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Human Trafficking; Plane Rips Apart; The Story of a Child Slave

Aired November 4, 2010 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: I'm Becky Anderson at the United Nations, where we are on the trail of human trafficking. It doesn't matter where you're watching in the world right now, chances are your country is either a source, a transit point or a destination for victims of this despicable trade, like these women smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico.

It's a story that goes...

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: There at the United Nations, Becky will be joining us in just a moment.

People from across the world are trying to stamp out human trafficking for good. She's looking at that for you. It's applied to children like these in Bangladesh, forced to work as shrimpers. We brought you their story a few weeks ago as we followed an expert on trafficking around South Asia. Tonight, we talk with the executive director of the UN's Office on Drugs on Crime about what can be done to help them.

We'll also hear from this woman, sold into slavery when she was only seven years old and now working to help other survivors.

Also working on behalf of traf -- trafficking victims, one of Hollywood's most talked about couples, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. They are taking your questions as our Connectors of the Day -- A-Listers, indeed.

I'm Max Foster in London with other big stories also resonating around the globe, including drama on board one of the world's most advanced aircraft, as an engine failed mid-air.

So is this super jumbo safe to fly -- Becky?

ANDERSON: Welcome back to New York.

I'm Becky Anderson here outside U.N. headquarters in New York City. It's one of the world's biggest illegal industries and yet the faces of its victims are often invisible, even though they may be enslaved right in your backyard.

So we begin today with a new U.N. initiative. It's an effort to stop human trafficking in all of its forms. It's estimated that right now, nearly two-and-a-half million people throughout the world are in forced labor through trafficking. Women and girls account for about 80 percent of the known victims. The sex industry is by far where they most often end up. Greed fuels this terrible trade. The U.N. estimates the total market value of illicit human trafficking is $32 billion.

Well, I'm shortly going to be joined by the head of the UN's Office on Drugs and Crime. They call trafficking shameful. Our guest this evening is the group's executive director, Yuri Fedotov, and he is here with me to talk about it now.

Sir, please join me here outside U.N. Center.

Why is it that this illegal trade is so big in 2010, when the UN's Declaration on Human Rights said that no one will be enslaved, no one will work in servitude?

YURI FEDOTOV, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE ON DRUGS AND CRIME: We have to remember that exactly 10 years ago, when the Palermo (ph) Convention against international organized crime and the protocol against human trafficking were adopted, that before that, such events as human trafficking was mostly ignored, very unfortunately.

And since then, it developed at a huge proportion. Now, it's a well organized international criminal business which involves many countries, many dealers and it's a multi-billion business.

ANDERSON: We've been committed to this story here on CONNECT THE WORLD and we will continue our commitment into 2011. Recently, I've been speaking to a researcher at -- at Harvard University who is on the trail of human trafficking.

Have a listen to just part of my conversation with Siddharth Kara. He was traveling in South Asia. And this is what he found in Nepal.


SIDDARTH KARA, HUMAN TRAFFICKING EXPERT: I first started my research into sex trafficking here five years ago. And the scene is basically like this. There's hundreds of dance bars and massage parlors in the tourist area of Pamel (ph) that sell sex with very young Nepalese girls, many of whom are trafficked from surrounding rural areas, exploited in these venues for coerced commercial sex and then subsequently trafficked to India, to brothels in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, etc.

FOSTER: You say they're coerced.

What's happened there then?

Who's been coercing these young girls?

KARA: Well, basically the traffickers promise, you know, opportunity to dance or work in a restaurant. And then once they get to the bars, they're coerced to transact for commercial sex with clients. Men come in, listen to the music, sit at tables and the women are coerced through threats against them, beatings and then threats against their family back in the rural areas, because, of course, the traffickers know where they're from.

I traveled down to Southwest Bangladesh, near the Sinder Baum (ph) mangrove, where the baby shrimp are collected in various rivers there. And I've sent you a few photographs of hundreds and hundreds of wooden boats out in the river on a rainy day. And roughly, let's say, seven out of 10 that I counted were manned by young children.

ANDERSON: How do you know those aren't children working with their parents' permission?

KARA: Well, I would actually say, in most cases, they are probab -- they probably are working with the knowledge of their parents, out of dire need and necessity. That work that they're doing is intended to meet their immediate needs for food and shelter.

The region is literally scattered with thousands and thousands of little hidden carpet looms that are inside huts. And I sent you a photo of one of these random huts in a village inside which -- in the next photo -- you see three teenagers in dark, cramped quarters weaving a giant carpet.

ANDERSON: You say they've been trafficked.

What is the evidence?

