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Modern-Day Slavery; Interview with Yury Fedotov; Freedom Project: Undercover; 30 Million Held in Slavery Worldwide; Outpouring of Support for Tortured Gadhafi Domestic Servant; Documentary Highlights Horrific Practices of Modern-Day Slavery; Experts Share How Public Can Help End Slavery; Viewers Take Stand; Director of Anti-Slavery International Calls for Better Law Enforcement Against Slavery

Aired October 26, 2011 - 16:00:00   ET


BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Welcome to a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Now, it's a multi-billion dollar business driven by ruthless greed, one that claims millions of victims worldwide, destroying lives and robbing innocent boys and girls of their childhood. We're talking about modern-day slavery, a problem that can no longer be ignored.

CNN is devoting an entire year to our Freedom Project, raising awareness and putting a face on the suffering so that one day, the despicable practice might be stopped.

Remember the heart-wrenching story of Shweyga Mullah. The former nanny was horrifically abused in a compound of the Gadhafi family in Libya. We'll have the latest on her recovery.

Also, we're on the trail of human traffickers in Spain following along as undercover investigators get ready for their biggest bust ever.


ROBERT BILHEIMER, DIRECTOR, "NOT MY LIFE": How can we go to bed at night knowing that that night, a million acts of sexual violence are being committed against 10-year-olds?


ANDERSON: And a director takes his camera to five continents documenting what he calls the true heart of darkness. Robert Bilheimer talks to us about his new film, "Not My Life".

Well, these stories are painful, shocking and hard to hear, but they're going to have to be told because giving victims a voice can make a difference.

In just a moment, I'm going to show you how awareness led to action against a brothel in India. First, though, a reminder of our documentary that traced the trafficking of some girls in India back to Nepal. Actress and activist Demi Moore hosted "Nepal's Stolen Children".

She traveled to Nepal, India to meet with CNN's 2010 Hero of the Year, Anuradha Koirala, who spent nearly 20 years rescuing and rehabilitating trafficking victims. She's helped some 12,000 women and girls reclaim their lives.



Today I'm with Anuradha at the Kathmandu airport boarding a plane for India, or, to be precise, to take me to the border Nepal shares with India. It's across that border that thousands of Nepalese girls are trafficked each year Into brothels of Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and other Indian cities.

In just four hours at the border, I saw several thousand people crossing over. Anuradha introduces me to Maiti Nepal's own border guards. Their slight appearance belies an intense determination, which is borne from their own experience. All of Maiti Nepal's guards were themselves trafficked into brothels.

There are 50 guards working for Maiti Nepal across 10 checkpoints. Every day at the border they will intercept, on average, 20 girls at risk of being trafficked.

Can you explain to me like how it exactly works?

ANURADHA KOIRALA, 2010 CNN HERO OF THE YEAR: Well, she says that every girl they watch. And they watch the men also. They watch and as soon as they catch the suspect, they keep the one she takes a girl or one she takes a boy. And then they cross-question.

After cross-questioning, if they find that whatever they are saying is not true, then if it is a boy, they hand over the boy to the police station and then they take the girl involved to the transit home.


ANDERSON: Well, a few days after that documentary aired, Indian police raided a brothel in New Delhi's red light district. Nine girls were rescued, one of the victims just 10 years old.

CNN's Mallika Kapur has been following the story and brought us this update from Mumbai.

MALLIKA KAPUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I had some positive developments to tell you about.

First of all, the owner of the brothel from where these nine girls were rescued was arrested about two weeks ago in the middle of October. That's what police officials in New Delhi have confirmed to us.

I'll tell you why this is significant. It's significant because brothel owners are hardly ever on site. So it's really difficult to track them down. Brothel managers, on the other hand, are almost always on site. They're the ones who often take the cash and deal with the customers.

But the brothel owner, if they get word that the police is about to raid a brothel, they make sure they're never on site or they slip away through a back door. So it's usually very hard to track them down.

This time, the police tell us, in New Delhi, that they were determined to make sure that the brothel owner gets arrested, because unless the brothel owner is arrested, it's very difficult for the police to shut the brothel down. So they have been searching for the brothel owner and eventually they found her. She's a woman. And they found her close to the New Delhi railway station as she was planning to leave the city and head to her native village.

So right now, both the brothel owner and the brothel manager are both in jail in New Delhi. Of course, it might be a few months, maybe in a few years, before the case goes to court. But this is the first step. And police keep saying this is a very, very significant step. Also, an update on the nine girls who were rescued. Seven of them are still in a government shelter in New Delhi. Two of the nine girls were found to be adults, to be majors, so they were set free. Seven of the girls remain in the government shelter. Authorities there are doing everything they can to try and locate their families in Nepal and also in West Bengal in India.

