February 12th, 2013
07:14 PM ET

Mozambique or Bust: How you can help

Editor’s note: Watch “Mozambique or Bust” on CNN international Friday, February 15 at 1630 GMT, Saturday Feb. 16 at 1400GMT and 2130 GMT, and repeats Sunday through Wednesday.

There are several ways you can help the people featured in the CNN Freedom Project documentary, Mozambique or Bust, narrated by Mira Sorvino, an Oscar-winning actress and goodwill ambassador to combat human trafficking for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime which tackles human trafficking. She says everyone can play a part in the fight against human trafficking.

There's more information at Free the Girls about the program that provides donated bras for sex trafficking survivors. The organization currently supports women in Mozambique, but plans to start programs in four other countries later this year.

If you are interested in Mozambique specifically, you can reach out to Project Purpose.

You can also learn more about Truckers Against Trafficking, a group educating drivers about human trafficking. On the TAT website, there's also a training video that shows drivers how to recognize victims on the road.

And there's more about Mira Sorvino’s work for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and the fight against human trafficking.

Students inspire MTV anti-slavery campaign
The Backstory campaign uses digital storytelling to take viewers inside the stories of labor and sex trafficking victims.
January 30th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Students inspire MTV anti-slavery campaign

MTV has launched a new interactive, anti-slavery campaign inspired by a winning entry in its “Against Our Will” project on the college network, mtvU.

The Backstory” contains a series of dance videos that show how women can be trafficked into prostitution and immigrants into forced labor.

Rapper Talib Kweli and dancers from Ailey II have joined the campaign which features choreography by Ailey II’s artistic director, Troy Powell, and music scored by Kenna.

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Trafficking survivor: It's time to help others
Ima Matul was trafficked to the U.S. Now she is helping other survivors.
January 17th, 2013
06:13 PM ET

Trafficking survivor: It's time to help others

Ima Matul, a survivor organizer with the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking (CAST)

You might not know that January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. You might not even know why we need such an awareness campaign, or that, right here in America, women, children and men are trafficked every day into forced labor or the sex industry.

More than likely, though, you do know that modern slavery exists, but do not know all of what it looks like or what you can do about it. As both a survivor of human trafficking and an advocate working to free and support others, I can tell you.

Some victims are American citizens, others hold valid visas, and some are undocumented immigrants. They are educated or illiterate, young or old, native English speakers or barely fluent. They are found in factories, farms, nursing homes, on the streets, or in your neighbor’s house. In other words, modern slavery fits no stereotype. FULL POST

December 6th, 2012
09:36 PM ET

Operation Hope: How you can help

We have had huge interest in the incredible story of Okkhoy, the seven-year-old boy from Bangladesh who was mutilated by a gang of men because he refused to beg for them - and his subsequent surgery and recovery in the U.S.

Many among our audience asked what they could do to help.

There is no formal helpline set up to assist the family. But Aram Kovach, the businessman who helped bring Okkhoy to the U.S., has launched a fundraising site called Donate and Help to finance trips for other children who need life-changing medical treatment.

The wider issue behind Okkhoy's story is how to eradicate the practice of forced begging. Among the organizations involved in this work in Bangladesh and elsewhere are Save the Children and UNICEF.

You can also donate to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where Okkhoy had his surgery.

Thank you to everyone for your comments and interest in Okkhoy.

Topics: How to Help
Helping to take a stand in the Sinai
September 20th, 2012
01:44 PM ET

Helping to take a stand in the Sinai

In the Sinai Desert a handful of groups is fighting ruthless people-traffickers who prey on desperate migrants trying to reach Israel from war-ravaged and poverty-stricken parts of Africa.

Many of them also live in an unwired world such as the Bedouins who operate a safe house and have persuaded others not to allow the traffickers to shop at their stores – a kind of localized sanctions.

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Opinion: Anti-slavery law needs saving
August 31st, 2012
09:54 AM ET

Opinion: Anti-slavery law needs saving

Editor's note: Jesse Eaves works as the senior policy adviser for child protection with World Vision, an international Christian humanitarian organization working in nearly 100 countries around the world. Mary C. Ellison currently serves as the director of policy for Polaris Project, a leading organization in the United States combating all forms of human trafficking and serving both U.S. citizens and foreign national victims, including men, women, and children. Together they are calling on U.S voters to make sure their senators pass a key anti-slavery bill.

With the upcoming elections, you can’t turn on the television without seeing a negative campaign ad or heated news segment giving Americans a glimpse of the political divisions that currently exist in our country.

While politicians argue over our future government, we lose sight of how the actions of our current government are impacting the lives of real people right now, like the millions of enslaved men, women and children in the U.S. and around the world at risk if Congress fails to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act by the end of the year.