KARA: Well, I've actually met my second trafficker of children in this region just a couple of days ago. And he explained in fairly candid terms. He's been doing this for 11 years. He's trafficked roughly -- well, he doesn't use the word trafficking, but he's trafficked basically 400 children, boys and girls, girls typically to brothels and boys to carpet looms. There's a very formalized system set up. Parents will often approach him looking for some opportunity for their child. He will take the child to Varanasi (ph) and hand it off to an agent. That agent will purchase the boy for $90 to $100, the young girl for $150 or more. The boys all get sent to carpet looms. And he gives 20 percent of the price he's paid back to the parents.


ANDERSON: Siddharth Kara speaking to me over the past couple of months.

I'm still joined by Yuri Fedotov, who is the head of the UN's Office of Drugs and Crime, charged with dealing with -- with trying to deal with much of what is going on with this industry around the world.

Let's remind our viewers, worth some $32 billion, second only to the illegal trade in drugs and arms.

How will the trust fund that the U.N. launched today help the victims out?

FEDOTOV: I hope it will. A federal trust fund is a part of the global plan of action, which was adopted in the U.N. this summer. And that is a very important initiative, which would involve all the strata of the society -- I mean, governments, the international organizations, but also civil society, that would help the victims of human trafficking. And we want to focus exactly on providing assistance and support for the victims of human trafficking.

ANDERSON: All right. I'm going to point out to our viewers, I think we just lost our -- we lost our lights. But I'm hoping you can see me.

This is a story that, as I say, we're committed to, whether the lights are on or not. Let's keep going for the time being.

Who are you looking for, sir, for donations?

And how much are you looking for, at this point?

FEDOTOV: So far, we've been able to -- it's the first day of the launch. We were able to generate a couple million dollars, which is very...

ANDERSON: That's not much...


ANDERSON: That's not much.

FEDOTOV: Oh, come on. If we can do it every day, so we could have a -- quite an impressive amount of money by the end of the year.

ANDERSON: All right. OK, you're looking for donations from governments and from corporate players, for example.

Let's talk about the governments who've got themselves involved, because this is a story or this is an issue that is not just important in the developing world, it's -- it's all over the world, isn't it?

So what -- who -- who's getting it -- who's donating at this point?

Which governments are we talking about?

FEDOTOV: So far today, the governments of Qatar, Luxembourg, Thailand and Malaysia pledged their donations. You see all areas, geographic areas, south and north are represented in this group of donors. Also, we have a donation from -- from a corporate sector, as well.

So that is a good set for -- for the future.

ANDERSON: OK. We're going to leave it there for the time being.

I want to get back to my colleague in New York.

We'll try and work out what's going on technically here outside the U.N. Center.

But for the time being, Yuri Fedotov, we thank you very much, indeed.

FEDOTOV: Thank you.

ANDERSON: Back with us after a very short break.

But for the time being, Max, back to you.

FOSTER: Becky, our next stop here on CONNECT THE WORLD is Singapore, where a terrifying mid-air incident has prompted two major airlines to halt flights of the largest passenger plane in the world.



Well, it is the world's largest and latest passenger jet and the airline that's never had a fatal crash. But think, Qantas is taking no chances, keeping its entire fleet of Boeing or Airbus A380s grounded after parts of an engine cover sheered off mid-air on a flight to Australia.

Zain Verjee has been following the story from Singapore, where the plane landed after the incident.


ZANE VERJEE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR (voice-over): It's every passenger's worst nightmare -- a loud bang on a plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do apologize. I'm sure you are aware we have a technical issue with our number two engine.

VERJEE: It happened six minutes into Qantas Airways' Flight QF32, as 466 passengers and crew held their breath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to have to hold for some time whilst we do lighten our load by dumping some fuel.

VERJEE: The flight was heading from Singapore to Australia when trouble hit. As the debris from the engine rained down, witnesses snapped these iReports. The pilot flew back. Passengers arriving at Singapore Airport still shocked by their experience.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A large bang and the plane dropped its speed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it was a calm of atmosphere on the plane, I though the crew the flight attendants did very well and I couldn't be happier. We're all still here. But that's the main thing.

VERJEE: Another passenger told CNN: "It was as if lightning struck."

Qantas is grounding its entire Airbus A380 fleet -- six aircraft -- indefinitely.

ALAN JOYCE, QANTAS CEO: I'm not sure of what's actually happened with the debris. And the PARTA (ph) is looking at exactly what did occur on this and why parts of the engine helm (ph), which it looks like, left the aircraft and fell.

VERJEE: Investigators, led by those from Australia, are looking for clues in the engine's wreckage.

(on camera): Singapore Airlines has held its flights so that it can check out all its engines on its own A380s. There will be delays, but passengers here get the seriousness of the situation and they say they're willing to take it in stride.

Zain Verjee, CNN, Singapore.


FOSTER: Well, the A380 attracted huge attention right from its inception, not only for its sheer scale, but also because it represented a gamble by Airbus that carriers would go for bigger and bigger jets.

