While India's girls are aborted, brides are wanted
Akhleema and Tasleema, two sisters from Kolkata in India's east, were sold as brides in Haryana state, in western India
September 4th, 2014
02:32 PM ET

While India's girls are aborted, brides are wanted

Cultural preference for boys in parts of India results in some of the largest imbalances between males and females in the world. And that creates a demand for brides that human traffickers are willing to meet.

Film maker Carl Gierstorfer visited villages where brides fetch a price and teenage girls are snatched from their families. And he met the people who are fighting to stop this vicious cycle.

Read his story and watch some of his video
Topics: Life In Slavery • The Traffickers • Voices
Time to get children out of factories and into schools
August 31st, 2014
11:08 PM ET

Time to get children out of factories and into schools

By Nina Smith

Editor’s Note: Nina Smith is the founding CEO of GoodWeave International, a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that works to stop child labor in the carpet industry.

In a small village in central Afghanistan, 13-year-old Basma is about to start her first day of school –- ever.

She’s a world away from the millions of western children who are now heading back to their classrooms for a new school year.

Only weeks before, Basma was found working on a carpet loom. Her weaving fingers already showed signs of arthritis from holding tools since the age of nine, tying knots for 14 hours a day.

She was rescued by GoodWeave, an international organization I head in the U.S. that seeks to eliminate child labor in carpet manufacturing.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers like Basma around the world, forced to sacrifice their youth and their education.

Many of these boys and girls manufacture the very items that American consumers will have purchased this Labor Day weekend in anticipation of the new academic year –- as well as other parents across the world.

The U.S. National Retail Federation estimates that parents will spend $26.5 billion this back-to-school shopping season.

Some of their purchases will include clothes stitched in Bangladeshi factories not far from Rana Plaza, the factory complex that collapsed last year, killing more than 1,100 garment workers including some who were underage.

FULL POST

Topics: Business • How to Help • Life In Slavery
What's your slavery footprint?
July 8th, 2014
12:23 PM ET

What's your slavery footprint?

By Allyssia Alleyne

How many slaves work for you? If you’ve answered “zero,” you’re probably way off. At least that’s the premise behind Slavery Footprint, an online survey developed by the U.S. State Department and anti-slavery organization Made in a Free World.

The web interactive invites users to insert information about their consumer habits and lifestyle choices - this covers everything from what sports you play to what products line your medicine cabinet - and then determines approximately how many forced laborers they rely on.

The results are startling. It turns out that if you’ve ever eaten, worn, or used pretty much anything, you’ve likely been complicit in some form of slavery. In fact, Made in a Free World estimates that there are some 29 million slaves in the world today.

But the project’s goal is education, not blame. After completing the survey, you’re encouraged to be more thoughtful about where your products come from, and send pre-written emails to companies asking what they’re doing to address forced labor in their supply chains.

Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think: http://www.slaveryfootprint.org

Topics: Life In Slavery
June 26th, 2014
02:39 PM ET

Nepal's Organ Trail: How traffickers steal kidneys

On the streets of Kathmandu, the sight of people begging for kidney treatment has become common.

The capital of Nepal is no different from many places in the world where aging populations, poor diets and no health insurance systems mean increased organ disease.

The organ in highest demand is the kidney and black market traffickers are meeting that demand.

CNN Freedom Project's new documentary investigates the appalling illegal trade in kidneys.

Read the full story, watch clips from the documentary and check out TV schedule times
Condemned by the U.S., can Thailand tackle human trafficking?
June 20th, 2014
02:32 PM ET

Condemned by the U.S., can Thailand tackle human trafficking?

Migrant laborers are photographed here on a fishing boat in Thailand's Rayong province - a common destination for trafficking victims.

Trafficking in Thailand's fishing industry has again been highlighted by the U.S. State Department, which on Friday downgraded the country in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report.

Now, Thailand shares the "Tier 3" category with 22 other countries, putting it on par in the eyes of Washington with the likes of North Korea, Syria and the Central African Republic in its response to human trafficking.

Thai officials acknowledge they have a problem, but say progress is being made.

FULL STORY
Topics: Government • In The News • Life In Slavery • TIP Report
Images of America's sex trade, caught on camera
May 21st, 2014
09:51 PM ET

Images of America's sex trade, caught on camera

Jon Lowenstein trains his eye on the parts of society many people try to avoid.

