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.
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
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.
After seeing Cocoa-nomics, the documentary about the chocolate industry's efforts to end slavery and child labor in its supply chains, Han de Groot, Executive Director of UTZ Certified, which promotes sustainable cocoa, coffee and tea, was prompted to write about his experiences working with farmers in Ivory Coast.
He says progress is being made. But there is much to do, especially alleviate crippling poverty and ensure that farmers get a greater slice of the industry's revenues. If not, he argues, chocolate will become an expensive niche product and communities which depend on cocoa will suffer further.Read Han de Groot's article in Confectionery News
By Gordon Brown, U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education
Editor's note: Gordon Brown is a United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education. He was formerly the UK's prime minister.
It is a descent into barbarism. This month’s plan by Iraqi parliamentarians to legalize girl marriage at nine follows the Pakistan Islamic Council’s demand last month that Pakistan abolish all legal restrictions on child marriage, the revelation that Syrian refugee girls are being sold into marriage against their will and the increased pressure in many African countries to ease the restrictions on selling child brides.
As one who has believed that worldwide disgust at child marriage would end it within our generation, I now find that progress has stalled. In the last few months Mauritania, at the center of allegations of girls’ genital mutilation to make possible the early marriage of eight and nine year olds, has resisted pressure to enforce a legal minimum age for marriage.
Attempts in Yemen to do so have also failed. Even Nigeria has been considering reducing the age of marriage.
In India, the rape of girls has brought millions on to the streets in protest and it has now been exposed as the country with 40% of the world's child brides.
The U.N. says one in nine girls is a bride by the age of 15 and that by 2020 142 million - or one in three girls in developing countries - will be married before they are 18. For example, in Afghanistan 60% are married before they turn 16 and in Niger 74% of girls are married by the age of 18.
Fortunately, the reluctance of governments to end abuses is being met with an even stronger movement from girls themselves.
For more than a year, a coalition of several non-profits working to end human slavery has been running a campaign to raise awareness about modern-day slavery all over the world.
It’s called the “End It Movement”.
CNN talks to Nate Buzolic about the movement and the significance of the red “X” symbol.
Don Brewster, a former pastor from California, is the founder and director of Agape International Missions, an organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating the victims of child trafficking in Cambodia and smashing the networks that exploit them. He moved to Cambodia with his wife in 2009 after a harrowing trip to the neighborhood and worked with CNN on the documentary 'Every Day in Cambodia'.
He has written a post on Agape's site in which he explains why he agreed to be a part of the documentary. He says: "We need more recruits ... in order for the truth to win out it must be spoken out."Read his blog post here
A report claiming to be the most comprehensive look at global slavery says 30 million people are living as slaves around the world.
The Global Slavery Index, published by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation, lists India as the country with by far the most slaves, with an estimated nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million) and Pakistan (2.1 million).
The top 10 countries on its list of shame accounted for more than three quarters of the 29.8 million people living in slavery, with Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh completing the list.FULL STORY
By Guy Ryder, Special for CNN
Editor’s Note: Guy Ryder is the Director-General of the International Labour Organization. This week it is launching The Work in Freedom program, an initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development which aims to help 100,000 women and girls from Bangladesh, India and Nepal who are in forced labor in countries including Lebanon, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and India.
Across the planet, about one in every seven of us lives in extreme poverty, having to survive on less than $1.25 a day. Every day, they and the millions more living just above the poverty line struggle to have enough to eat, and dream of a better life and of earning enough to provide for their families.
Geeta Devi was one of these people. The 32 year-old mother of two from Nepal had been struggling to support her children and, like millions before her, made the difficult decision to leave her family behind in search of better work. Geeta, whose real name is being withheld to protect her safety, left her home believing she had secured a job through a local recruitment agency to work in a hospital in Lebanon.
When she arrived in Beirut, the man who collected her at the airport told her that she would actually be employed as a domestic worker in his house.
Geeta had used her meager savings to travel abroad and now had no money to fly home. And so she was forced to accept the job. What followed was an all too familiar story of exploitation – no wages, physical and psychological abuse, loss of contact with family and restriction of movement. FULL POST
A woman identified as a Saudi Arabian princess has been accused of holding a domestic servant against her will at her condominium in Irvine, California.
Meshael Alayban, 42, faces one felony count of human trafficking. Court details released Thursday say Alayban is one of the wives of Saudi Prince Abdulrahman bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
By Roger-Claude Liwanga, Special for CNN
Editor’s note: Roger-Claude Liwanga is a human rights lawyer from the Congo and visiting scholar at Boston University. He worked for The Carter Center as a legal consultant, where he developed a training module to train Congolese judges and prosecutors on the protection of children against trafficking for economic exploitation in the mines. He is also the co-founder and executive director of Promote Congo, and is currently directing and producing a short documentary, “Children of the Mines,” which will be launched shortly in Boston. He writes in his personal capacity.
While the world was celebrating the International Day Against Child Labor on June 12, children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were hard at work in the country’s artisanal mines. Out of two million people working in the DRC’s artisanal mines, 40 percent of them are children.
Six months ago, I met a boy I will call Lukoji in the mine washing site of Dilala near the DRC’s Kolwezi city.
When I first saw him, the seven-year- old was sifting and washing heterogenite, an ore rich in cobalt and copper minerals. He told me: “I began working in the mines when I was five”. He works along with his two brothers who are 12 and 13 years old.
Lukoji only works in the afternoon because he goes to school in the morning. Unlike him, his siblings are school dropouts and work all day in the mine from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lukoji’s brothers abandoned school because their unemployed parents were unable to pay the school fees for all of Lukoji’s siblings.
Seventy-five percent of children surveyed in the DRC’s artisanal mines are dropouts. The DRC’s Constitution guarantees a free elementary education; but this constitutional provision is ineffective and there are almost no schools in many of the remote mining areas. FULL POST