Artist Ross Bleckner, a U.N. goodwill ambassador, recalls his to trip to Uganda to help sex trafficking victims and explains how art can combat modern day slavery.
By Krupskaia Alis and Rafael Romo, CNN
Joanna moves her hands nervously as she speaks. Her oversized, golden earrings rattle as she shakes her head to make a point. Joanna is not her real name. She's speaking on the condition that CNN will protect her privacy and not disclose her real name. She's only 16 years old, but has already experienced a lifetime of horror, abuse and torture. She's a former sex slave.
It all started when she met a charming man. "I was in a normal relationship with him for three months," she says. At the time she was only 14 years old. She was treated like royalty and fell in love. A few months later he asked her to elope and she agreed.
"He promised that we would get a house and that we would raise children. I was naïve and believed everything he said. We started living together in July and by September he was already forcing me to work as a prostitute," Joanna said.
By then it had become painfully clear that Joanna's boyfriend was in reality her captor, a pimp who preyed on young, vulnerable teenagers whom he recruited in central Mexico with the purpose of forcing them into prostitution. FULL POST
World champion boxer Manny Pacquiao has had more than 50 professional fights. But none may be more important than the battle he has joined against the trafficking of tens of thousands of women and children.
Pacquiao, who is also a lawmaker in his native Philippines, teamed up with campaigner Cecilia Flores-Oebanda, who has spent 20 years trying to protect victims of sex slavery and forced labor.
CNN spent two years documenting her struggle as she enlisted the help of Pacquiao. The resulting full length film premieres on CNN International on May 17 and 18. Watch the trailer here.
To draw worldwide attention to the horrendous crimes and to help the victims, CNN and iReport is joining forces with the End it Movement, which launched its red X campaign in February.
Download the Fighters-End It boxing glove here, share it with your friends and join The Fighters to end modern-day slavery.
Click to open the image if you want to share on your social media.
By Jesse Eaves Senior Policy Adviser for Child Protection, World Vision
Advocates are dynamic voices for change. Those voices often have a simple beginning. Two years ago, if 13-year-old Ravi was told that he would become a leading advocate against child labor in India, he would have taken that statement the same way that people treated him - “as a joke.”
When his father fell ill when he was 8 years old, Ravi was forced to quit school and work to pay off his family’s never-ending debts. For two years Ravi toiled in a small shack making wire brushes to clean machine parts in the city of Kanpur, India.
It was not the life he wanted to lead. However, Ravi’s life took a turn at age 10 when a social worker for World Vision found Ravi on the streets and got him out of forced labor and back into school. FULL POST
Three runners update CNN on their 1,000-mile trek through Europe raising money to help children rescued from trafficking.
The Run for Love 1000 campaign is raising money for Love 146 which works with rescued children in Europe and wants to build a trauma recovery center in the UK for victims of trafficking.
The run began in Ukraine by the Black Sea and ends in Croatia on the Adriatic Coast.
CNN and iReport is joining the #enditmovement to help shine a light on slavery.
Join us by drawing a red X on your hand, window, wherever – be creative! – and sharing your photos by tagging them #enditmovement. You can also send them to iReport here. We’ll share some of the best on CNN.
You can find out more about the End It Movement here or watch this interview where actor-comedian Nick Cannon talks to CNN about the movement.
The host of hit U.S. TV show “America’s Got Talent” is getting behind a new campaign to end modern-day slavery.
Actor-comedian Nick Cannon told CNN he wanted to use his celebrity to encourage others to join the anti-slavery fight.
Seven non-profits formed the End It Movement to fight modern-day slavery all over the world.
End It and Cannon hope people will join the campaign on social media and agree to put an X on their hands as part of the organization’s ‘Shine a light on slavery day’ on April 9.
It started with a Facebook "Friend" request.
"I was just, 'oh, he's cute, I'll accept him,'" a 22-year-old called "Nina" recalls.
She was 18 at the time, and didn't imagine that clicking "accept" would start her on a path to four years of prostitution across the country. "Nina" is a pseudonym; CNNMoney agreed to change the names of the victims in this article to protect their privacy.
Upper middle-class and college-bound, Nina had her plans derailed in her senior year of high school after her mother was sentenced to two years in prison for financial crimes. Lonely and looking online for male attention, she started messaging back and forth with a man who said he was falling for her. They talked about trips they'd take together as a couple, and about marriage, maybe kids.
"He sold me the biggest dream in the world," she says. "I thought he really did like me and we were going to live this fairy-tale life together.
In his acceptance speech after winning the 2013 Oscar for best actor Daniel Day-Lewis acknowledged "the mysteriously beautiful mind, body and spirit of Abraham Lincoln."
There was applause from the audience. It was a celebration of Day-Lewis's talent and performance as the 16th U.S. president. But in a sublime way, it was also a celebration of Lincoln himself - his life, his words and his actions, most notably his fight against slavery.
One organization is trying to connect the historical Lincoln with the issue of modern day slavery.
Lincoln fought to end slavery 150 years ago. But how can we follow his lead to put this practice to an end for good? FULL POST
CNN’s Freedom Project followed a small group who came up with a bright idea to help former sex slaves - and the people who helped them realize their dream.
Their idea – ship unwanted bras from the U.S. to Mozambique where they can be sold in markets and help provide the rescued slaves with a wage.
Across the U.S. women have discarded bras in bedroom draws. In Mozambique the same item is a luxury. As the idea took off and the group hit problems shipping their cargo, others stepped in to help.
Now you can watch the entire “Mozambique or Bust” documentary, narrated by Mira Sorvino, an Oscar winner and goodwill ambassador to combat human trafficking for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime online here in three parts. FULL POST
Looking to add a conversation piece to your Oscar viewing party?
How about the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was reputedly sitting when he received the news he'd been nominated as the Republican candidate for president.
It's the star attraction in a collection of more than 50 historical documents, rare books, images and artifacts related to the 16th President of the United States currently up for bid on eBay.
Ten percent of the final sale price from the auction will support the U.S.-based international non-profit, Free the Slaves, which works with local communities across the globe to end modern-day forms of slavery. FULL POST
In one day, 103 suspected human traffickers were arrested in 117 different locations – with raids carried out by some 1,200 police officers from more than a dozen countries. Europol the European Union's law enforcement agency, says it is one of the largest ever operations against human traffickers on the continent.
CNN is joining the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. WHY WE'RE DOING THIS | MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT