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CONNECT THE WORLD
Donald Trump Signs New Travel Ban, Removes Iraq From List; India Giving Former Child Slaves Future Through Education; South Korea Receives First Stage of THAAD Missile Defense; U.S., Turkey, Russia Meet Over Deconflicting Northern Syria. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 7, 2017 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[10:00:15] REX TILLERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE: This revised order will bolster the security of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: Take two: President Trump's travel ban is reworked. Why critics still see problems. We are live in Washington and around the
world, up next with reaction for you.
And, tensions rising on the Korean Peninsula a day after North Korea's ballistic missile launch,
South Korea receives the first stage of an anti-missile system. Coming up, reports from Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They used to beat me at the brick kiln, Sitara (ph) says. She hated her life then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: CNN's effort to end modern-day slavery takes us to India to focus on child labor. How education may be the key to ending exploitation.
It is just after 7:00 in the evening in Abu Dhabi. Hello and welcome. This is Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson.
Well, we start tonight with everything you need to know about Washington's new travel ban. President Donald Trump signed the new executive order with
very little fuss, only this single official photo of him doing it was put out. Reporters were not allowed in to watch.
Now, compare that to last time. A big ceremony in the Pentagon's hall of heroes. It wasn't just the signing that was reigned in though, the whole
order has been watered down. Among the biggest changes, Iraq has been dropped from the blocked list, leaving six Muslim majority countries: Iran,
Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, and Somalia.
Crucially, people with green cards and valid visas from them will now be let in.
And Syrian refugees are no longer banned indefinitely. Instead, there is a four-month pause in place for refugees from everywhere.
The changes aren't silencing the ban's opponents, CNN's Joe Johns is at the White House for us. And Joe, changes to some, concessions to others. How
is this being seen in D.C.?
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it depends on where you stand, obviously, but,
Becky, I can tell you that if the goal, if the stated goal is to defeat a court challenge, legal experts in Washington agree that the language of
this revised travel ban is vastly improved.
Nonetheless, there are concerns, and one of the concerns in particular is the notion that all along it has been suggested that this could be
construed as a Muslim ban, partly because of things the president said on the campaign trail. And there are those in Washington who oppose this who
say it still appears to be a Muslim ban simply because it affects people coming to the United States from a number of majority Muslim countries.
So the question is whether there will be a court challenge, and it is just not clear yet where
the court challenge will come from. That has been predicted, Becky.
ANDERSON: Joe, we have been looking at the only official image of the president signing this executive order, as suggested at the top of this
hour very different to the way that the last was released.
Is there a sense that the president's botched roll-out forced him to ensure that this one was a lot more muted?
JOHNS: Well, as we know, President Trump is very media savvy, and it is clear that he understands a do-over on something that was seen as highly
important. One of his big campaign promises, might not be the type of image he would want to see on video, and as well there might have been a
number of other reasons why the president did not want live cameras, for example, in the room when he was doing that.
For example, it would have been an opportunity for reporters to at least ask him questions about his tweet storm over the weekend where he accused
President Obama of wire-tapping him.
So there are some other factors that fall into why that was the kind of picture we got out of the signing of the document, Becky.
ANDERSON: We are seeing the two different images of the two roll outs there as you speak. In a new CNN/ORC poll, Joe, 44 percent of Americans
questioned think Mr. Trump is doing a good job handling immigration, but as you can see, more than half disagree.
Broadly in your sense, what do Americans think of this ban, Joe?
[10:05:44] JOHNS: To be quite honest with you, the United States appears to be divided on so many issues between Democrats and Republicans, between
red states and blue states.
Now, the critics of President Trump do not particularly like the way he's handled many parts of immigration. The supporters of President Trump
agree with the way he's been going, his direction at the very least. So divided country very much on this issue and a variety of other issues, and
it doesn't appear that that's been changing over the last several months at least.
ANDERSON: 47 days into what is this new administration.
Joe, thank you. Some tourists visiting the White House. Viewers got an unexpected surprise just a short while ago. President Trump popped out to
say hello to their tour group. It is the first day of White House tours since Mr. Trump took office. The crowd seemed to enjoy what was a very
The president greeting about 40 or 50 tour-goers who gathered in the lower level of the residence. You can see him walking into the hallway there to
what appeared to be fairly boisterous cheers at the Hillary Clinton portrait hanging in the background there.
