In 2013, the Freedom Project went to Cambodia with Oscar-winning actress and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador against Human Trafficking Mira Sorvino. The result was "Every Day in Cambodia: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary" - which looked at child sex trafficking in the country.
Just this month, it was named "outstanding documentary" by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, winning a Gracie Allen award.
Sorvino says the film has raised awareness of the issue, helping to raise funds to build a school that, when completed, will offer hope for more than 1,000 children in the region.
“Primary and especially secondary education is extremely important in preventing trafficking,” she says. “It allows children to develop critical thinking skills to be able to defend themselves from traffickers and to have the skills that will enable them to have gainful employment to be able to support their families in other ways than being sexually exploited.”
But Sorvino adds that it’s not just about helping the victims. “The demand side really needs to be addressed,” she says. “If people weren’t trying to buy child sex it wouldn’t be being sold.”
Today, tens of millions of people are enslaved worldwide.
It’s a global problem, affecting people on every continent, and for the last four years The CNN Freedom Project has been shining a light on modern-day slavery.
Here, we look back at the Freedom Project so far, remembering some of the stories we have covered, and looking ahead at what still needs to be done.
Editor’s Note: Tammy Lee Stanoch is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Carlson. She has more than a decade of executive leadership experience in the airline and travel industry. The opinions expressed are her own.
I have an 11-year-old daughter and, as a mother, would risk everything to keep her safe. So today, I shuddered to learn that 180 Degrees, a Minnesota-based nonprofit, just rescued a 10-year-old girl from sex trafficking.
The good news: She’s now safe. The bad news: There are countless more like her. But with the passage of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor law, we are now able to provide shelter, services and a safe haven to help this girl and others like her.
Where I live isn’t India, which has the largest number of people in modern slavery, 14 million, according to the Walk Free Global Slavery Index. It’s Minnesota – largely Scandinavian, the setting of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegon.
But here, and around the world, girls and boys are falling prey to human traffickers. FULL POST
By Leif Coorlim
A van and a set of benches. In the global fight to end human trafficking, they are probably not the first weapons that come to mind.
But on the ground in places like Cambodia and India, anti-trafficking advocates say these are tools are at the top of their wish lists.
“We have over 350 children in our school from different areas of the community. Some children have dropped out because they lack transportation," says Julie Harrold, director of U.S. operations at Agape International Missions (AIM). "Parents don’t want their children walking to school because the roads are dangerous and kids are propositioned on the way to school."
Now there's a way to help from anywhere in the world. FULL POST
Do you care about who grows your food - and in what conditions these farm laborers work?
A new movie called Food Chains releases in the U.S. on Friday.
The documentary, produced by actress Eva Longoria and narrated by Oscar winner Forest Whitaker, examines working conditions for laborers harvesting tomatoes in Immokalee, Florida, and grapes in California's wine region Napa Valley.
It follows the fight of some laborers taking on big business interests to establish their rights.
The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and recently played at the Napa Valley Film Festival, and by the reaction in the Napa Valley Register, certainly prompted strong debate.
Professor Bernard Freamon teaches courses on modern-day slavery and human trafficking at Seton Hall University School of Law in New Jersey and also specializes in Islamic Legal History. He is currently writing a book, “Islam, Slavery and Empire in the Indian Ocean World.” The views in this article are his alone.
In the past few months, the world has witnessed horrific accounts of the enslavement of thousands of innocent Yazidis and other religious minorities by ISIS partisans in Iraq and Syria.
In a recent article in its online English-language magazine, ISIS ideologues offered legal justifications for the enslavement of these non-Muslim non-combatants, stating that “enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah or Islamic law.”
The article argues, based on a variety of Shariah sources, that ISIS partisans have a religious duty to kill or enslave members of the Yazidi community as part of their struggle [jihad] against their enemies.
This argument is plainly wrong, hypocritical and astonishingly ahistorical, relying on male fantasies inspired by stories from the days of imperial Islam.
It is also an affront to right-thinking Muslims everywhere and a criminal perversion of Islamic law, particularly its primary source, the Glorious Quran.FULL STORY
Jana was a 19-year-old in her final year of high school, with dreams of becoming a doctor. Then, ISIS came to her village last August.
She described to me in chilling detail, how the jihadis first demanded that members of her Yazidi religious minority convert to Islam. Then they stripped villagers of their jewelry, money and cellphones. They separated the men from the women.
A United Nations report explained what happened next. ISIS "gathered all the males older than 10 years of age at the local school, took them outside the village by pick-up trucks, and shot them."
Among those believed dead were Jana's father and eldest brother.
A different fate lay in store for the women.FULL STORY
They work on U.S. construction sites and farms, in restaurants and hotels, even in homes.
Foreign workers, lured by false promises of good jobs in America, soon find themselves enslaved in plain sight as victims of labor trafficking, according to a new report published by the nonpartisan Urban Institute and Northeastern University.FULL STORY
Imagine being rescued from modern slavery, only to be charged with a crime.
That's the apparent reality in Mauritania, the country with the world's highest incidence of modern slavery. Located in West Africa, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, an estimated 4% to 20% of people there remain enslaved. It was the last country in the world to abolish the practice - in 1981. And it only criminalized owning humans in 2007.
So perhaps this latest news should come as no surprise.
Mbeirika Mint M'bareck, a 15-year-old girl, was rescued from slavery only to be subsequently charged with having sex outside of marriage, according to a letter activists drafted on her behalf. (It is unclear who fathered the child). That crime is potentially punishable by death by stoning, according to an expert I spoke with. The activists planned to send the letter to the country's ministry of justice on Monday.FULL STORY
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is awarded to India's Kailash Satyarthi and Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai for their struggles against the suppression of children and for young people's rights, including the right to education.
Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said, "Children must go to school, not be financially exploited."
Yousafzai came to global attention after she was shot in the head by the Taliban - two years ago Thursday - for her efforts to promote education for girls in Pakistan. Since then, after recovering from surgery, she has taken her campaign to the world stage, notably with a speech last year at the United Nations.
Satyarthi, age 60, has shown great personal courage in heading peaceful demonstrations focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain, the committee said.