“I'm really interested in stories that are hidden or untold or in places that are off the beaten path and forgotten,” the photographer says. “But I try to do it in an elegant way. I try to find a poetic and intimate way of telling the stories.”

For the past 10 years, Lowenstein has documented gun violence in Chicago’s crime-riddled South Side and highlighted the experiences of undocumented immigrants living across the United States.

His work looks at the issues of power, poverty, alienation and violence, and it has recently taken him across the United States, Central America, Haiti and Uganda.

When it comes to photographing modern day slavery, Lowenstein says he tries to take an overwhelming problem and engage people on a personal, emotional level.

“My subjects are people who have been left behind by the global market or are being used by the global market," Lowenstein says.

"It's the intersection between the past and the present, but also how globalization is impacting the world."

Look at the photos here
Topics: Life In Slavery • Voices
May 7th, 2014
01:51 PM ET

Slavery in Nigeria 'based on lack of respect for girls' rights'

The world is paying attention to the abduction of Nigerian schoolgirls because the numbers are so high, but the slavery of girls is prevalent in northern Nigeria, and is often not reported when the victims are taken in ones and twos, says Aidan McQuade, Director of Anti-Slavery International. The abuse stems from a lack of respect for women and girls, he tells CNN anchor Jim Clancy.

May 7th, 2014
01:34 PM ET

Nigeria and the ongoing battle against slavery

There are 700,000 people currently in slavery in Nigeria, according to Walk Free. They are often abducted from extremely poor rural areas. Some are trafficked for slave labor including prostitution, occasionally to criminals in Europe and the Middle East. Others are forced into marriage.

CNN anchor Jim Clancy looks at the wider issues around slavery in Nigeria and west Africa.

Topics: In The News • Life In Slavery • The Facts
May 6th, 2014
03:08 PM ET

Eight more girls kidnapped in Nigeria

A new attack is reported in Nigeria, with eight more students abducted in a region where terrorist group Boko Haram says it will sell girls.

Six reasons we need to care about Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram
May 6th, 2014
10:09 AM ET

Six reasons we need to care about Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram

One year ago this month, Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau released a video announcing a new, reprehensible front in its bloody attempt at forced Islamism: his fighters will begin abducting girls and selling them. The terrorist group has just done that.

For months the incidents received little attention beyond Nigeria. Now the disgust is spreading worldwide.

FULL STORY
Pineapple program fights traffickers in Sierra Leone
April 2nd, 2014
04:36 PM ET

Pineapple program fights traffickers in Sierra Leone

By John Lyon, Special for CNN

Editor's note: John Lyon is the President and CEO of World Hope International. Based in the United States, WHI is a direct partner of Sierra Leone in the fight against human trafficking. In Sierra Leone, WHI helps trafficking victims find a safe, healthy life through emergency after-care and community education programs.

(CNN) - Selina was just 10 years old when her parents sent her off to Freetown to live with her uncle, who promised education and better opportunities.

Her parents, petty-traders in a small fishing village in Sierra Leone, barely made enough to feed their children.

The uncle's offer seemed like the break they had been waiting for - an opportunity to give their daughter a better life than the one they could provide for her. They never anticipated the nightmare that would ensue.

When Selina, whose name has been changed to protect her, arrived at her uncle's house, it quickly became clear she would not be getting the education she had hoped for.

Instead, Selina was immediately locked inside her uncle's house, where he proceeded to sexually assault her over the course of the next several months, often raping her multiple times a day.

Selina’s story is one of many that have been shared with World Hope International’s staff since we started anti-trafficking prevention and rehabilitation efforts in Sierra Leone in 2004.

Unfortunately, stories of exploitation and servitude are not unusual in this country where more than 60% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day.

FULL POST

Topics: Life In Slavery • Solutions
April 2nd, 2014
02:42 AM ET

Brazil tackling child prostitution for World Cup

By Shasta Darlington, CNN

The newly-renovated Castelao football stadium looms into sight up ahead. Driving just past it, we see women standing on street corners, leaning into cars and flashing nearly naked bodies in the low light.

We're in Fortaleza in the northeastern corner of Brazil, one of the World Cup host cities but also known as a magnet for sex tourism.

FULL STORY

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