Let's take a look at how many are operating around the world.

Well, Air France has four A380s in service, with eight more on order.

The German airline, Lufthansa, has three jets in service and 12 on order.

Emirates in the UAE is the biggest operator. It has 13 in service and has ordered 77 more.

Singapore Airlines flies 11 A380s and is waiting on eight more.

Australia's Qantas operates six A380s and has eight more of those planes on order.

There are also 12 other airlines around the world with orders in, including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Korean Air.

So we've currently got half the world's operational fleet of super jumbos out of operation and under investigation.

Should we be expecting more to be added?

I asked CNN's aviation guru, Richard Quest.


RICHARD QUEST, HOST, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: The one thing to remember is only those Airbus and airlines that use the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines, which was on the -- this particular A380, are affected. So that's Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa.

The other two careers, Emirates and Air France, they use G.E. Engine Alliance GP-700s. So that's -- that's a technical point, but it's really quite important.

Now, Qantas has grounded its fleet. Singapore Airlines is doing precautionary checks on its engines at the instructions of the manufacturers, Airbus and Rolls Royce. And Lufthansa will be also checking their engines.

FOSTER: OK, inevitably, the A380, as a complete plane, comes under question. There have been no fatalities involving the A380. It's a relatively new plane. But several planes have been grounded in recent times because of problems.

Let's go through them. In April of this year, a Qantas Airbus A380 blew two tires, landing in Sydney, showering sparks and scaring passengers.

Reportedly, in November last year, an Air France flight was forced to turn around and land in New York after problems with its navigation system.

In September of 2009, a Singapore Airlines A380 was forced to turn around in mid-flight and head back to Paris after one of its four engines failed.

What worries people is that so many people travel on these planes.

Are they safe?

QUEST: You have come up with a list of completely unconnected -- putting it bluntly -- rather irrelevant incidents.

FOSTER: They all made headlines.

QUEST: They are...

FOSTER: The A380 is in the headlines.

QUEST: -- they made headlines because it's the A380. It's one of the most complicated planes in the world. New planes have problems. The 777 had it. The 747 had it. It's inherent. When you have a new plane, there are these teething problems.

And that's why some airlines, for example, I always remember Rod Eddington (ph) of British Airways, Sir Rod telling me he would never buy a new plane again or a new model of a plane, because it has so many teething problems.

This is different. This was actually a failure on -- on board the aircraft -- an uncontained engine failure. Something happened in the front part of that engine that led to explosive force ripping off the rear cowling, sending debris up through the wing, which is where the fuel tanks are and which is where the hydraulic lines are.

Now, anybody tonight that likes to say, well, pilots are trained to deal with these things, they are. These things happen and it was -- it could have been a lot worse, it could have been. But this is still a very serious incident and one the airline has to take seriously.

FOSTER: Is the plane safe?

QUEST: Is the plane safe?



FOSTER: Coming up, we'll continue our special focus on human trafficking and what the world is doing to stamp it out.

Becky is live at the United Nations.

ANDERSON: Thanks, Max.

We're going to, after the break, meet a woman whose childhood was stolen at the age of seven, sold into slavery. She eventually managed to regain a normal life. She is dedicated now to helping others.

Rani Hong's remarkable story is just ahead.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from here, outside of U.N. headquarters.

We are on the trail of human trafficking for you this evening.

For many trafficking victims, sharing their stories is simply too painful. But for one victim, she decided that by sharing her story, she would provide a voice for others.

Here is Rani Hong's remarkable story.


RANI HONG, ACTIVIST AGAINST CHILD SLAVERY: I was living in Southern India. And at the age of seven, a friend of -- of the village came and asked my mother and said, can I please help you?

And just allowed my -- and she chose me to come down the street. She was promising oh, good, you know, food. I'll give her education. I will give her -- take care of her. And I'll give her the best of life. She -- actually what she was doing, undercover, recruiting children and selling them into slavery. She sold me into slavery at the age of seven.

They actually sold me across the state border, where I didn't know the language, that I couldn't ask for help. And I was absolutely vulnerable.

In order to get control, they break the will of the child, by beating, by torture, by starvation. This man, my owner, Paul (ph), said he was selling children to be maids. He was selling children to be working in factories. And then he was selling children to adoptions.

I felt all alone. I felt like nobody in the world cared about me but that I couldn't ask for help. My owner, Paul, actually sold me to -- into the United States through adoption.

I was adopted by my mother, Nell (ph). And she was the most wonderful woman. You know, after time, you know, I was so shut down. She was so shocked in who she got, because it wasn't the child that she expected.

I was very much traumatized when I first came in, but through time, again, it was just her love and care. And for somebody to treat me with respect and treat me with dignity, she brought healing to my life.

See, my identity was stolen from the trafficking. But in 1999, I went back to India and just miraculously, through several events, I found my birth mother.

My birth mother did not know. She did not know what happened. She -- she knew that I was taken from her, that I was stolen and sent off. And she had no idea. And for 21 years, she was searching for me.

Look at the photo of myself near about the age of eight and it looks like I was just so shut down. And when I look at that, it just makes me want to just cry. And when I look at that I cry a lot, because no child should be looking like that. No child should be treated in -- tortured and abused. And no child should be sold into slavery.

So when I look at that picture, it brings up emotion, it brings up anger, as well.

But how do I go -- how do I overcome that?

And that's when I knew, in 1999, I had to become an advocate. I had to be a voice for the voiceless.

I was in high school and I met my -- I met my husband through a blind date.

TRONG HONG, RANI'S HUSBAND: I was living in Vietnam. I was going to be turned into a child soldier. And the Vietcong, at the time, were recruiting all the children into the military to train and to fight and to kill.

My dad was aware of the situation. So he borrowed money and took all the money from the home and he put me on the boat and shipped out. So I escaped from Vietnam.

R. HONG: And together now, as my birth family, we are together and we talk about it. And now we're talking about steps for prevention -- how do we prevent this from happening to another mother and another child?


ANDERSON: Well, Rani Hong says that one common thread that runs through almost every human trafficking story is poverty.

She joins me now to explain just what she means by that.

And before we get on to that, if you had one message for our viewers tonight, what would it be?

R. HONG: I would ask your viewers to support victims of human trafficking, because we have gone through a lot, as you just saw. But not -- many victims don't have their voices heard. And so I ask your audience to join us with legislatures, with the governments, with the media, universities, all walks of life, to join us to -- to get a global awareness leadership campaign against slavery.

ANDERSON: Yes, we've seen the launch today of the U.N. trust fund. We're talking about millions of dollars, trying to help victims out of an industry which is worth billions of dollars, second only to drugs and arms.

This is huge, isn't it?

R. HONG: Absolutely. We know today there are an estimated 27 million slaves around the world. That is a huge number. So then we've got to look at we need to restore these victims -- myself. And this fund today, we know it takes thousands of dollars to restore an individual from torture and abuse.

ANDERSON: why are we looking at a fund for victims when what we should be doing, surely, is looking to destabilize and disrupt the organizations, the syndicated criminal organizations that run this industry.

What -- why is it important to get to the victims first, as it were?

R. HONG: The reason we need to be the voice of the victims is because we have nobody on our side. The traffickers, the criminal industry, the organized crime have millions of people behind them.

What do we, as victims and survivors have?

We don't have very many. But today, we're -- we're asking again. The United Nations has come together with this fund because they are now saying we are partners of the victims. And we're going to turn victims into leadership. We want a -- we know victims can be leaders.

And today, my foundation that my husband and I have started, we are committed to end -- for a world free of slavery.

ANDERSON: Would you explain just how money from government and corporate sponsor, NGOs and the like, how it will physically help victims out?

I mean take me back to your own story.

R. HONG: Absolutely. See, when I was a child, I didn't have anybody give -- help me. I didn't have a home. I didn't have water. I didn't have food. That's what the -- the slave owners kept away from me. But today, we -- with this fund, if corporations, governments and if all would contribute and give money generously to my foundation and to others who are working on this, this will help restore the victims back to society. We need funds to support. We have -- it takes many forces to be able to do advocacy campaigns. My goal at my foundation is to do a global awareness on this issue of human trafficking, because it takes a global effort.

ANDERSON: We've heard your story. Talk me through some others, those that you've helped out.

R. HONG: Absolutely. I, today, I am standing in the shoes of survivors, because they can't be here today. I know I want to be a voice for the voiceless children. And today, I want to partner, again, to give the -- I work with survivors, internationally and domestically. I hear their stories. I hear their pain, saying we need help.

So today, as an advocate and as a leader in this movement, I want to be able to give back to them to give them education, to give them the restoration that we as humans all need.

ANDERSON: Can you describe just how your organization has helped women and children who've been victims of this despicable industry?

Just tell me some stories, if you will.

R. HONG: Absolutely. I remember just right here in the United States, I -- I heard a victim come through from Japan to Colombia to right here into the East Coast. And when I heard this -- and they were shipped. They were shipped by truck into Washington State. And when I heard that story and I met with this victim, it was devastating to hear everything that she had gone through -- trafficked, transported.

We know slavery is force, fraud and coercion. Those, I think, are what crushes the victims.

So today, when I work with victims, I -- many of them, I've listened to many victims around the world and I see their number one need is resources to get them out of their hellish situation.

ANDERSON: Rani Hong, we appreciate you joining us this evening.