But typically, these girls come from very, very remote and poor corners of Nepal and India. So it is quite hard to track their families down. They are in the process of doing that. And one of the ladies who has been counseling the girls told me she hopes it's very soon, just a matter of a few weeks, until the girls can put this chapter of their lives behind them and go on home.

Mallika Kapur, CNN, Mumbai.


ANDERSON: Well, it's tough, but tangible proof, at least there, that awareness can result in action.

We've got a special guest for you this hour.

Aidan McQuade is director of Anti-Slavery International, which claims to be the world's oldest international human rights organization and the only charity in Britain to work exclusively against slavery.

We heard Demi Moore's report.

We saw from Mallika just what can be achieved if awareness is raised, which is good news, isn't it?

AIDAN MCQUADE, DIRECTOR, ANTI-SLAVERY INTERNATIONAL: It is good news. Unfortunately, there's a lot more that needs to be done. And I think it's been very important of CNN to be raising this issue with the world over the past year.

As -- as the reports show, it is generally poorer people who are vulnerable to or who are trafficked into situations of sexual exploitation and forced labor. But it's more than them just being poor. It's they have an aspiration for a better life and that leads them, oftentimes, into taking terrible risks.

ANDERSON: Just like you and I do. OK, you know...

MCQUADE: Absolutely. Yes.

ANDERSON: -- you know, we have aspirations for a better life, of course, and -- and nobody accuses us of being -- being wrong for that reason.

How often do you see the sort of story that we saw reported in Demi Moore's film there?

How often do you see that repeated around the world?

MCQUADE: I think it's repeated on a daily basis. The International Labour Organisation estimates that something like 2.4 million people are trafficked every year; of that, about 270,000 into industrialized countries like Europe and North America. And that's a trade which is estimated as being worth $32 billion a year, with $15.5 billion of that in the trade of the 270,000 people to this part of the world.

So just under -- I'm sorry, just over 10 percent of the people being trafficked are worth just under half the value of the trade in human beings because they're coming to wealthier parts of the world, as well.

ANDERSON: You're going to stick with me throughout this next hour, as we investigate some of the stories around the world which really, you know, are -- I don't know, they beggar belief, some of them. But we'll also talk about some of the solutions we think we might have to make better some of these victims' lives.

For the time being, Aidan, thank you for joining us.

Stay with us for this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

Coming up, it's been a year since the un -- the U.N., the United Nations, launched the fund to help the victims of human trafficking.

But is enough being done to the fill the coffers?

And one small team fighting one big problem -- we're going to take you to Catalonia in Spain, where a police unit is waking around the clock trying to fight human trafficking.

And saving Shweyga -- an update on a story that shocked and outraged viewers around the world.

This is CNN.

Stay with us.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to our special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, highlighting the scourge of human trafficking.

I'm Becky Anderson in London.

Well, in November of last year, the United Nations launched an initiative with a clear objective, to provide help and support to those most affected by the worldwide trade in human lives.

CONNECT THE WORLD was live in New York to cover the launch of the UN's fund for victims of human trafficking.


ANDERSON: 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.


ANDERSON: Well, a year from the launch of the fund, what's been achieved?

Well, the U.N. says it's been fundraising and reviewing bids from those hoping to receive a share of the funding. Donations have come from governments, including Qatar, Egypt and France, as well as the private sector.

And around a million dollars has been pledged so far. Just last week, the first $300,000 was awarded to selected projects.

But let's just take stock of how far that money needs to go.

Twelve organizations around the world will receive a share of the funding. The money will go toward legal aid, counseling, return victims to their homes and helping them to rebuild their lives.

Well, the fund for victims of human trafficking is run by the UN's Office of Drugs and Crime.

And earlier today, I spoke to its executive director, Yury Fedotov, who was instrumental in setting the fund up a year ago.

He joined me via Skype from Senegal. And while the connection, I'm afraid, was weak, it is important that you hear what he has to say.

I began by asking him just how high a priority human trafficking is for the United Nations.

And this is what he said.


YURY FEDOTOV, UNITED NATIONS OFFICE OF DRUGS AND CRIME: Well, for me, it's one of the most important priorities for the United Nations. I wouldn't not dare to use the scale, because I have other priorities, as well.

But believe me that it's one of the most important priorities for my office. And we are trying to do something practical and to start helping victims of human trafficking.

ANDERSON: And that I understand.


ANDERSON: But, sir, the U.S. spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year on military marching bands -- hundreds of millions of dollars a year. And yet the world can't come up with more than a million to help victims of modern-day slavery. That's shocking, isn't it?

FEDOTOV: Well, I do not preach, to put this mildly (INAUDIBLE) the level of contributions to the trust fund. And I would like to take this opportunity to call upon member states but also individuals (INAUDIBLE), the business community to contribute to the fund. And I can assure you that this money you are contributing to the fund will be directed at -- directed to the victims of human trafficking.

ANDERSON: My viewers will want me to ask this question.

How does the United Nations monitor the projects that it is donating money to?

FEDOTOV: We do -- we do monitor the projects and that's why it took a while to -- to launch this program, because we need to be sure that not a single penny would be lost and all money will go to the end of human trafficking.

We have a board of trustees. We have an independent (INAUDIBLE) unit, which, of course, directed to me. And we have also (INAUDIBLE), of course, as a U.N. structured is a manager of the trust fund, including a small grant facility program.

And we have (INAUDIBLE) officers, members of our staff, supervising the whole process.

ANDERSON: And have you got a target in mind for this time next year for the fund?

And, you know, be brave here.

You want to name and shame any countries that -- that might be prepared to pay up but haven't done to date?

FEDOTOV: I -- I prefer the -- the route of quiet diplomacy. But I believe you must meet that, in particular, CNN, the role of naming, shaming or even blaming. My role is to -- to convince people to -- to continue the trust fund.


ANDERSON: Well, if he's not going to do it, we will, in the coming months.

Coming up here on CONNECT THE WORLD on CNN, a tourist haven for some and an inescapable track -- trap for others. The Freedom Project takes us to sunny Spain to explore the dark underbelly of its human trafficking industry.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to this special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD.

This hour, we're recapping some of the stories that we've covered so far this year a part of the CNN Freedom Project. It's part of our commitment to shed light on the atrocities of modern-day slavery.

In our special series, Freedom Project: Undercover, we've explored the fight against human trafficking through the eyes of investigators. Now it's an especially tough job for these law enforcement. It's fighting a daily battle against a black market industry that generates around 30 odd billion dollars in annual profits.

That according, at least, to the World Bank.

CNN's Martin Savidge takes us to the Catalonia region of Spain, where he got unprecedented access to this.


MARTIN SAVAGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Europe. Besides its obvious beauty and mild weather, discounted travel packages make it an appealing spot for a quick getaway. It's the largest city in the Catalonia region and it keeps the human trafficking unit for the region's police agency, Mosses D'Esquadra, very busy.

Traffickers like the region, too, not for the same reason as the tourists, but because of the tourism industry. Vacationers can become clients for prostitution. And traffickers also use tourist visas to bring people into the country.

Sub-Inspector Xavier Cortes heads up the human trafficking unit for Mosses D'Esquadra. He is the only face we can show you. His entire unit works undercover.

He shows us this map, breaking down prostitution in Catalonia. Investigating forced prostitution is very tricky in Spain. Prostitution is not legal, but it's not illegal either, forcing someone to solicit themselves is illegal. A woman can sell

Herself, but one cannot become a licensed prostitute.

XAVIER CORTES, SUB-INSPECTOR, MOSSOS D'ESQUADRA (through translator): You cannot act, in any case, against her, because she is exercising her right to prostitute on her own free will, unless you can prove that another person is benefiting from the prostitution of this woman. Our goal is to locate people who exploit women.

SAVAGE: Because it is legal to prostitute yourself, Inspector Cortes says many women come to Catalonia knowing that's what they'll be doing. Usually a bad economic situation or the desire to help family back home pushes them to it.

CORTES: What they do is contact groups that have control over the areas and they engage in prostitution here in our territory. And they create a contract and say you will come here and I will take a percentage of your earnings.

SAVAGE: Cortes says the problem arises when the women arrive on Spanish soil. Sometimes they're locked up in apartments for weeks at a time and told they have an enormous debt to pay off for bringing them there.

Their families back home are threatened. And if the women fight back, the sexual aggression begins.

CORTES: Make no mistake, these members of the organization have absolutely no consideration for the integrity of these women that they exploit. The tactic of subjecting them to constant sexual abuse is a way to get them to lose their will and make it so, over time, they see more and more clearly that there is no way out.

SAVAGE: The worst cases, Cortes says, are the women forced to operate along the roadside with no access to sanitation. Cortes had seen women seven months pregnant forced to stand for 10 to 12 hours at a time selling themselves.

It's these stories that propelled Sub-inspector Cortes and his team on their mission.

These officers of Mosses D'Esquadra, the police agency for the Catalonia region of Spain, are preparing for their biggest raid ever. Nine hundred officers are about to hit 80 Chinese textile factories, with hundreds of suspected forced labor victims, at the exact same time.

Getting to this point took three years and thousands of investigative hours, all documented in these case files.

CORTES: My operation started because two Chinese citizens who had long been subjected to labor exploitation in sweatshops decided that their life situation had reached such an extreme point, they had to leave and showed up in the police station to file a complaint.

SAVAGE: The complaint hit the desk of Sub-Inspector Xavier Cortes. And his undercover human trafficking unit started the complex process of building the case. For three years, agents monitored workshops, listened to phone taps, watched movements, some even going undercover to sweatshops, posing as potential clients, looking for cheap labor -- all to connect just how many people were involved and how many victims were being forced to live and work in nightmare conditions.

Once a judge was satisfied with the evidence gathered, it was time to move in.

Nine hundred officers with Mosses D'Esquadra hit 80 workshops at the same time. They found dozens of workers in each shop crammed in together - - 450 victims in all, brought over from China on tourist visas, then forced to work to pay off the cost of bringing them to Spain. They were sleeping, working, eating all in the same room.

CORTES: In some cases, the mattresses were placed in the middle of the machinery and they slept there. And the next morning, they returned to work. And in some extreme habitats, they are shaped as if they were bunk beds with a false wall that was behind a cover.

SAVAGE: And yet as shocking as these conditions were, there would be another surprise. Investigators say the clothing labels were of popular brands, not counterfeit, but items found in major department stores throughout Europe and possibly beyond.

CORTES: What we have found is that the current companies -- perfectly legal -- outsource other entrepreneurs in charge of the clothing. These entrepreneurs, in turn, sub-contracted to other entrepreneurs in China.

SAVAGE: Hundreds of clothing labels from small, local companies to multinational named brands, sewn in the sweatshops for half the price and half the time.

Inspector Cortes says when his agents approached the department stores, they claimed they had no idea this was going on.

One hundred fifty people were arrested, a raid so successful, the trials are being conducted in three parts.

All have pleaded not guilty.

A huge coup for Mosses D'Esquadra and the human trafficking unit.

CORTES: There are vital situations, absolutely extreme, that no one would want for themselves, nor their families, not their (INAUDIBLE). It has created an additional responsibility and gratification when you complete an investigation.

SAVAGE: But not one to rest on its laurels, the team is back at work, ever vigilant for those trying to profit off the misery of others.

Martin Savage, CNN.


ANDERSON: Aidan McQuade is the director of Anti-Slavery International, the world's oldest international human rights organization, with me throughout the hour.

That was Spain, Aidan.

Just how common is this in other parts of Europe?

MCQUADE: I mean you walk into any country in Europe, any country in the developed world, in fact, and the brothels will be staffed by pro -- by slaves. And many of the unregulated industries will also be staffed by slaves. I mean you're talking about agriculture, construction work...

ANDERSON: So what is...

MCQUADE: -- domestic work.

ANDERSON: -- what sort of measures are needed to reduce the factors that lead to people going into forced labor and sexual slavery?

MCQUADE: I mean I think there's a couple of things. First of all, in the places where the people come from, there could be a closer attention to those communities who are most vulnerable to being trafficked or being enslaved in their own countries. And this is like Dards (ph) in South Asia or migrants in -- in -- in Europe.

And so there's a need to ensure that there is the opportunity for them to get decent work within their own home communities.

But the second thing they need to look at is to have a clear focus upon the issue itself. It's all too often the issue of trafficking is being confused with the issue of immigration. But it's ultimately, as your reports over the years have shown, it's a type of forced labor and exploitation of workers.

ANDERSON: And this is a multi-billion dollar industry. There is no supply without demand. And let's be clear, the West and its insatiable demand for sex and cheap clothing, effectively, drives the supply from the developing world, doesn't it?

MCQUADE: Well, that -- that creates the demand, certainly. And on the other side, there's -- there's plenty of people who are prepared to fulfill that demand and plenty of poor people who can be exploited.

But usually this happens, as well, whenever there's government inaction over this business. In this part of the world, well, to be quite honest in saying we need cheap migrant labor.

But governments across Europe, across the world, are not prepared to put in place sufficient systems of safe migration.

ANDERSON: So who needs to be coordinating better efforts?

Should it be down to individual governments?

Should it be down to the United Nations?

Who should be taking the lead here?

MCQUADE: There's a number of safe transnational groupings of governments, like the European Union, like the African Union, which could be doing more to coordinate action. There also needs to be concerted action within specific countries.

So within the U.K., for example, as I said, there's an effort toward focusing on emigration rather than on the forced labor aspect of this. The police are doing well in terms of trafficking in the UK.

But the policymakers are not. They're still shooting at the wrong targets. There's no integration of these questions into aid policy. There's no integration of these questions and issues into trade policy.

ANDERSON: Why not?

Why do you think that is?

MCQUADE: I -- that's something I haven't yet worked out. I mean we've heard lots of -- of rhetoric of government over the years...

ANDERSON: But if we cared...

MCQUADE: -- and we (INAUDIBLE) government.

ANDERSON: -- as -- as -- as the Jr. , why don't our lawmakers do something about it?

MCQUADE: I don't think they've worked out that the Jr. Are getting a bit disgusted about -- by this and by their inaction. And they're -- there is -- they like to deal with things in silos and pretend things are simple. Some problems are a bit more complex and need a bit more of a sophisticated response.

You know, the British government, for example, opposed measures recently to protect domestic workers from enforced labor situations and are now talking about removing other measures which protect domestic workers from forced labor because they feel it's going to play to one constituency while not realizing that other parts of the community are -- are, frankly, disgusted by these proposals.

ANDERSON: Aidan, stay with me, throughout the hour.

This is a special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN.

It continues after the break.

In 90 seconds, the story of Shweyga Mullah, the former domestic servant who says she was brutally tortured and enslaved by members of the Gadhafi family.

And after that...


BILHEIMER: How can we go to bed at night knowing that that night, a million acts of sexual violence are being committed against 10-year-olds?


ANDERSON: Just one of the shocking facts uncovered in a new documentary. The director explains why it's left him quite literally questioning humanity.



BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: You're back with CONNECT THE WORLD here on CNN, the world's news leader. Let's get you a check of the headlines this hour.

Euro zone leaders trying to hammer out a deal to solve the continent's financial woes once and for all, but serious disagreements are making that difficult. Questions remain about new capital for banks, losses for investors, and how to leverage the current emergency fund.

A Kenya man has pleaded guilty to involvement in one of two grenade attacks on Nairobi. He also told a court that he's a member of al-Shabab, a Somali-based militant group. Monday's attacks killed one person and wounded 20 others.

Two more survivors were pulled from the earthquake rubble in Turkey on Wednesday. The official death toll has now climbed above 470. Meanwhile, the Turkish government says at least eight countries have stepped up and offered assistance.

Bangkok is expected to face its highest floodwaters yet in the next few days. Thailand's prime minister warns that the capital could be under as much as one half meters of water. The government has declared a five- day holiday, but it's having trouble convincing people to leave their homes.

And Hurricane Rina has weakened to a Category 1 storm as it approaches the coast of Mexico. It's still expected to bring heavy rain and big waves to the popular resort city of Cancun.

And those are your headlines this hour.

You're watching a CONNECT THE WORLD special with me, Becky Anderson, the fight to end modern-day slavery, stories we make no excuse for, an issue that all of us have a responsibility to try to do something about.

Here's the number, and it's a shocking statistic. As many as 30 million people across the world are slaves. Anonymous for the most part, but the CNN Freedom Project is putting a human face on that staggering number, revealing stories of cruelty and brutality.

This journey has exposed some of the darkest investigations imaginable, but there's one that touched you, our viewers, like no other, the case of Shweyga Mullah. CNN's Dan Rivers has her story.


DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This house belongs to Hannibal Gadhafi, and what went on in here was truly horrendous.

RIVERS (voice-over): Meet Shweyga Mullah, a 30-year-old Ethiopian nanny who describes how she was horribly tortured by Hannibal's wife, Aline.

SHWEYGA MULLAH, FORMER GADHAFI DOMESTIC SERVANT (through translator): She took me to a bathroom and she tied my hands behind my back and tied my feet. She taped my mouth.

And she started pouring the boiling water on my head like this.

RIVERS: Her crime, she says she refused to beat Hannibal's toddler, who wouldn't stop crying. Shweyga says she was actually scalded twice. The most episode was three months ago. Her wounds are still raw and weeping. She appears to be in desperate need of medical attention.

MULLAH (through translator): There were maggots coming out of my head because she had hidden me and no one had seen me. And then they found me and put me in the hospital.

RIVERS: But then she was discovered and brought back, and the guard who helped her was threatened with prison if he took her to hospital again. Co-workers backed up her account.

MULLLAH (through translator): I worked for a whole year. They didn't give me one penny. Now I want to go to the hospital, and I have no money. I have nothing.

She said, "No money for you. You just work."


ANDERSON: Well, so many of you wanted to know what happened to Shweyga and whether she got the treatment she so desperately needed. Well, after our story aired, there was such an incredible public response, and CNN helped set up a fundraising site for her.

She was then flown out of Libya to a hospital in Malta, where she faces months of surgery and recuperation. Let's get more on her progress, now, with Dan Rivers, who is in Tripoli for you.

RIVERS: Well, Shweyga continues to do well, I'm pleased to say. We just spoke to the hospital in Malta, where she's being treated. Of course, we found her here in Tripoli, and then we were inundated with offers of help.

She ended up in Malta at a very good hospital there. We're told that she's already had one skin graft on her chest area, which has been successful. They want to then operate on her armpit area, which is still quite badly burnt and scarred.

And then, they will start to look at her scalp, which they're saying they want to let settle down, let the infection go away, wait for that to heal before they tackle anything else.

They're also trying to contact her brother in Ethiopia, offering to fly him over to visit her, but she has got an Ethiopian translator with her, so she's got someone who speaks her own language, which is very good for her spirits.

We're told she's happy, she's walking around the ward. And generally, I think, feeling much, much better than when we found her here in Tripoli.

The website that's been set up to help her with her treatments and her life going forward has been inundated with donations. I think it's standing at more than $40,000, now, which is fantastic.

And I think, ultimately, she still says she wants to go back to Ethiopia to pick up her life, see her family, and who knows what the future will hold for her? But the main thing is that she is out of danger, she's in a fantastic hospital, and she is slowly recovering.

ANDERSON: Well, as Dan mentioned, ever since we brought you Shweyga's story, we've received a tremendous outpouring of support and offers of help. Donors have now given nearly 40 grand for her medical care, and you, too, can contribute.

Log onto There, you'll find the link to a page set up by Anti-Slavery International specifically to help Shweyga. Again, that's

Well, up next here on CNN, director Robert Bilheimer has spent four years traveling the world on the trail of human traffickers. What he found was horrific.


ROBERT BILHEIMER, DIRECTOR, "NOT MY LIFE": I had never, ever seen the kind of cruelty, the disregard for whatever it might possibly mean to be human, that we've seen in these practices.


ANDERSON: Why he believes his film can and should change the world, up next.



"GRACE," FORMER CHILD SOLDIER: This kind of evil must be stopped. It should never continue, because it's worse than evil that grown-ups are actually using children in armed conflict. Grown-ups are raping children, and grown-ups are destroying the future.


ANDERSON: From Africa to Asia, from the Americas to Europe, kids are being robbed of their childhoods, forced to fight wars, forced to work without pay.

And as part of our Freedom Project special, I want to introduce you to a director who is hoping that his new documentary will open eyes and force people to act. Filmed on five continents over four years, "Not My Life" highlights the horrific practices of modern-day slavery. Acclaimed director Bob Bilheimer explains why it's a scourge that no longer can be ignored.


BILHEIMER: I had never, ever seen the kind of cruelty, the -- wanton cruelty. The disregard for whatever it might possibly mean to be human, that we've seen in these practices.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Practices that documentary maker Robert Bilheimer investigates in "Not My Life," so the rest of the world can also see the reality of human trafficking.

GLEN CLOSE, NARRATOR, "NOT MY LIFE": To the homes of these poor families come sex traffickers looking for young girls to bring into the city, where travelers from abroad await them.

BILHEIMER: What's most -- been most disturbing to me is that -- the victims are almost all children. This is something we found, inescapably, as we moved from continent to continent and from country to country. We kept saying, "How old?" Nine. Ten. Twelve. Four.

DON BREWSTER, AGAPE INTERNATIONAL MISSIONS: We have girls at our aftercare center, who guys would come in once a quarter and have -- pick up that same girl and have him with him for a month at a time. And I mean just brutalize them for that month.

Westerners come into Svay Pak every day. I mean, there's not a single day Westerners don't come here, and there's no reason to come here except for that.

ANDERSON: While some of the biggest horror stories come out of Asia and Africa, the film makes it clear that atrocities are also happening in America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're walking around, there's lots of semis, and there's also a lot of girls out there. And a lot of them are just -- they look half our age. They look like they could be eight or nine years old.

BILHEIMER: There've been no studies about this, but they're sort of conservatively estimating that there are maybe 150,000 young girls under 16 being trafficked in the United States today for sexual purposes.

These girls at a minimum commit -- or are forced to perform ten sexual acts a day. So, 100,000 times ten is a million. A day. They work seven days a week. There are 365 days in the year.

That means that in the United States alone, 365 million, probably close to half a billion acts of sexual violence, rape, are committed against girls from the ages of 8 to 14, 15, 16. Half a billion that are unprosecuted, unreported, unknown.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And we get in the first truck, and the guy decides he wants me. So, I go back there and I just have to pray to God, just please help me. Just please let me get through it.

(crying) Melissa went through the wallet, and he had grandkids as old us. And all I could think of that whole time was how my grandpa could be this guy right now, and how that would feel. And I just wanted to die.

BILHEIMER: How can we go to bed at night knowing that that night, a million acts of sexual violence are being committed against ten-year-olds, not only by truckers, but by lawyers, but by people who go to the Super Bowl, by doctors. At conventions.