Well, that was the scene at the White House just a short time ago. I'm going to get you out of the States and around the world.
International aid groups condemning this new travel ban. They say it doesn't make the
U.S. any safer.
The executive director of Amnesty International calling the revised order, quote, the same hate and fear with new packaging, while African leaders
expressing disappointment. Somalia's new president says he hopes the ban will be lifted despite his country's security issues.
The UN says the country there is on the edge of a famine, noting that more than half the population needs humanitarian assistance.
Well, vis-a-vis this travel ban, as we mentioned earlier Iraq has been dropped from the list of
banned countries in this revised order. Ben Wedeman joining me from the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.
Arwa Daman is reporting today from Istanbul in Turkey. And Ben, you removal from the list came after he scribbled as intense review to improve
the vetting of Iraqi citizens, though it doesn't seem to be clear, does it, how that vetting had been improved?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. We did see reports indicating that the Iraqis would be more forthcoming with their information
about Iraqi nationals who are applying for visas to the United States, so that's one thing.
On the other hand, we also know that Iraqi officials did lobby vigorously the United States to
get removed from that list. And for instance, Defense Secretary Mattis, a man who knows Iraq
very well, knows war very well, when he was in Baghdad last month that was discussed with Iraqi officials who made it clear that for Iraq to cooperate
and work with the United States in the war against ISIS -- and let's keep in mind there are more than 5,000 U.S. military personnel in this country -
- that for that cooperation to work there has to be trust.
And of course, when you have an alliance with a country and at the same time ban its citizens
from coming to the United States, it doesn't send a very good message. And we did see the Iraqi parliament, for instance, after the original 27th of
January, travel ban was issued, voting in favor of reciprocal measures against the United States. It wasn't a binding vote, but nonetheless it
did send a message that Iraq was going to sit quietly and swallow this executive order - Becky.
ANDERSON: Increased vetting, all effective and intense lobbying in Washington. You work it out.
Ben, coming back to you.
Arwa, a couple of million Syrian refugees are in Turkey of course where you are, many of whom would have been hoping to get to the States during the
What is the perspective on this new executive order where you are?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's a few things to take note of here, Becky, and that is relatively speaking the U.S. only
takes in a fraction of those who have been fleeing from Syria, unlike Turkey that hosts around three million refugees or other European nations
like Germany that has welcomed in more than a million. And to have the door even just
temporarily shut on that fraction that the U.S. was going to be taking in, you can just imagine what that process does to these individuals, to these
families, to the children, many of whom would have been at certain stages as part of a very lengthy vetting process that can take two
to three years for most people.
Now they don't know what is going to happen, because even if Syrians shave not been banned
indefinitely, there are no guarantees that after four months there won't be new orders that are put into place that would prevent them from traveling
to America. And more broadly speaking, you know, this is really harming America's image in the Middle East, in the Muslim world, and beyond because
no matter how individuals necessarily felt about American politics or American leaders, there is still this notion out there that America is the
country where dreams can come true, and a lot of people when you talk to them do say that they want to go to America, that is the country where they
want to start over again because they have heard the success stories of so many other immigrants before them.
And to have that idea begin to change, begin to shift, to have that door being closed on them,
to have so much uncertainty surrounding all of it, it really is tarnishing America's image ata time when arguably the United States cannot necessarily
ANDERSON: All right, Arwa.
Ben, just before I let you go, you have been reporting on the fight for Mosul, and we have
reported now for months just how difficult that would be for coalition forces and Iraqi forces on the ground. To that end, some pretty
significant gains I know against ISIS. Can you give us a sense of what is going on the ground there?
WEDEMAN: Yeah, Becky, it was within the last 36 hours, Iraqi forces, particularly the counterterrorism service and the Iraqi police have made
dramatic gains in the area south of Mosul's city where it is believed many of the ISIS fighters are held up.
They have taken over the central bank, the Mosul museum, which is something that in February of 2015 ISIS ransacked, looted and vandalized.