We wish you the absolute best of luck, because, as I say, this is a story that we are committed to telling, as we move into the new year.

We thank you very much, indeed.

And if you're not convinced by what you've just heard, stick around. In about 15 minutes time, you're going to hear from Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. They are ambassadors for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which is charged with thwarting this problem. You're going to hear from them in about 20 minutes' time here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

This is a special edition of the show.

Back after this.


FOSTER: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Max Foster in London. Coming up, Barack Obama was ranked the most powerful man in the world, but the new "Forbes" list is out. We'll tell you who's on top now.

Then we return to our human trafficking special and talk with two Hollywood stars fighting for the victims.

And happy no more as a big seller for McDonald's faces the chop in San Francisco. We'll tell you what's behind the Happy Meal ban.

All those stories ahead in the show for you. First, let's check the headlines this hour.

In Mumbai, India, the all-clear was given after bomb squads inspected the cargo from a Delta Airlines flight. It had landed at Mumbai airport under what was described as emergency conditions. A suspicious object has been -- had been spotted in the cargo hold.

Qantas has grounded its fleets of Airbus A380s after an inflight scare on Thursday. One of its Airbus jumbo jets was taking off from Singapore when an engine shut down with a bang just six minutes after takeoff. The Airbus turned around and landed safely.

Winds are already increasing on Haiti as Tropical Storm Tomas approaches. Anywhere from 12 to 25 centimeters of rain are expected to accompany swirling winds as the system crosses Haiti. About one million people are still homeless following January's earthquake.

Police flock to one of the busiest streets in Athens today as a Greek bomb squad looked into a suspicious package outside a bank. The squads destroyed it, but later said it wasn't a bomb. Earlier, another parcel that did contain a bomb was found and destroyed.

Who is the most powerful person in the world? That's not a question, but actually the answer, at least according to "Forbes." The influential magazine has just published its definitive list and, as Stan Grant explains, the Chinese president is reported to be the mightiest of all.


STAN GRANT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After taking, in his words, a "shellacking" at the midterm elections, President Obama has now lost his ranking as the world's most powerful person, at least according to the influential "Forbes" magazine.

He's been usurped by China's president, Hu Jintao. According to the magazine's publisher, billionaire Steve Forbes, Hu exercises near dictatorial control over the world's largest population. He can divert rivers, he can build cities, he can jail dissidents, he can censor the internet.

As for President Obama, "Forbes" says this is quite a comedown for the man who last year ranked at number one. After losing control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, "Forbes" says Obama will struggle to implement his agenda.

Now, Hu's elevation comes at a very sensitive time in relations between China and the United States. A lot of concern about the trade imbalance and the fact that China holds $1.5 trillion in US currency reserves.

GRANT (on camera): For Hu, he has his own issues. Here in Chongqing, considered the world's largest city, with a greater population of more than 30 million people, despite double-digit growth for some years, the average income is still only $3,500 a year. And, of course, there is this growing gap between rich and poor in China.

"Forbes" says, though, that Obama can take some solace from the fact that he is still the leader of the world's biggest economy and the world's deadliest military. Hu Jintao not only tops Obama, but also Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin and the pope. Stan Grant, CNN, Chongqing, China.


FOSTER: Hu's rise to the top of the list reflects China's growing power, of course. It's investing billions of dollars in countries around the world, increasingly buying up major stakes in foreign infrastructure. China is the largest investor in Africa, with mining interests in countries including Zambia, Gabon, and Sudan.

Australia has been an important provider of China's growing demand for natural resources. Chinese investors are also buying up in South America, pouring billions into mining in Brazil, Argentina, and Peru.

Increasingly, European infrastructure is getting a Chinese stamp as well, including Greece and Italy. And China is also pumping millions into Afghanistan, buying up stakes in mining and railways.

For more on China's growing influence in the world, let's bring in one of our regular panelists. He is author Gordon Chang. He joins me now from New York. Gordon, thank you so much for joining us. What do you reckon about this rise to the top of the list? Is it legitimate, do you think?

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR, "THE COMING COLLAPSE OF CHINA": I don't think so. It's no doubt that China's Communist Party is extremely powerful. But we've got to remember, it has 78 million members, a collective decision- making process, and a lot of factions. And those factions have to be humored, listened to, and bargained with, which means that no one person has that much sway within the Chinese political system.

And you can see this whenever they have a crisis in China, because the government looks like it goes like a deer in the headlights. The problem is that they've got to wait until everybody comes on board, which shows that it's the collective, it's not just the person. So I don't agree with the "Forbes" ranking.

FOSTER: OK. It does, however, reflect Chinese might, doesn't it? We have several Chinese significant people in that "Forbes" list now. They're getting higher and higher up the list. How are they using that power, would you say?

