March 29th, 2011
04:14 AM ET

Mira Sorvino's fight: Human trafficking

Actress and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino speaks about meeting a young girl rescued from a sex trafficking ring.

“You can’t actually escape the horrendousness of what people are telling you and the pain that they have lived through - and the idea that you are talking to a tiny percentile who got away,” Sorvino tells CNN’s Jim Clancy.

Topics: Solutions • Voices
March 29th, 2011
03:55 AM ET

Stories from India's red light district

Zainab Salbi, founder of Women for Women International,  talks to CNN's Becky Anderson about sexual slavery in New Delhi's red light district and the perspective of brothel owners.

Sale of women into prostitution "is very common across India," Salbi said. "It feels for me like being in the heart of darkness."

Topics: The Traffickers
March 18th, 2011
05:14 PM ET

Students look to join the fight

We’ve received many messages from school and college students wanting advice on how to join the fight against modern day slavery. 

For example, Lian of Rye Neck High School in New York wrote: “Hi my name is Lian Joerss and I'm a student at Rye Neck High School. Our global awareness class watched some videos and read some articles on the secret slavery and we realized how lucky we are to be in school. We want to raise awareness around the community except we aren't sure how.”

One place to look for some inspiration is the U.S. State Department's “20 Ways You can Help Fight Human Trafficking”. Many of their ideas are catered towards schools and colleges, like organize a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an anti-trafficking organization; encourage your school to include modern slavery in its curriculum and write a letter to the editor for your local newspaper about your school’s initiatives.  

In the coming weeks on this blog we’ll offer a range of suggestions to get involved, including community action, fundraisers, educational initiatives and awareness about retail goods – as well as links to the work of credible organizations. Meanwhile, join the iReporters pledging to make a stand and please keep the comments, photos and video coming in.

Topics: How to Help • Solutions
March 16th, 2011
10:36 AM ET

'Slumdog Millionaire' actor on fighting human trafficking

"Slumdog Millionaire" actor Anil Kapoor talks to CNN's Mallika Kapur about the importance of the fight against human trafficking and why the issue matters so much to him.

He discusses a special trip he made to a village in rural India that was almost entirely male because so many of the girls had been trafficked.

Topics: Solutions • Voices
5 things to know about human trafficking
Human trafficking doesn't just happen in far-away places. It can happen anywhere in the world.
March 15th, 2011
05:05 PM ET

5 things to know about human trafficking

By Amanda Kloer, Special to CNN

Editor's Note: Amanda Kloer is an editor with, where she organizes and promotes campaigns to end human trafficking. She has created numerous reports, documentaries and training materials on human trafficking in the United States and around the world.

Human trafficking might not be something we think about on a daily basis, but this crime affects the communities where we live, the products which we buy and the people who we care about. Want to learn more? Here are the five most important things to know about human trafficking: FULL POST

March 11th, 2011
12:53 PM ET

From slave to village leader

In her third report in a series, CNN's Sara Sidner examines an Indian village's residents, who, once freed, are now making their own lives. One former debt slave, Pholwati Devi, was once relegated to the lowest level of Indian society but is now her local village representative,  winning an election over those who had run things in her village for generations. FULL POST

iReporters take a stand to end slavery
Courtney Dickins (bottom row, middle) of Los Angeles, California, poses with her coworkers. "I hope that we can help get ... the voice we need to stand against slavery," she said. "It breaks my heart."
March 10th, 2011
12:12 PM ET

iReporters take a stand to end slavery

Over the next several months, the CNN Freedom Project will shine a spotlight on the horrors of human trafficking, highlight some of the success stories and share ways that everyone can make a difference.

CNN iReport and GOOD are partnering on a series of creative challenges that you can do to raise awareness about this crisis. For the first assignment, we’ve invited people to share a photo of yourself holding a sign that says “I’m taking a stand to end slavery” or a video with the same message.

It may seem small, but it’s a first step to gather what we hope will be a huge group of people around the world, all committed to spreading the word about an issue of which most of the public is unaware. Together, we hope to make a big difference in future Freedom Project challenges.