And we did see the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abady coming to visit the troops near
the front lines and the commanders, and when he was there he called upon ISIS fighters to surrender in which case they will be given a fair trial,
or to die. So it appears that the Iraqi forces are making significant gains. It is hard to say at this point how much longer the battle will go
on. It took three months to drive ISIS out of the eastern part of the city. We heard the Iraqi air force commander saying yesterday it could
take another six weeks. But what we've seen in the last 36 hours were some dramatic moves forward - Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Irbil for you, Arwa is in Turkey today.
Now, you may remember - thank you both - that Arwa was trapped in an ambush by ISIS in Mosul last November. Well, now she is going back to the city.
Capturing the hell and humanity of life in the shadow of the terror group in this immersive article on the battle-torn city. That is up on CNN.com
right now. Trust me, you will not want to miss this.
Right. Somalia still on the list of banned countries, and that is where we start our radar for you today. The United Nations new Secretary-General is
visiting the country right now. Antonio Guterres has warned that Somalia is on the edge of famine and that it is being neglected by the world.
Well, in addition to unfailing the travel ban, President Trump has taken the first steps towards appealing the Affordable Care Act, also known as
Obamacare. In a tweet, he calls the Republican plan to replace it wonderful, saying Obamacare was a disaster that was imploding.
North Korea has barred Malaysians from leaving the country and Malaysia has responded with a similar restriction on North Koreans. They're at odds
over the investigation of the death of the North Korean leader's brother poisoned in Malaysia. Police want to question three people thought to be
hiding inside the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
Well, meanwhile, South Korea has received the first elements of a U.S. missile defense system. It comes just after the north test fired four
ballistic missiles. It is intended to counter any threat from the north, but when it comes to this military hardware, the international reaction
We have got correspondents from three different nations to explain why for you.
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Beijing.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Tokyo.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paula Hancocks in Seoul.
It's been in the works for months, but now a U.S. defense system that's designed to shoot down missiles from North back in the works for months,
but now a U.S. defense system that's designed to shoot down missiles from North Korea is here in South Korea. The first elements of THAAD have
been flown in on Monday night.
Just hours after, in fact, Pyongyang launched four ballistic missiles, which landed in the waters off Japan defying international sanctions.
Now, the they spoke last week. They said they wanted this to happen as soon as possible. The official line at this point is it will be fully
operational as early as July. Now, opinion here in South Korea is split. The military wants it, opposition parties don't want it. The residents who
will be living but certainly there are others in the region who are not happy.
Let's go to Matt Rivers in Beijing.
RIVERS: Simply put, Beijing is not happy with this deployment. In fact, you could argue that
they're probably downright angry about it because the view here is that this move is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt by the United States
to upset the strategic balance in this part of the world, to further cement U.S. military influence in this region.
Officials here say they understand South Korea's security concern, but argue the only true way to solve the North Korean nuclear issue is through
direct negotiation, anything else, they say, will only make the situation worse.
Most of the missile tests that North Korea conducts fly towards Japan. So, for the latest from there, let's hear more from Will Ripley.
RIPLEY: I'm at the Japanese defense ministry in Tokyo. And this underscores the threat that
the region is facing. These two PATRIOT missile interceptors are a key line of defense for the more than 20 million people to the Tokyo
metropolitan area if North Korean missiles were to come raining down.
But this system is not fool proof. It has highly sophisticated radar, but if North Korea were
to fire multiple missiles at once as they did during their most recent test, this system could be overwhelmed. That is why the Japanese prime
minister Shinzo Abe calls it one of the most severe threats that Japan has ever faced from North Korea. He was reassured by President Trump that
Japan and the United States will work together very closely and they'll share information with their counterparts in South Korea.
ANDERSON: Still to come tonight, when Donald Trump hits Twitter, it is not just a random thought popping into his head. We'll look at the method to
what some call his madness.
And suing over fake news. We're living Germany where a court has ruled in a case involving a Syrian refugee falsely linked to terrorism.
[10:21:22] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN and Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. Welcome back. You are with us in the UAE at 20 past 7:00 in the
By the end of last week U.S. President Donald Trump went from getting high marks for his
address to congress to watch his attorney general come under fire. Well, snow the Trump administration is apparently trying to retake the narrative.