CHANG: We can see that with the ban on rare earth exports to Japan, Europe, and the United States. And what they are is they're retaliating against countries they don't like. So, it's becoming -- they're trying to use their economic advantages as geopolitical tools. And this, of course, is worrying people around the world.

Yes, China is much more powerful than it's been in the past, but we've got to also remember that authoritarian states always look very, very strong from the outside, whether they are or not.

FOSTER: Let's put some figures on what you just implied there. The University of Gottingen did some research into this. They found that countries whose top leadership meet with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, lose on average 8.1 percent of exports to China in the two years following the meeting. That's really interesting, isn't it? Just by -- explain to us why that reflects Chinese power and how they're using it.

CHANG: I think that it reflects Chinese power in the sense that Chinese leaders have the willingness to use all of the tools at their disposal. And, of course, they have a lot of tools which they can use. The system permits them to do that as a collective.

That's why we see this. And that's why we saw the rare earth ban. And these are important things, because we have to start thinking about China not just as an economic player, but also how they're using their economics to achieve their geopolitical goals.

FOSTER: And if we bring that back to Hu, would it be him deciding things like this, or is this something within China that's operating, in which case, affecting his power.

CHANG: Well, clearly Hu will be onboard with most of these decisions. But it's not his decision to make. There's a lot of people in the Chinese system that he's got to talk to. There are eight other people on the politburo standing committee, there's a central committee of about 300 people, there's a politburo of about 25 people. All of these need to be consulted in one way or another, and so there is a consensus that drives the Chinese system. It's not just that one person.

As powerful as he may be at the top of the system, he just doesn't exert as much sway as other people do. For instance, as Barack Obama does within the American political system.

FOSTER: Gordon Chang, thank you very much, indeed. Questioning that "Forbes" list. It's a hot debate right now.

We have a special show for you tonight. Of course, we're coming to you from London, but also from New York. Becky is at the United Nations as we dedicate much of this hour to the fight against human trafficking. Becky?

BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: That's right, Max. I'm here for the launch of a fund from the United Nations, which is to help victims of human trafficking. Human slavery, let's call it that. Modern-day slavery. And it's a fund with some star power behind it. Next up, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher join me as your Connectors of the Day. Find out how this Hollywood couple is making a difference.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from New York City, just outside UN Headquarters. I'm Becky Anderson for you, now.

Modern slavery is a scourge that this show is committed to exposing, and we are not alone. Let's get you connected with two famous faces who are determined to make a change.


ANDERSON (voice-over): They're one of Hollywood's golden couples, with a love story that captured the world's attention. But today, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore are using their star power to send a message across. They're bringing attention to human trafficking around the globe. Their organization, the DNA Foundation, helps to rehabilitate child sex slaves and has teamed up with corporate giants such as Pepsi to spread the world.

They've traveled around the world to learn about the horrors of human trafficking firsthand. And today, they're working with the United Nations' office on drugs and crime to launch a fund for victims of trafficking. Using celebrity for good, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are your Connectors of the Day.


ANDERSON: They are. They are your Connectors of the Day, and I caught up with them a little earlier on and started by asking them a question from one of our viewers, and that is this, why they chose human trafficking as a cause. This is what they told me.


ASHTON KUTCHER, ACTOR/ACTIVIST: We're looking for a cause that we felt like we could be passionate about and actually make changes in the world with. And we were sitting at home one night and a program came on a late night news program, and it was about these five and six-year-old girls in Cambodia that were being sold in these brothels.

We looked at each other and we said, "We don't get to live in a world where this is happening and not do something about it." And so, we set out for a year to learn about the global epidemic of human trafficking, specifically child sex slavery. In January of this year, we launched our foundation to fight human trafficking.

ANDERSON: Lewis, a viewer, has written to us and asks why you decided to choose this cause.

DEMI MOORE, ACTRESS/ACTIVIST: I think having three daughters and really looking at them, and -- the average age of entry globally is 13 years old. And we started thinking, what 13-year-old, if you were to take a group and say, "Raise your hand," wants to be a prostitute. And I don't think you would get one.

So, we just started to frame the focus of the foundation to the child sex slavery, although our, I think, greater goal is to tackle the entire issue.

ANDERSON: Do you think the world is doing enough to combat this issue at present?

MOORE: I don't think there's enough awareness about it. It's --

KUTCHER: Well -- it's a bit of a dirty little secret, right?

MOORE: Yes, exactly.

KUTCHER: It was funny, I was speaking at an event in New York about human trafficking. I was talking about the numbers, that there are 20 --

MOORE: Seven --

KUTCHER: 27 million slaves in the world, and there are a million in the United States. And my friend was sitting at a table at this benefit, and some guy at the table was like, "Yeah, right. Where are the?"