FULL POST

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Topics: Government • How to Help • In The News • Uncategorized
June 20th, 2012
05:44 PM ET

Swedish queen battles child sex exploitation

Most royals don't speak openly about subjects like sex-trafficking, much less child sex-trafficking, but for Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden it’s a cause that needs shouting from the rooftops.

The global problem of child exploitation has long been her passion.

The mother of three set up the World Childhood Foundation 13 years ago, which has since given nearly $70 million dollars to more than 600 projects fighting child abuse and sexual exploitation in 16 countries.

Financial grants range from a few thousand to as much as a million dollars – a big deal for anti-trafficking groups on the front-lines in the fight against modern slavery.

CNN had a rare opportunity to sit down with Queen Silvia and learn more about her mission.

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Topics: How to Help • Uncategorized
May 17th, 2012
05:47 PM ET

Freedom Project iReporters nominated

Two Freedom Project iReport videos have been nominated for the annual iReport awards.

South Korean teacher Sunny Yang pledged to "Take a stand against slavery" as part of CNN's Freedom Project and vowed to get her students involved in the cause.

She used a stop-motion drawing to show the difference that we can make in the lives of people living in slavery.

And iReporter Renee Hong created this video to draw attention to the problem of human trafficking. The video uses stop-motion photography and statistics to educate viewers in an entertaining way.

Check out all the iReport nominees here including the Freedom Project stories in the compelling images category

Topics: How to Help • iReport • Uncategorized
Commentary: Urge U.S. Congress to action via your tweets
Ruse spent three years in a Cambodian brothel before being rescued.
April 23rd, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Commentary: Urge U.S. Congress to action via your tweets

Editor's note: Richard Stearns is the author of “The Hole in Our Gospel” and president of the U.S. office of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Follow Stearns on Twitter @RichStearns. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard Stearns.

By Richard Stearns, special to CNN

This February, I visited Cambodia, where my heart was broken by the evils of the sex trade in that country. Too often there is an acceptance of prostitution that leads to a male culture that believes sex with virgins improves health has created an epidemic of young girls and boys trafficked into the cities. Roughly 30,000 young women and men in that country (some estimates are as high as 100,000) are trapped in slavery. When imprisoned in the brothels, these young women and men serve roughly 700 people every year.

I interviewed a young woman named Ruse (not her real name) who had spent three years in a Cambodian brothel before being rescued and sent to World Vision’s Trauma Recovery Center in Phnom Penh.

Ruse’s story was heartbreaking. Her family was extremely poor, and when she was just 13, her mother became very ill and needed medical attention. Her father had left, and she had two smaller siblings as well. The family desperately needed money. Ruse told me, “My virginity was the most valuable possession my family had.” FULL POST

Topics: Government • How to Help
April 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Baseball strikeouts help free child slaves

By Ryan Cooper, CNN

(Jupiter, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona) - A growing number of Major League Baseball players are coming together to make every pitch, home run and strikeout count in the fight against child trafficking.

The players are pledging to donate money for each of their on-field achievements this season to the Free 2 Play campaign, a platform for the California-based Not For Sale non-profit group.

"A lot of Americans are shocked to hear that there are 30 million people living in slavery today, and [many] of those are children," Dave Batstone, Not For Sale's co-founder, said. "So we decided to create a program that not just releases a child from slavery, but provides them a new future."

Jeremy Affeldt, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, has been one of the most vocal athletes raising money and awareness for Not For Sale. Last season, he pledged $250 for every strikeout he pitched.

FULL POST

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Topics: How to Help • In The News • Uncategorized
How to help end slavery in Mauritania
March 17th, 2012
10:15 PM ET

How to help end slavery in Mauritania

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - After reading CNN’s special report on Mauritania, “Slavery’s Last Stronghold,” it may seem like little can be done to end slavery in this West African country, where an estimated 10% to 20% of people are enslaved.

That’s far from true, however. You can be part of the solution. Here’s how:

Donate to a worthy cause

Anti-Slavery International has set up a special donations page for a training center for escaped slaves in Mauritania’s capital, which is run by SOS Slaves. The school, which is featured in the CNN project, teaches about 30 women to sew, cook, braid hair and dye fabric. The hope is that these escaped slaves and their children one day will open their own businesses. FULL POST

Ways to help: Making a difference
February 23rd, 2012
06:55 PM ET

Ways to help: Making a difference

The most valuable weapon in the fight against human trafficking may be you.

CNN is celebrating the work of ordinary people inspired to do something, to take action; to stand up against slavery.

People from West Africa, South America, Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, have all joined the fight.

Watch the "Taking a Stand, Making a Difference" show here in three parts. In the first segment, viewers horrified by our expose of working conditions for people cocoa farming in West Africa campaign for more Fair Trade products.

FULL POST

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Topics: How to Help
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