ANDERSON: It's been almost 150 years since the American president Abraham Lincoln penned the words, "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong." A phrase that Bilheimer hopes is illustrated in every frame of his film.

BILHEIMER: I'm sure that now what he was driving at is that if we reach a point where we no longer regard ourselves as fellow human beings, and particularly if we reach the point where we are, in fact, cannibalizing our own children, then I think it is very difficult to think of ourselves either as human or as civilized.

ANDERSON: Now that "Not My Life" has premiered, Bilheimer is hoping for an unprecedented distribution deal that will ensure that as many people as possible are aware that human trafficking is a burgeoning business worldwide.

BILHEIMER: If the organizations rise to the challenge that we're going to present and say, you get hundreds of these films and you use your budgets to buy these things at cost for a buck a piece and we'll license it to you, if they do that, I think we can wipe this off the face of the earth and be smiling in five years that this will no longer exist.


ANDERSON: Remarkable stuff. That's Bob Bilheimer. CNN's viewers got a chance to see the documentary just days after its international premier here in London. The director, Robert Bilheimer, was joined by people who've dedicated their lives to combating human trafficking.

And after the premier, I sat down with three leading experts to find out what governments, the police services, and we as individuals can do to help. I began by asking how we should go about tackling the demand for trafficked people.


KLARA SKRIVANKOVA, ANTI-SLAVERY INTERNATIONAL : I think that comes as a question that each one of us should be asking every day. How can I be contributing to this trade? How can I be contributing to modern-day slavery?

We are all looking for a good deal. We are all shopping in sales, we are all looking for cheap goods, for cheap services. And very often, we do not ask ourselves a question, how come that I can buy five t-shirts for four pounds? Isn't it too cheap? How could it be that they are produced, without actually realizing that it's very often small children who are in the production chain.

ANDERSON: When you travel the world, Mira, what do you see, as far as efforts to rid this scourge of society, as it were?

MIRA SORVINO, UN GOODWILL AMBASSADOR FOR TRAFFICKING: We see a lot of paper promises. We see laws that have no teeth. We see lack of prosecution.

I think last year there were only 5,000 cases prosecuted on trafficking across the world, and yet it's a $32 billion industry. By some estimates, 27 million people are living as slaves.

The governments need to work hand-in-hand with the NGOs, with the police. The NGOs are the front lines that are dealing with the victims every day, and they really know what the specific needs and problems are.

The private sector has to donate money. We cannot do this alone, and governments have to spend more, too.

The United States government gives -- its budget last year was $16 million or $15 million for the State Department on all of their anti- trafficking efforts in the US and around the world. They cut it to $9 million. Meanwhile, in one month, they spend more than that on US military marching bands.

ANDERSON: But let's face it, we are in a really bad cycle economically. What are the priorities?

SKRIVANKOVA: Well, I think the priority is to really get governments to act and put the laws in place, because unlike 200 years ago, slavery is no longer allowed. Slavery has been outlawed, trafficking has been outlawed.

Yet, the problem is still there. And I think --

SORVINO: It's growing.

SKRIVANKOVA: It's growing. And it's not just resources. I think it's political will, and it's putting it as a priority.

If it becomes a political priority, then the resources will be available. Because as Mira said, there are all other issues for which even in the tough economic times there is money, and I think it could be eradicated in our lifetime if it's made a priority for the police, if it's made a priority for the politicians.

ANDERSON: Is it a priority for the police in the UK?

NICK SUMNER, METROPOLITAN POLICE: Yes, it is, very much so, undoubtedly. We are working as the sole dedicated unit within the UK to share our good practice, ensure there's a consistent delivery of service up and down the country, not just within the UK, but across Europe. And it's that international collaboration amongst enforcement agencies is absolutely vital.

But there's one extra thing. It's to understand the picture of trafficking, what is it, is not just going to come from what the police and the state say the figures are. It's going to come from the NGO sector, who are coming across these victims who don't come forward to the police.

ANDERSON: And, of course, it's going to come from our audience. What can our viewers do tonight, Mira?

SORVINO: They can donate to the voluntary trust fund, no amount is too small. And the grants are rather reasonable. They're just $25,000 each. So, if you give $500, you're contributing a good portion of that one grant.

You should lobby your government, you should ask what kind of legislation is dealing with trafficking in my city, in my state, in my country?

Are my police consistently trained in the police academy, not as a special side course, but is every member of the police force trained to deal with human trafficking?

Is every member of social services, health and welfare, hospital personnel, airlines, are they all trained to understand what it is, and then have a protocol to deal with it, so we can really start to unmask as a society handling the problem effectively and with a system that works with each other?


