Plan International.
Five-year-old Aliya thinks it is a game she must master quickly to be a winner. From the time she wakes up, until she goes to bed, Aliya watches her mother and all the girls and women in her neighborhood consumed in a frantic race: Making beedis - traditional hand-rolled Indian cigarettes.
To create each beedi, the maker painstakingly places tobacco inside a dried leaf sourced from a local ebony tree; tightly rolls and secures it with a thread; and then closes the tips using a sharp knife.
For anything between 10 and 14 hours, regardless of how long it takes, Aliya’s mother and others must all roll at least 1,000 beedis to earn a paltry sum of less than $2 a day, paid by the middleman. FULL POST
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.
(CNN) - Since its launch in March, the CNN Freedom Project has helped shine a spotlight on all aspects of modern-day slavery and spurred action from governments, corporations and individuals.
CNN reported on sex slaves and bonded workers, children and adults caught in despair, and the inspirational against-all-odds work of individuals and organizations fighting the trade.
Nearly 2,000 people have come out of slavery, either directly or indirectly, as a result of the hundreds of stories broadcast on air and published online.
(CNN) - Google Inc. announced Wednesday that it's providing $11.5 million in grants to 10 organizations working to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Gary Haugen, president and CEO of International Justice Mission, one of the grant recipients, called the move a "game-changing investment." IJM is a Washington-based human rights agency that works to rescue victims of slavery and sexual exploitation in about a dozen countries.
"This is the largest corporate step up to the challenge that is beginning to apply direct resources to the fight against slavery," Haugen said.
Recently, a series of reports from CNN's Dan Rivers traced slavery in the supply chain. He began in Cambodia, where a woman grieved for her daughter, to a factory in Malaysia where the girl was forced to work for no pay and, ultimately, went to shops in London that sell the products made by slaves.
Luis CdeBaca, the U.S. human trafficking czar - more formally known as the ambassador-at-large for the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons - sat down with CNN's Max Foster to talk about what consumers can learn from the reporting and other tips for keeping slavery out of the supply chain. FULL POST
By Dan Rivers, Senior International Correspondent
Penang, Malaysia - We traveled to Cambodia planning to tell the story of an escape from modern-day slave labor but what we found were tales of more women trapped in debt-bondage in Malaysia.
In Cambodia, we found the women who had escaped, but we also learned about dozens of other workers stuck in similar circumstances, unable to get home unless they paid off their "debt" to a recruitment agency. FULL POST
Ten years ago, The "Cocoa Protocol" was signed into law, aiming to put a stop to child labor in the cocoa industry. (Read more about what the Cocoa Protocol is) Today, many aid groups say some of the provisions have still not been met by businesses involved.
What does the chocolate and cocoa industry have to say? Individual companies released statements and an industry spokeswoman, Joanna Scott, talked to CNN's Max Foster about what progress has been made and successes the industry has seen.
Watch more in the video.
It may be unthinkable that the chocolate we enjoy could come from the hands of children working as slaves. In Ivory Coast and other cocoa-producing countries, there are an estimated 100,000 children working the fields, many against their will, to create the chocolate delicacies enjoyed by Western countries.
Ten years ago, two U.S. lawmakers took action to put a stop to child labor in the cocoa industry. Despite pushback from the industry, the Harkin-Engel Protocol, also known as the Cocoa Protocol, was signed into law on September 19, 2001.
On the 10th anniversary of the legislation, CNN takes a look at what effect this protocol has had on the cocoa industry. Here's a primer on some of the major issues surrounding the issue of slave labor in the cocoa industry: FULL POST
Lexis Nexis' Kenneth Thompson discusses ways in which people can take action to end human trafficking.
Federal initiative targets human trafficking in Midwest
Western Missouri and Kansas will be the home base for a new team of six federal enforcement teams targeting human trafficking in the United States, according to a report in the Kansas City Star.
The Anti-Trafficking Coordination team, based in Kansas City, will streamline criminal investigations and prosecution of violators of federal slavery laws. FULL POST
By Liane Membis, CNN
It seems impossible.
Human trafficking cases, blind promises of freedom, forced prostitution rings — these aspects of modern-day slavery come to light all too often.
Estimates of the number of slaves worldwide range from about 10 million to 30 million, according to policymakers, activists, journalists and scholars. Approximately 100,000 victims are in the United States, working as slaves inside homes, in agricultural fields, in the sex industry and other places, according to the U.S. Department of State’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.
That’s millions of women, children and men struggling to escape captivity. That’s millions of people wondering what it means or what it would take to be free again.
But what about solutions - How can we end modern-day slavery? Three experts weigh in on what businesses, governments, the public and individuals must do. FULL POST
Chris Davis of The Body Shop talks about the company's commitment to fight human trafficking.