We have had huge interest in the incredible story of Okkhoy, the seven-year-old boy from Bangladesh who was mutilated by a gang of men because he refused to beg for them - and his subsequent surgery and recovery in the U.S.
Many among our audience asked what they could do to help.
There is no formal helpline set up to assist the family. But Aram Kovach, the businessman who helped bring Okkhoy to the U.S., has launched a fundraising site called Donate and Help to finance trips for other children who need life-changing medical treatment.
You can also donate to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where Okkhoy had his surgery.
Thank you to everyone for your comments and interest in Okkhoy.
In the Sinai Desert a handful of groups is fighting ruthless people-traffickers who prey on desperate migrants trying to reach Israel from war-ravaged and poverty-stricken parts of Africa.
Many of them also live in an unwired world such as the Bedouins who operate a safe house and have persuaded others not to allow the traffickers to shop at their stores – a kind of localized sanctions.
Editor's note: Jesse Eaves works as the senior policy adviser for child protection with World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization working in nearly 100 countries around the world. Mary C. Ellison currently serves as the director of policy for Polaris Project, a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children. Together they are calling on U.S voters to make sure their senators pass a key anti-slavery bill.
With the upcoming elections, you can’t turn on the television without seeing a negative campaign ad or heated news segment giving Americans a glimpse of the political divisions that currently exist in our country.
While politicians argue over our future government, we lose sight of how the actions of our current government are impacting the lives of real people right now, like the millions of enslaved men, women and children in the U.S. and around the world at risk if Congress fails to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act by the end of the year.
Most royals don't speak openly about subjects like sex-trafficking, much less child sex-trafficking, but for Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden it’s a cause that needs shouting from the rooftops.
The global problem of child exploitation has long been her passion.
The mother of three set up the World Childhood Foundation 13 years ago, which has since given nearly $70 million dollars to more than 600 projects fighting child abuse and sexual exploitation in 16 countries.
Financial grants range from a few thousand to as much as a million dollars – a big deal for anti-trafficking groups on the front-lines in the fight against modern slavery.
CNN had a rare opportunity to sit down with Queen Silvia and learn more about her mission.
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
Editor's note: Richard Stearns is the author of “The Hole in Our Gospel” and president of the U.S. office of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Follow Stearns on Twitter @RichStearns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard Stearns.
By Richard Stearns, special to CNN
This February, I visited Cambodia, where my heart was broken by the evils of the sex trade in that country. Too often there is an acceptance of prostitution that leads to a male culture that believes sex with virgins improves health has created an epidemic of young girls and boys trafficked into the cities. Roughly 30,000 young women and men in that country (some estimates are as high as 100,000) are trapped in slavery. When imprisoned in the brothels, these young women and men serve roughly 700 people every year.
I interviewed a young woman named Ruse (not her real name) who had spent three years in a Cambodian brothel before being rescued and sent to World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Center in Phnom Penh.
Ruse’s story was heartbreaking. Her family was extremely poor, and when she was just 13, her mother became very ill and needed medical attention. Her father had left, and she had two smaller siblings as well. The family desperately needed money. Ruse told me, “My virginity was the most valuable possession my family had.” FULL POST
By Ryan Cooper, CNN
(Jupiter, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona) - A growing number of Major League Baseball players are coming together to make every pitch, home run and strikeout count in the fight against child trafficking.
The players are pledging to donate money for each of their on-field achievements this season to the Free 2 Play campaign, a platform for the California-based Not For Sale non-profit group.
"A lot of Americans are shocked to hear that there are 30 million people living in slavery today, and [many] of those are children," Dave Batstone, Not For Sale's co-founder, said. "So we decided to create a program that not just releases a child from slavery, but provides them a new future."
Jeremy Affeldt, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, has been one of the most vocal athletes raising money and awareness for Not For Sale. Last season, he pledged $250 for every strikeout he pitched.
By John D. Sutter, CNN
(CNN) - After reading CNN’s special report on Mauritania, “Slavery’s Last Stronghold,” it may seem like little can be done to end slavery in this West African country, where an estimated 10% to 20% of people are enslaved.
That’s far from true, however. You can be part of the solution. Here’s how:
Donate to a worthy cause
Anti-Slavery International has set up a special donations page for a training center for escaped slaves in Mauritania’s capital, which is run by SOS Slaves. The school, which is featured in the CNN project, teaches about 30 women to sew, cook, braid hair and dye fabric. The hope is that these escaped slaves and their children one day will open their own businesses. FULL POST
The most valuable weapon in the fight against human trafficking may be you.