ANDERSON: Mira Sorvino, closing out our discussion, there. And since CNN launched the Freedom Project, it's been truly amazing to see so many of you taking a stand. Up next, how you are joining the fight to end the terrible reality in human life. Back in 60 seconds.


ANDERSON: Welcome back to our special edition of CONNECT THE WORLD. We've been incredibly impressed by how you, the viewer, has partnered with us in our CNN Freedom Project over the past nine months. You're telling us that modern-day slavery is a scourge on society and that it should stop. Period.

More than a million of you have used the Freedom Project site each and every month since the start of the year. Thousands of you are also leaving comments and sharing the stories that are making an impact on you.

And you're doing that this way. Your voice is getting heard by posting hundreds of iReports, everything from telling us that you're taking a stand against slavery to making paper planes with a special message. Here's a look at just a few of them.


BRITTANY PARTRIDGE, I-REPORTER, INDIA: I'm Brittany, founder of the Red Thread Movement, and I'm taking a stand to end slavery for Bangladese girls in Bombay brothels.

MEMBERS OF LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO, SOUTH AFRICA (in unison): We are Ladysmith Black Mambazo. We are taking a stand against slavery.

TEXT: We must end human trafficking and slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to send my message all around the world against slavery and human trafficking.

TEXT: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am taking a stand to end slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I join the fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No to slavery. No to slavery for children, and no to slavery entirely.


ANDERSON: Well, one of the most memorable iReports was this one. Yeong Gwang Girls High School in South Korea posted this video of how they are taking a stand. It made such an impact on us that CNN actually visited the school to see why they cared so much.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The problem is that many people don't know about it, so I can tell my friends in other schools about modern-day slavery, and I can buy products that are slave-free, like the Body Shop or Goodui (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was really surprised, because I never had interest in this problem and never realized that it really happens.


ANDERSON: Well, there are lots of ways you can make a difference. The RDay app helps users organize concerts, flash mobs, and protests for Redemption Day, and that is November the 11th. That is the global day of action against slavery.

The Free to Work app lets you check major brands as you shop to see what they're doing to tackle the problem of modern-day slavery.

And this one, A Product of Slavery lets you see what products are made using child labor and forced labor around the world.

And as ever, you can find all of these links and more on our Freedom Project website, that is

Yes, you can. Now, your expert this hour, Aidan McQuade, director of Anti-Slavery International is still with me here in the studio. Aidan, based on your experience, is there a single issue that is currently propelling the spread of human slavery and forced labor?

AIDAN MCQUADE, DIRECTOR, ANTI-SLAVERY INTERNATIONAL: Government must act. These things don't happen without governments de facto allowing them to happen.

Slavery obviously grows out of situations of poverty and of discrimination, but you usually see this only burgeoning into slavery whenever the governments of those countries of the world are not doing enough about it.

We can see the reason that so many cheap t-shirts are made in South Asia and India, for example, is because you see significant collusion amongst factory owners, local law enforcement, and others in order to enslave young women and girls in the factories to produce clothes for High Street brands.

ANDERSON: What specifically can be done today, right now, to help those in immediate danger?

MCQUADE: I think those in immediate danger can most directly be addressed by good law-enforcement work, and at the moment and in various parts of the world, we tend to be seeing that that is all which is in terms of a real significant, proactive approach against slavery is the work of conscientious police in different parts of the world.

But that's not enough.

ANDERSON: But that's spotty as well, isn't it?


ANDERSON: Across the world?

MCQUADE: You see some good work recently in Britain, you see some good work in Italy and Germany. But it is patchy. You see appalling work in South Asia and different parts of Africa.

So, there needs to be -- but that's the most immediate thing you can do. In terms of the longer term issues, these things -- this issue of slavery needs to be fundamental to government aid and free aid policy.

And it's not at the moment. It's treated as something which maybe a police department or foreign office will look at occasionally and some trivial funds are thrown at this, but there's not the consistent sort of engagement in terms of a sustained approach by governments in the world in order to make this something of the past.

ANDERSON: I'm going to give you less than a minute, maybe 45 seconds to tell me, our viewers, and governments around the world what they should do now and why we should care.

MCQUADE: As one of your subjects in the -- who you interviewed this evening said, this is a test of our very humanity. We're allowing these sort of atrocities to be committed across the world, and the fact that they're going on betrays the promises of the laws, the promises of the constitutions of our societies.

This can't be allowed to go on. We expect our governments to act. We should write to our government and political representatives and say "Act now."

ANDERSON: Aidan, thank you.

MCQUADE: Thank you very much.

ANDERSON: I'm Becky Anderson, thanks for watching this Freedom Project Special on CONNECT THE WORLD. Rest assured, we here at CNN will not let the matter lie.