So far, iReporters in nearly 20 countries have taken the pledge. As Salome Van Leuven of Farnham, England, eloquently put it, the problem “will not be resolved if no one is aware of it.” She added, “a good campaign will make people start talking.”

How about you? Will you take a stand to end slavery? Take the pledge so you can take part in future Freedom Project challenges.

March 10th, 2011
11:49 AM ET

India official: It's not slavery

After her reports on modern-day slavery in India, CNN's Sara Sidner sat down with India's Labor Secretary Prabhat C. Chaturvedi. She showed him her first report, about generations paying off debt through slavery, to let him respond.

According to Sidner, the official was not surprised. He admitted that the problem of bonded labor existed in India but bristled at the word "slavery."

Below is an excerpt (and watch a longer response in the video above): FULL POST

Topics: Government • In The News
March 9th, 2011
03:46 PM ET

How to help: Reports from India

In India they are known as bonded laborers, bound to those who gave them or their forefathers an advance or a loan. Human rights advocates call them modern-day slaves.  The reports from CNN's Sara Sidner on bonded labor - which can include young children - has spurred hundreds of readers and viewers to ask how they can help.

As one reader commented on the post: "This breaks my heart so much. ... I am not rich, my parents are not but we have never in our entire life experienced slavery. What can I do to help?" Another e-mailed CNN asking how to help: "I would like to help one of the families mentioned in your story from Uttar Pradesh, India. ... how may I best help these families?"

An organization working in India to combat bonded labor is Free the Slaves. Find out more from their site about freeing a village, how it works and how you can get involved.

Topics: How to Help
March 9th, 2011
09:54 AM ET

Who are the human traffickers?

Human traffickers have many faces but no pity. CNN's Jim Clancy takes a look at the traffickers' tactics and motives.

Topics: The Traffickers
The challenges of counting a 'hidden population'
March 9th, 2011
07:41 AM ET

The challenges of counting a 'hidden population'

By Manav Tanneeru, CNN

Slavery still exists. Of that there isn’t much dispute, if any. But how widespread is what many experts call modern-day slavery?

Estimates range from about 10 million to 30 million, according to policymakers, activists, journalists and scholars.

The International Labour Organization, an agency of the United Nations that focuses on, among other things, labor rights, put the number at a “minimum estimate” of 12.3 million in a 2005 report.

Kevin Bales, a sociologist who serves as a consultant to the United Nations and has authored several books about modern-day slavery, estimated the number was 27 million people in his book “Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.” The book was published in 1999.

There is yet another estimate. Siddharth Kara, a fellow on trafficking at Harvard University and also an author, recently told CNN that his calculations put the range between 24 million and 32 million. That number was current as of the end of 2006, he said.

There are several reasons behind the variance in numbers, said Ben Skinner, who published a book about modern-day slavery – “A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-day Slavery.”

“There are two big problems with the count,” Skinner, a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, said during a telephone interview. “The first is that the people we are counting are, by definition, a hidden population.

“The second problem is more of a theoretical one where the definitions are not in place. We don’t have a common definition still as to what slavery is.”


Post by:
Topics: In The News • The Facts • The Number
March 8th, 2011
11:28 PM ET

Fear accompanies road to freedom

Uttar Pradesh, India - Ten police officers barreled down the road, some on motorcycles, others in a jeep, their sirens left silent so as not to alert anyone. Their mission: to rescue workers from bonded labor, or debt slavery, in India.

But when they arrived at the carpet factory, it was empty except for a man inside.

It appeared that the police were too late.

As the man was questioned, officers outside discovered five children and a disabled adult who had been ushered out the back of the factory. Someone had tipped off the owner, police said.

The police took the group to the sub-divisional magistrate office, where the children reluctantly told their stories.

"We start work at 6 a.m., end at 9 p.m. at night," the smallest said. In return for 15 hours of work, they received a food allowance of just two dollars per week. “My father is dead. So I am working.”


« older posts
newer posts »