Young Christians from around the world pledge to fight human slavery. Jim Clancy reports.
Editor's Note: Anti-trafficking expert Siddharth Kara is the author of “Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia,” providing the first comprehensive overview of bonded labor in South Asia.
In the third chapter of my new book on bonded labour, I explore the shrimp industry of Bangladesh. Chingri (shrimp) harvesting provides a highly illustrative case study of the very powerful ways in which environmental change can directly contribute to human trafficking, debt bondage, and forced labor exploitation, especially in the far reaches of the developing world.
To research the shrimp industry of Bangladesh requires a journey to the cyclone-wracked southwestern reaches of the country.
Here, one finds four stages to Bangladesh’s shrimp industry supply chain: 1 shrimp fry (baby shrimp) collection, shrimp farming, the distribution to processors, and shrimp processing. Each one of these stages is tainted by some form of severe labor exploitation.
(CNN) – From Coca-Cola to Microsoft, some of the most recognizable brands in the world of business have joined forces in the fight against human trafficking and slavery.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 21 million people are currently trapped in slavery, with almost every country on the planet affected, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). FULL POST
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.
By Deborah Feyerick & Sheila Steffen, CNN
Tamara Vandermoon is barely recognizable in the photo she holds up; her face is swollen and bruised, her eyes nearly battered shut. She was 19 at the time. "My pimp had beaten me and stomped my face," she says. "I was black and blue."
The Minnesota woman has seen a lot in her relatively short life. Abandoned by her father and angry at her mother, she ran away when she was 12, the same age she turned her first trick trading sex for money and gifts.
"I just wanted to be accepted and loved. I was told how beautiful I was and if you do this I'll get you this ... and I'll make you my girlfriend." Before she knew it she was prostituting herself up to 50 times a night, the money going to her pimp or to feed the drug habit she developed, she says, to "numb the pain" of her life.
Her eyes fill with tears as she remembers: "I was just a baby. I was 12 and they preyed on me. What would a grown man want with a twelve-year-old child?!" Now 31, she is finally getting out after nearly two decades in the sex-trade.
When it comes to child and adolescent sex-trafficking in the United States, the FBI ranks Minneapolis-St. Paul among the top 13 places in the nation. With its tangle of highways known as Spaghetti Junction, its year-round sporting events and frequent conventions, millions pass through on any given day. "There's the thought no one's going to catch you in the Midwest," says Dan Pfarr who works with teens in crisis.
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
One of the world's leading workers' rights groups has revised upward its global estimate of the number of people working in forced labor.
Almost 21 million people are now in forced labor, according to the new study from the International Labour Organization.
That is up from a "minimum estimate" of 12.3 million in ILO's similar report in 2005 - but the group says the increase is down to better research methods rather than indicative of a trend.
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.
By Athena Jones, CNN
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sheila White was beginning to feel numb. She had been beaten numerous times by a man who forced her to work as a prostitute on the streets of New York City.
"I done got beaten up in front of the Port Authority in Times Square," she said, a reference to a bus terminal on the city's West Side. "When stuff like that happens out in the open, you really feel like you're not even a person."
White was eventually able to escape her pimp and now works with victims of sex trafficking throughout New York state. But her story is proof that slavery is alive and well in America, 150 years after it was supposedly abolished.
While modern slavery may look different from the old images of plantations, slave cabins and auction blocks, abuse, coercion and manipulation remain the order of the day.
By Brent Swails, CNN
The mansion sits in the heart of Maputo, Mozambique. From the street it looks abandoned. Its walls are crumbling, the windows are broken and overgrown shrubs and trees hide the once grand entrance.
But inside there are signs that this place is still a home. The ceiling is black from cooking fires. In the bedrooms, mattresses line the floors and pages torn from magazines decorate the walls.
Local anti-trafficking activist Katie Magill often visits the mansion and other squatter housing in the city. She says its residents are at an age where they idolize the singers and actresses pictured on the pages. But they are much too young for the work they’re forced to do every night.
Many here say that Mozambique’s label of “the land of prawns and prostitutes” is well deserved. Prawns dominate trade by day, and at night, it’s Mozambique’s girls that are for sale. FULL POST
By Natalie Allen, CNN
Twelve-year-old Dieu wears a bright-green top sprinkled with yellow flowers as she squats in a pile of garbage with her mother.
The two talk and laugh while their hands work quickly, sorting plastic from the discarded food and waste.
A full bag will bring their family just pennies. But this is their life’s work. They live on a dump in Rach Gia, Vietnam, part of the Mekong Delta.
When she was about 7, Isabel was sold into domestic servitude to a wealthy Taiwan family who later moved to California. She endured a childhood of constant work and beatings and only escaped when she was in her 20s.
CNN's Martin Savidge first talked to Isabel about her story in November. In that conversation, Isabel said her wish was to be reunited with her mother. "If I find her I say Mom I love you so much. I still want to find you," she said.
Her story sparked a media storm in Taiwan and the country's foreign minister helped locate Isabel's family.
On Thursday, after 20 years, Isabel got her wish and was finally reunited with her mother. FULL POST