It started Saturday when the president tweeted an unproven accusation that his predecessor wire tapped him. Then on Monday he signed a
revised travel ban, and now the Republican healthcare act is sure to dominate the headlines for a while.
All of these ups and downs with Mr. Trump. He's only been in office for 47 days.
Let's get some perspective from Ian Bremmer, author, political scientist and president of the Eurasia group.
Ian, it would be disingenuous to suggest that no other new U.S. administration has at least struggled to find its bearings. There has been
chaos behind the scenes at times with others. But how do you 47 days in just reflect on where we are before we talk specifics here on what is this
new Trump administration?
IAN BREMMER, EURASIA GROUP: Look, the fact we're counting days shows both how exceptionally abnormal the Trump administration has been in the context
of other administrations, and I mean also how much vitriol there's been from the mainstream press pretty much across the board toward Trump. And I
do think both of those are remarkable.
Let's keep in mind also that the U.S. markets is close to record right now, around 21,000. And if you look at at least the domestic economic policy
that Trump and cabinet have been pushing forward so far, you'd say that it is kind of normal in the context of what you would expect from any
mainstream Republican president with a Republican House and Senate.
On the other hand, implementation, the executive order on immigration, the tweets, the foreign policy, the missteps with foreign leaders, those are
well beyond the pale. And it is hard to really balance when you're trying to make an assessment of how Trump's doing that both of those things are
happening under the same administration.
ANDERSON: A reworked executive order, or travel ban, information now on repealing Obamacare. There have been various issues. A speech to congress
last week which looked as if it may reset the narrative for President Trump.
All of this, I think it is fair to say, continues to be overshadowed by the relationship between Trump and Russia, what went on behind the scenes and
what happens next. And how that -- what is going on may affect U.S./Russia relations going forward.
CNN's Matthew Chance, Ian, spoke to Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, who denies the allegations of election interference and says the
U.S./Russia relationship is at stake. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DMITRY PESKOV, PRESS SECRETARY FOR VLADIMIR PUTIN: We don't have the slightest interest to interfere. The only thing I can tell you is that all
this hysteria and public opinion, hysteria in Washington, hysteria in American media, this is doing lots of harm to the future of out volatile
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[10:25:05] ANDERSON: Peskov says he wants his country to be an equal partner with the U.S., and that it is a shame, Ian, that Russia has become
a political issue, to which you say what?
BREMMER: Well, to which I say that the U.S./Russia relationship should be better than it has been under Obama, certainly the end of the relationship
it was down to Andropov (ph) levels. I mean, really the early '80s.
But the U.S./Russia relationship shouldn't be as good as the U.S./Germany relationship. And that's the question, right. It is not the idea that
Trump couldn't do a reset if he wanted, but it is both the fact that Trump's resets seem to be saying that his relationship with Putin, his
relationship with Merkel were kind of (inaudible) when one is a trusted ally that shares values, another is a country that is an antagonist that
was actually trying to engage in hacks to delegitimize the U.S. election.
And there's nothing wrong with all sorts of members of Trump's team engaged in conversations with Russia officials, with oligarchs, with the Russian
ambassador. And I'm not worried about the fact he is collecting intelligence, he is a spy master. All ambassadors do intelligence work.
But the fact that a number of Trump administration officials have been caught lying and mischaracterizing their relationships with those Russians
and that, indeed, the former national security adviser was forced to resign because of lying about about that to Vice President Pence makes you ask the
I mean it is obvious to people that are following this that whether or not you think Obama was good or bad on Russia, my personal view is that he
wasn't very good, you don't actually have an explanation of what's behind the strident effort and focus of Trump to recast it as a top priority. We
don't have that information.
ANDRESON: Yeah, it is fascinating, isn't it? In his latest tweet, Mr. Trump implies that Russia got strong while President Obama got weak.
He writes, for eight years Russia, quote, ran over, President Obama, got stronger and stronger, picked-off Crimea and added missiles. Weak!
This is the problem, isn't it, for Donald Trump? That calling Russia strong to many people doesn't exactly dispel the notion that the Trump team
might be too cozy with Russia, does it?