The truth is, if you ask most people, they would say the same thing. But genuinely say, "Where are they?" I don't look at that man and see him as a cynic. I see him as average. You know, 80 percent of the johns that are with prostitute actually believe that they're choosing --

MOORE: That the women -- that the girls are choosing --

KUTCHER: This profession. And meanwhile, 75 percent of the girls in the commercial sex trade are being held by a pimp, and not choosing at all. They're slaves. And where are these slaves? They're working in our houses as domestic servants.

MOORE: And factories.

KUTCHER: They're working in our factories. They're contributing to the material inside your cell phone, they're doing commercial fishing, they're child soldiers fighting our wars for -- they're everywhere. And it's everywhere in our life, from the clothing that we wear to the food that we eat, to the entertainment that we watch. And nobody talks about it. Why? --


MOORE: So the question going back to --

KUTCHER: Because it provides convenience.

MOORE: I was going to just say that the thing we have to combat besides just general awareness is it's a fight against greed and convenience and comfort. And because it may appear invisible does not mean that it's not all around us.

And the one thing we've looked at over and over, and whether -- we're focused on sex slavery, whether it's debt bondage or slave labor, that this is not a disease that does not have a cure. And the reality is, we are the cure. And it's a change in our consciousness.

ANDERSON: Sally of Europe has written to us. She says, "What kind of tangible change or progress do you both want to see?" Ashton?

KUTCHER: I want to see a cultural shift in the way that men treat women globally. In the way that men understand women, in the way that men relate to prostitution. I'll say, when I was growing up, I was one of that 80 percent. I wasn't sleeping with prostitutes, but I certainly wasn't assuming that they were slaves. It's the oldest profession in the world.

But it's not a profession, it's slavery. By the way, 13 is the average age of entry. So, if you think about that --

MOORE: We've heard stories about them three, four --

KUTCHER: It's not sexy anymore. There's nothing sexy about it anymore. Pimps are slave owners, and I think changing that cultural understanding is -- I think that that's the tangible change that I'd like to see.

ANDERSON: Any particular stories that have really impacted you while you've been working on this?

MOORE: You know, one in particular was a young girl who's now 17 who, at the age of 11 in Los Angeles was taken from the streets with the promises of going shopping, various treats, food, the like. And more importantly, being convinced that she was loved and had a place of belonging and that she was special. And very quickly found that she was being placed under a mandate of delivering $1500 a night, and if she did not do that, she was put in a tub of ice, or beaten with whatever was handy.

For me, what was so impactful is looking at the fact that she's now 17 and it was only, like, a month prior that she had had an opportunity to get out. And -- what really hit me as I looked at this girl and felt more concern now, because there was really no place for her to go.

KUTCHER: Or the three-year-old girl that was --

MOORE: Oh, yes.

KUTCHER: Raped for profits so brutally --

MOORE: That her intestines --

KUTCHER: That when they found her, her intestines were on the outside. These are the kind of stories you hear, and it's horrifying. But the stories that I think have affected me the most are the stories about these girls who come out of this and do come to the other side and find a new life. And find a new passion.

These women who become welders and carpenters because they can work in a man's world and they're not afraid of it. These women who come out and become advocates and help other women out of that. For me, those are the stories that, when I hear those, I say, "Let me help someone achieve that."

MOORE: Which is incredible, yes.


ANDERSON: Some star power for you, there, with a Hollywood couple doing their bit to support victims of human trafficking. And, of course, your Connectors of the Day continue.

Tomorrow night, another famous face for you with a humanitarian spirit. Singer/songwriter John Legend joins us on the show. Send us in your questions, and do remember to tell us where you're writing in from. Head to Tonight, with this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD, we'll be right back.


FOSTER: Now, if it seems like those famous golden arches have lost some of their sheen, or Ronald McDonald isn't smiling as much, there may be a reason. San Francisco officials in California are moving to make the Happy Meal a little less happy. The city's board of supervisors have approved an ordinance that would ban toy giveaways in fast food children's meals, like the McDonald's Happy Meal.

Now, the exception would be if they meet certain nutritional standards having to do with calories, sodium, and fat levels. Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen takes a look at just what children are really getting with their toys.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it's one way to try to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity. Tell kids that if they want a high-fat, high-calorie Happy Meal, they can't get a toy. But if they want a healthier Happy Meal, then they can.

In San Francisco, that's the choice that kids will have once this new law goes into effect. And it's not just for McDonald's, it's for any fast food restaurant that gives out a toy with its meals.

Now, let's take a look at a meal where a child would not be able to get a toy. It's a McDonald's Happy Meal that has a cheeseburger, small fries, and a soda. That's 640 calories and 24 grams of fat. 640 calories, that's more than half the calories that a child is supposed to get in a day if they're about eight years old. Again, more than half the calories that an eight-year-old should get in a day, they're getting it in one meal.

