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.
By Mimi Chakarova, Special to CNN
For the past decade, photographer-filmmaker Mimi Chakarova has examined conflict, corruption and the sex trade. Her film "The Price of Sex," a feature-length documentary made over seven years on trafficking and corruption, premiered in 2011. She was awarded the Nestor Almendros Award for courage in filmmaking at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York. It will air in the U.S. on The Documentary Channel on April 11 at 4.30p0.m. ET
She was wearing a polka dot skirt and her favorite pink flip-flops the day she left her village in Albania. Her mom called out her name before she got into her boyfriend's red Mitsubishi. She didn't turn to wave goodbye. She was 12 and angry. FULL POST
Greensboro, North Carolina (CNN) — The truck-stop hooker is no Julia Roberts, the trucker in the cab with her no Richard Gere, and this truck stop off the highway could not be any farther from Beverly Hills, the staging ground for “Pretty Woman.”
Danielle Mitchell watches from the other end of the parking lot and shakes her head.
“We know from talking to other victims and other agencies that girls are taken to truck stops and they’re actually traded,” she says, sitting in her car, a shiny silver sport utility vehicle.
Mitchell is North Carolina human trafficking manager for World Relief. World Relief is a Christian nonprofit attached to the National Association of Evangelicals and is best known for its efforts to combat global hunger and respond to disasters around the world.
Mitchell is trying to tackle a disaster in her home state. And she is not alone.
By David Ariosto, CNN
Cambodia, long suspected of being fertile ground for human traffickers, has drawn recent attention after reports of sexual abuse and widespread mistreatment prompted government actions to improve the plight of its young women and girls.
Considered a modern-day form of slavery, human trafficking involves the illegal trade of people and commonly includes sexual exploitation and forced labor. FULL POST
The CNN documentary "Death in the Desert" showed the remarkable risks Africans were prepared to make to try to get to Israel.
A hazardous trip across Africa to Egypt where Bedouins would take them across the Sinai Desert but also hold them as bonded labor.
And if they couldn't pay, bodies have been found with organs missing and fresh scars - signs, experts say, of organ trafficking.
Now watch the documentary in full online in three parts.
(CNN) - A Cambodian opposition parliament member says labor recruitment agencies in her country are still sending domestic workers to Malaysia - despite a recent ban on the practice - because many government officials either own or have close ties to the companies.
The country's ministries of labor and interior "are not taking any action," Mu Sochua told CNN, noting that "many officials and familial members of some ministers actually own these dubious agencies."
The ban was enacted in October shortly after a report by CNN's Dan Rivers examined a recruitment agency in the Cambodian capital that revealed stories of women trapped in debt-bondage in Malaysia.
The story "that aired on CNN has actually awakened the country up the whole country on this human trafficking issue again," said Sochua. "I have to say that his piece is just one little part of the whole problem, which is much worse."FULL STORY
In this first part of his report, CNN's Fred Pleitgen investigates the plight of refugees crossing the Sinai Desert. Check out the second part
El Arish, Egypt - "I wanted to build a good future for my family, but I failed," a weak Issam Abdallah Mohammed said in a videotaped statement.
The refugee from the Darfur region of Sudan was trying to illegally cross the border from Egypt to Israel when he was discovered and shot by Egyptian border guards.
Less than an hour after taping the statement, Issam was dead, succumbing to the wounds inflicted by the gunshots.
Every year, thousands of refugees, mostly from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan, attempt the dangerous journey from their war-torn countries to Israel in search of economic prosperity and stability.
Very few make it, and the results of the failed migration can be seen in the morgue of the central hospital in the Egyptian port town of El Arish. FULL POST
Atlanta, (CNN) - Across the world, man's inhumanity is secretly on show wherever human traffickers prey on those who are vulnerable. But there is also hope and inspiration in the stories of survivors, and the dedicated, but under-resourced, anti-traffickers.
For four years, Robert Bilheimer documented their stories in Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa for the documentary "Not My Life" which airs on CNN International this weekend.
CNN sat down with the Oscar-nominated director to talk about the horrors of human trafficking and the uplifting tales of the survivors he met while filming.
By Moni Basu, CNN
ATLANTA - Bidemi Bello will spend the next 11 years in a U.S. prison. After that she will be deported back to her native Nigeria, her luxe life in suburban Atlanta decidedly finished.
Bello, 42, was convicted for bringing two Nigerian women to the United States and forcing them to work in her plush home as slaves. U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. sentenced her to 140 months in jail Thursday.
Bello apologized to her two victims, present in the Atlanta courtroom to hear firsthand their abuser's punishment. Bello also apologized to her prosecutors, said U.S. Attorney Susan Coppedge.
"We are very pleased with the sentence," she said. "I think it fits the facts of the case."
Those facts amounted to "shocking modern-day slavery," said Brock Nicholson, the special agent in charge of immigration and homeland security investigations in Atlanta. 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
In our Freedom Project Undercover series, you've seen the fight against human traffickers through the eyes of the investigators.
In the fifth and final installment of our trip to Orange County, California, we see that the police try give the prostitutes a new start and do their best to lock up the pimps who are forcing these women in to selling themselves.
Police officers in Anaheim, California, conduct an undercover operation aimed at sex traffickers.