BREMMER: It doesn't. But keep in mind, Obama got in trouble, and rightly so in my view, for actually disparaging the Russians as a regional power in
decline. The Chinese, you know, show the Russians a lot more respect while the Chinese are cutting the best possible deals for China but they're
throwing big heads of state meetings and massive parades and all of the rest while the Americans were disparaging the Russians.
I don't think the full-circle approach of Trump, you know, sort of trying to emulate Putin, what a great, strong man he is, is correct either. Look,
it's very clear that the Russians in terms of cyber capabilities are roughly at parity with the United States. That is a threat. Furthermore,
the Russians are the only country in the world that has America's nuclear capabilities. We could both destroy the world if we chose to.
But Russia's economy, which has been in severe decline over the last year- and-a-half, and not just because of sanctions, mostly because of energy prices, is now smaller than Canada. It's smaller than Italy. And the idea
that we would spend as much time on palace intrigue dealing with the Russians as we would, say, with the Chinese which is set to become the
largest economy in the world over the course of the Trump administration, that just doesn't make sense.
And, you know, it is a very shiny object for us all to pay attention to, but, frankly, again, Trump's attention to Russia is clearly vastly higher
than it merits in terms of American national interests.
ANDERSON: In case anybody thought that there was trouble in-house, I've just seen a tweet, don't let the fake news tell you there's big infighting
in the Trump administration, the president says. We are getting along great and getting major things done.
Whatever is going on in-house with his tight cohort of advisers, what we can say, what we know to be fact is that there are some policy issues,
which is normal, that of the executive order, the repealing of Obamacare, things that were promised before the election, that whether you like them
or not the administration is getting on with, whether you think they're being rolled
out right, they are getting on with them. It is this other stuff, isn't it? It is this palace intrigue. It is these allegations around his
relationship with Russia, his allegations over the weekend about the Obama administration, or the president, the former president himself, wire-
tapping Donald Trump in the lead up to the election, which is really doing this administration in, despite the fact, let's be fair, that he does still
have support, significant support in the States, (inaudible) actually looks as if it', you know, no worse than it was two weeks ago in America when you
look at the latest poll.
BREMMER: The fact that 45 percent of Americans continue to support President Trump after 18 months of the most negative and confrontational
election that the country has ever seen speaks for the fact that you should not underestimate either the president or the people around him.
And I think, you know, when you do see a lot of the media that argues that Trump can literally
do no right, I think that's one of the reasons why so many Americans have been turning off from a lot of that characterization.
So you are absolutely right to bring that up.
But this is an administration that has gotten in its own way a lot. And it has in part because of poor impulse control on the part of the president.
I mean it is very clear that when he tweets out something that directly fingers the former president, Obama, for wire-tapping him and the head of
the FBI feels compelled within 24 hours to tell the Department of Justice,
you've got to call it off because you're saying I did something illegal. I did no such thing. Like you kind of clearly - everyone around
Trump wishes that he would listen more to the capable advisers that are around him.
ANDERSON: Appreciate that. Taking a very short break. Viewers, back after this.
[10:35:58] ANDERSON: Meantime, in a highly unusual meeting, top brass from the U.S., Turkey and Russian militaries have been sitting down in southern
Turkey to discuss a conflict in Syria.
Turkey's prime minister says all three nations need to work together to clear Syria of terrorists.
Nick Paton Walsh has been following the talks from Beirut and joins us now - Nick.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Becky, a devastatingly complicated situation, but it really shows you the fact that these three
different militaries are sitting around the same table, how much the battlefield in Syria has changed. Notably absent is the Syrian regime, but
it is they who made many of these changes happen when they kicked the rebels out of eastern Aleppo.
The reason these three militaries sitting around that table is because they were recently on very different sides of the fight, but now they find
themselves very close proximity around a key town of Manbij in northern Syria.
To recap, the Americans have been fighting alongside the Kurds against ISIS. The Kurds are in northern Syria. But the Americans have also been
fighting alongside some Syrian moderate rebels that have Turkish, support, also fighting against ISIS.