CNN is celebrating the work of ordinary people inspired to do something, to take action; to stand up against slavery.
People from West Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, have all joined the fight.
Watch the "Taking a Stand, Making a Difference" show here in three parts. In the first segment, viewers horrified by our expose of working conditions for people cocoa farming in West Africa campaign for more Fair Trade products.
By Lisa Cohen, CNN
Editor's Note: How can individuals help combat modern day slavery? Watch "Taking a Stand, Making a Difference".
Denver, Colorado - Staring down a mountain of bras in her basement, Kimba Langas knew things had gotten out of hand.
The stay-at-home-mom started collecting unwanted bras as a way to help women on the other side of the world. It started small through word of mouth, and then a Facebook page.
But the bras quickly overran her home in suburban Denver, Colorado. They were in her basement, in her garage, in her car. They were in bags, in boxes, in envelopes. Her husband, Jeff, tried to navigate his way around them, but it wasn't easy.
"He was constantly moving boxes out of his way to access his tools," Langas said. "Down in the basement is where he keeps his table saw and other large tools, so besides having to move boxes, he would suffer a scolding from me from getting sawdust all over the bras!"
And the neighbors were beginning to talk, too. "If the weather's nice I usually count and box up bras in my garage," Langas said. "The neighborhood boys who are always around playing in the cul-de-sac try to pretend they're not watching!"
Langas collects unwanted bras for a charity called "Free the Girls" which gives them to young women coming out of sex trafficking in Mozambique - not to wear, but to sell in used clothing markets where bras are a luxury item and command top dollar.
The girls can make three times the average wage, more than enough to support themselves and not be trafficked again.
Sitting in her living room packing boxes of bras with her four-year-old son, Wyatt, she reflects on how quickly the little project took off.
It was the pastor of her church who came up with the idea for "Free the Girls." He was planning on moving to Mozambique for missionary work, and called Langas to see if she would run the project with him. She thought it sounded like fun.
"One of the things that was so appealing to me for "Free the Girls," besides the catchy name, was donating bras," she said. "I had probably five or six bras in the back of my drawer. As women, you know, we buy a bra, don't try it on, get it home, wear it once, it doesn't fit. And it's one of those items where you'd like to donate it when you donate clothes to a charity, but you're not sure. Do we donate bras? What do we do with bras?"
Apparently, that sentiment resonated with women across the U.S.. Shortly after launching the Facebook page, the bras started coming. The response was much bigger than she expected.
"I remember in the beginning how excited I would get to pick up envelopes and small boxes, and wow, if a box had 50 or even 100 bras that was crazy," Langas said. "And all of us of sudden, you know, 800 bras, 1,000 bras, 1,250 bras.
"There was a drive in Arizona and the women collected 8,000 bras. There's a church in Tennessee that collected 3,000 bras. There's a group here in Denver that collected 1,250 bras. It's just one of those things that caught on and spread."
It spread so much that Langas had to rent a storage unit to hold them all. But now she has a big problem: How is she going to move 25,000 bras 10,000 miles (15,000 kilometers)?
A shipping container would cost $6,500; money she says she just doesn't have. When she hears about people traveling to Mozambique, she asks them to take an extra suitcase with them, filled with bras. But her goal is to raise enough money to ship all of them.
In the meantime, she is encouraged by the volunteers helping her and motivated by the young victims she is fighting for, happy to do her small part in the fight to end modern-day slavery.
"Eventually it is going to change," she says. "I know it is. And if it's not in my generation, I hope that my son gets to see major change and I hope, by the time he's out of college or maybe even my age, hopefully sooner, he will be like, "Slavery? What? Oh, I read about it in my textbook."
Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean may be an extreme test of human endurance but an all female crew who completed the feat discovered a secret tactic to ease the physical burden - rowing nude.
"We spent a lot of time rowing naked because when the sea water gets inside your clothes it increases friction against your skin which can cause sores," says Debbie Beadle, Skipper of the Row for Freedom team.
The trip followed a route previously used to transport slaves between Europe and the Americas in the 19th century, raising money for UK-based anti-human trafficking charities the A21 Campaign and ECPAT UK.
In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields. (More information and air times on CNN International.)
It's easy to say that human trafficking is a violation against basic human rights and that it should be abolished. And we often assume that modern-day slavery only takes place in countries far away.
But chances are, you have purchased, eaten, or have worn something tainted by slavery sometime in your life. Curious about what some of those connections might be? FULL POST