McDonald's, of course, had a reaction to this new rule. They said that they're extremely disappointed. They say this is not what our customers want, and they say that it's the parents' right, not the government's right, to tell children what they can and cannot eat. Back to you.


FOSTER: Choosing what's good for a child, including what they eat, is every parent's right. So, when should the government be able to step in? Let's get more on this with Steve Siebold, he's the author of the aptly named, "Die Fat or Get Tough." He joins me from Tampa in Florida. Thank you so much for joining us.

There will be cities around the world looking at what San Francisco's doing. Do you think they would be right to copy them?

STEVE SIEBOLD, AUTHOR, "DIE FAT OR GET TOUGH": Absolutely not. It's the government's overreach into private business, and it's a slippery slope that's got to stop.

FOSTER: But the government has a responsibility to teach people and inform people about what's healthy and what's not, particular when children are involved.

SIEBOLD: I don't think that's the government's job. The government's job is to protect us and keep us safe. The job of the school system is to educate kids and parents and the rest of it. Not the government's job. This is a clear overreach into private business.

FOSTER: But they're not telling parents not to buy the meals, they're just making them a bit less tempting, aren't they? It's not a dictate, it's just fiddling with things.

SIEBOLD: Well, it's the beginning, that's the problem. So, what's next? Are we going to cancel Halloween? We've all gone out on Halloween and eaten too much candy, it's a tradition all over the world. Are they going to cancel Halloween now, they're going to tell us we can't do that, either? Where does it stop, Max. That's my problem with this.

FOSTER: But when does a meal stop being healthy?

SIEBOLD: I think it's the parents' responsibility. If a parent is taking a kid to McDonald's every night and eating 640 calorie meals, that's the parents, that's their responsibility, that's up to them. But it's not the government's job to parent their -- to parent children. It's the parents' job.

FOSTER: This does come into government planning more often than many people would realize. Britain's communications watchdog, for example, oft gone -- not part of the government, but a regulator, has banned junk food advertising around all children's programming aimed at under 16-year-olds. This is a similar sort of thing, isn't it? Do you disapprove of that as well?

SIEBOLD: We're missing the prob -- the solution to the problem, which is really mental toughness, which is discipline, which is putting down foods that are unhealthy and picking up foods that are healthy. And parents educating their kids on how to do this. That's really what's going to solve this whole obesity epidemic.

But we keep going around the issue. And the issue is just mental toughness and discipline. But people don't want to say that, because it's politically incorrect. That's why I wrote my book.

FOSTER: But in the British example, for example, aren't they just helping parents out a bit? The children see these adverts and they want the meals, or they want the junk food that they're seeing during their programs, and they're pestering their parents. Surely it's fine just to sort of avoid those adverts during those programs, isn't it? Help the parents out a bit?

SIEBOLD: Wouldn't we be better off going after the terrorists that are plaguing the world right now? Don't we have bigger problems than trying to teach parents how to do their job?

FOSTER: Is there no point at which government should get involved in these sort of decisions.

SIEBOLD: I don't think so. I don't think the government should be telling us or mandating how business do business or how we teach our children or how we run our lives. That's not what they're there for. Not in a free -- a free market.

FOSTER: If we go back to the San Francisco case, do you think it'll make any difference anyway, whether or not you take the toy out?

SIEBOLD: No, I don't think it's going to make -- kids are going to get what they want, they're going to convince their parents, if the parents are susceptible to that kind of coercion, and they're going to get it anyway. It's like drugs. The people are going to -- if they want it, they're going to find it. You might as well legalize.

FOSTER: Steve Siebold, thank you very much, indeed. It seems nothing polarizes parents as much as the Happy Meal.

You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD. We'll be back in just a moment with Becky live at the United Nations. She has some final thoughts on our human trafficking special today.


ANDERSON: Our special coverage of the effort to combat human trafficking is coming to a close for this evening, at least. But we are far from finished, let me tell you, with this story. Check out our website frequently for details. Over the coming weeks, we'll be bringing you special reports for the rest of the year and into next year right here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

And one final thought for you this evening. If you're struggling to get your head around the extent of human trafficking, or let's call it modern slavery, or failing to understand its significance, just think about this for one moment.

The same supply lines that are used to move people around the world are used to traffic arms and drugs. And the money from this multibillion- dollar industry is often used to finance some of the terror that we see around the world.

Drugs can't talk and arms can't talk, but people can. With a little bit of love and respect, these people could be the best asset that authorities have. They know who runs these syndicates, and they understand just how they work. They could help us all have a safer future. Just think about that as we leave you this evening.

That's it for this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD from outside UN Headquarters in New York City. For myself and Max, it's a very good evening. "BackStory" follows your headlines. Good-night.