Remember, too, that Turkey is the enemy of the Kurds and vice versa. So, American very much on two sides of the same fight there, both pointed
ISIS are a separate part of that equation in northern Syria, too, also on the battlefield. And fourth and finally is Russia and the Syrian regime,
who it seems are taking ground back from those Kurdish militia with American support in order to try to calm the situation down, say some of
the Kurdish militia.
The fact, though, they're all, in the words of one U.S. official within rifle range of each other is perhaps to some deeply troubling. The reason
for this meeting, which the Americans say is about deconflicting, making sure there aren't terrible mistakes that may occur in a volatile place like
But step back, if you can understand all I've just explained about how complicated it is there, we are in a very different world from where we
were two or three months ago where it was Syrian rebels, the regime and fight against ISIS.
So much changing so fast there, Becky.
ANDERSON: Nick Paton Walsh on the story out of Beirut in Lebanon for you today.
Well, a Syrian refugee in Germany has lost a highly publicized lawsuit against Facebook. Now, it all started with this selfie when Anas Modamani
(ph) posed with the German chancellor Angela Merkel. Well, the photo quickly went viral, but it wasn't long before his image appeared in fake
news stories claiming that he was a terrorist.
He decided to take the social media giant to court for not removing all of the fake news reports.
Let's bring in CNN'a Atika Shubert for more on this. She's joining us out of Berlin.
Atika, we understand the German court rejected this injunction just hours ago. What was their argument, and did this come as a surprise?
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I don't think it was a surprise certainly to Facebook. They put out a statement very quickly
saying they were pleased with the decision. But it will be, certainly, a disappointment to Anas Modamani (ph) and his family who really feel that
their lives have been turned upside down by this fake news that's been published about him.
You know, what the court said is essentially Facebook did not create this fake news. You know, taking this selfie and it was then put on to these
fake news articles, claiming that he was a terrorist in a number of attacks. This is patently false. And he was looking to have these
articles removed from Facebook.
Now, Facebook did remove some of them, but found it impossible to remove all of them.
Now, what the courts said was that basically as long as Facebook has tried to search for these
fake news articles and taken them down where technically feasible and without -- where there was a reasonable cost, then Facebook has been
following the law.
But absolutely this will be tough for Modamani (ph) and his family. You know, they check their mail for security. Their whole world is turned
upside down because they feel that they might be threatened by this fake news that's out there. In fact, they have received threats online as a
So, we are waiting to hear back from his lawyer and from Modamani (ph) himself. Once we get anything, we'll get back to you, Becky.
[10:40:16] ANDERSON: Atika Shubert on the story for you. Atika is out of Berlin. Thank you.
Live from Abu Dhabi, this is Connect the World.
Coming up for you this hour, education may be the key to breaking chains of slavery among India's kids. We take a look at a nonprofit that's tackling
the issue one village at a time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The bottom line, education is the greatest vaccination against slavery all over the world, and it is working miracles
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, these are bricks and they are heavy and they are dust Even as an adult it is actually quite difficult to hold them for any period
of time, let alone work with them day in and day out.
But in northern India countless kids are forced to make ones just like this, just like that in conditions beyond most of our imaginations. Well,
now aid workers tell CNN they are making meaningful breakthroughs against that kind of slavery -- and it is slavery. CNN's Ravi Agrawal introduces
us to one of those efforts.
RAVI AGRAWAL, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Meet Sitara. She just loves to dance.
AGRAWAL: At schoolyard games, she more than holds her own.
AGRAWAL: In the classroom, she's a top student.
Sitara is Hindi for star. She is a shining success story of a group called Schools for Freedom.
AGRAWAL: This is a school of boys and girls who are singing, reciting poetry and enjoying themselves. They have rich futures ahead of them.
When you speak to them, though, you learn that some of them are hiding dark pasts that no child and no family should ever have to go through.
Just one year ago, Sitara was working at a brick kiln like this one. It was dusty unforgiving work, she says. It was bonded debt labor. But let's call
it what it really is, slavery. And its prevalent across these parts of this Indian state with 200 million people.
AGRAWAL: Sitara's parents were enslaved there, too. They haven't forgotten their own daughter was sucked into bonded labor to help pay back their
(SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
[10:45:10] "They used to beat me at the brick kiln," Sitara says. She hated her life then.
