May 26th, 2011
07:56 AM ET

South Korea school takes a stand

An entire high school in South Korea is taking a stand to end slavery.

It started when Elizabeth Pruitt, an English conversation teacher at Yeong Gwang Girls High School in Gunsan, South Korea, and her co-teacher assigned their class to make group presentations about a current event. They pulled up on a big screen to give them some project ideas.

One group of girls selected the topic of modern-day slavery right away.

"I think most of the students believed that human trafficking happened only in poor, developing nations. They seemed shocked to hear that it happens even in the U.S. (where I'm from)," Pruitt said. "I told them that we could make a video for the Freedom Project and they thought it was a fantastic idea."

Then she thought, "If we’re going to do it, why not get everyone involved – all the students?"

The school is known for encouraging its 826 students to give back to the community, and Pruitt felt the issue of modern-day slavery was particularly relevant "for these students, since they are all young women, and so many of the victims of modern-day slavery are women and children."

She approached school officials with her idea. They not only gave their blessing, they had a banner made for the video and "ALL of the school's students participated," Pruitt wrote in her iReport. They recorded the video on Tuesday.

Most of the public may be unaware of the modern-day slavery crisis, but the students of Yeong Gwang Girls High School are proof that people around the world can make a difference, however small, in raising awareness about the problem.

Have you taken a stand to end slavery? Join the dozens of other CNN iReporters who have taken the pledge.

soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. terry

    Is this really news worthy? Really?

    May 26, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • Brian

      It's not news, it's an iReport. Somebody wanted to share this with the world, not thinking that it would get any exposure at all. These are young people that want to bring more attention to the issue, and this report is a part of the ongoing series on slavery that CNN has been doing. Save your trolling Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.

      May 26, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
      • terry

        huh, i guess i should have known that beforehand. I guess that was disrespectful....:P

        May 31, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • Nola

      It is indeed news worthy!

      May 30, 2011 at 2:55 am | Reply
  2. William B. Doyle

    Read the US annual report on this issue. These girls don't realize that their nation is also a source and stopping point. Just like the good ole USA.

    May 30, 2011 at 6:50 am | Reply
  3. S. Glickman

    CNN should tackle the slavery of women that are in bonds in the Middle East. Their religious servitude is a travesty of the rights of women and the origin from which this emanates, the Quran, the obscene tool of which so called “Holy Men” suppress women on a mass scale. That is the story that should be embarked upon.

    May 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Reply
  4. Chuck

    The school children might want to start by asking their government what all those Filipinas are doing in Korea.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
    • dean

      The filipinos in Korea are the Mexicans of Korea. They do the dirty work the Koreans dont or won.t do. Simple

      May 30, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Reply
    • Kelly Frances

      There are plenty of illegal workers here, not just 'Filipinas', and Caucasian North Americans make up a huge portion of the illegal English teachers here. Frankly, many of the illegal workers serve a purpose-as another commenter pointed out. They do jobs no one wants, or people hate to admit they need.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Reply
  5. Tone

    It's good that the school children took a stand. The children may be blind to reality but the adults are not. Korea has been involved in sex industry for an extremely long time. Only difference now is the fact they don't exploit Korean women, they import the women from the Phillipines, Russia and Romania to work in the sex trade.

    May 31, 2011 at 5:21 am | Reply
  6. rebecca

    they don't value thier women anymore than the middle east does. alot of the familys sell thier daughters to the mamasans at the ripe old age of 12-13 . then the poor girl has to pay off her debt by working in a bar taking gis for thier money and or hoping for marriage to some american or gi that willing to pay the mamasan the debt the girl owes. boys matter because they carry on the name , they can work the business, farm etc. girls are worthless to them.

    May 31, 2011 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • istillcandream

      "they don't value thier [sic] women anymore than the middle east [sic] does"
      What are you trying to say? Who are you referring to by "they" and "them." This article is about students in /South Korea/. Girls are not "worthless to them". South Korea has been extremely successful at changing the cultural preference for boys (and has the healthy sex ratio to show for it). Then again, with all your talk of "mamasans" and complete ignorance of the economy, culture, history, and reality of South Korea (much less countries in Asia or the Middle East), you probably don't care.

      May 31, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • Kelly Frances

      Have you ever lived here? I agree that sexism is alive and well in Korea, but your generalization is absurd. The changing perception of women in Korea is one of the things that truly does impress me about this place-and I am a harsh critic and long time resident. The average girl's biggest problem is more likely to be 'too much studying and too much pressure to be successful', and while that may lead to her plastic surgery and little sleep, its not typical for girls to be sold as a child to a brothel for the sake of 'GI's. Hooker hill is hardly rampant with children.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm | Reply
  7. dj spanky

    They need only look north a few hundred kilometers to a country where hundreds of thousands of men, women and children are slowly wasting away in prison camps when they're not being beaten or gassed to death.

    May 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  8. Kelly Frances

    I think it's nice to see this on CNN. Nice job

    May 31, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Reply

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  10. phil

    korea is a MAJOR source of slavery.

    October 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Reply
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