Here's Sitara's mom. She isn't sure how old her daughter is, 13, she reckons. Sitara thinks she is 15. Time blurs out here. Her mother tears up
when she recalls watching her daughter be beaten.
"What can you do when you are in debt," she says?
A big part of the solution is awareness and education. And that is a battle led by people like Peggy Callahan.
She is the co-founder of Voices for Freedom, which runs and sponsors Schools for Freedom.
(on camera): How important are these schools for villages like this?
PEGGY CALLAHAN, CO-FOUNDER, VOICES FOR FREEDOM: They're all important. They're all important because the parents will risk everything to try to
get their kids educated. So they will move forward even when they are afraid of the slave holder when the slave holder is threatening them they
have the courage to do what it takes to free themselves and get their kids educated. Because the bottom line, education is the greatest vaccination
against slavery. All over the world. And it is working miracles here.
[08:25:01] AGRAWAL (voice-over): The miracle isn't complete. At this village we visited, Callahan says 84 people have found a way out of bonded
labor. A few dozen are still trapped. How do they get freed? Sometimes they pay off their debt, sometimes charities intervene, and sometimes it can be
just understanding their rights and just saying no.
One of the people still enslaved is this boy Papu (ph), who is just 12. We're not showing his face.
Here, he tells me the masters at the brick kiln beat him if he skips a day at work. He shows me his fingers. They are almost sandpapered by brick. He
has cuts and callouses. When he walks, his bare feet betray the scars of his life.
AGRAWAL: But they haven't broken his spirit. Papu (ph) tells me he sneaks in an hour a day at the classroom. Sometimes when the other kids line up to
wash their hands, he joins in. The children get free hot lunches at the school.
It's a marvel to see these kids fight the odds and still smile.
At night, Papu (ph) practices the alphabet in dim light. He dreams of being a teacher someday.
And here's Sitara again, cooking for the family. She knows her parents need to work late. Every day is hard in this village. Even when they're free,
there are a million reasons for these children to just give up, to despair, and yet...
AGRAWAL: The school is an example for Sitara. The Sitaras are an example for the Papu (ph). This is what freedom looks like. This is what can be.
Ravi Agrawal, CNN, in rural (inaudible), India.
ANDERSON: Well, bonded labor has been banned in India since 1976. It is, though, still widespread. The Global Slavery Index estimates that more
than 18 million people in India are enslaved, and the number of bonded laborers could be much higher, in the tens of millions.
We reached out to the Indian foreign ministry to join us on this show tonight to talk about the report that Ravi filed but they were unable to
put anybody up for us.
Someone, though, who is working on the front lines of this issue is Sarah Mount. She is with Anti-Slavery International and is leading a project
across three Indian states that tackles bonded labor in brick kilns. She joins me now from CNN in London.
And I know, Sarah, you have firsthand experience of what life is like particularly for so many kids in this work. Just describe what you have
SARAH MOUNT, ANTI-SLAVERY INTERNATIONAL: Sure. Thank you for having me on this show today to talk about this very important and prevalent issue in
The conditions within the brick kilns are very, very harsh. I've visited quite a few brick kilns in my time at Anti-Slavery in India and we have
partners visiting the brick kilns every day in our project.
The conditions, extremely harsh. There are long working hours. Most of the workers are in debt so they've taken a debt before they go to leave and
work in the brick kilns. They come and work with their families, so a large population of the workers in the brick kiln are actually children.
So about 35 percent of the population in brick kilns are children. And of this amount about 70 percent are working and not accessing education. They
live in quite difficult conditions.
Sorry. Sorry. Go ahead.
[10:50:27] ANDERSON: Go on. No, no, yeah, and you're pointing out some incredibly important information. When I said right, what I wanted to do
was jump in and share with you Papu's story that Ravi ad highlighted because he is one of those kids. He is 12, still working in a brick kiln,
getting himself into school at lunch time so that he can sort of share in what's going on.
I mean I think the point you're making very well is, you know, people like - kids like Papu, there are thousands and thousands like him.
So what is the Indian government doing? What more should it do? And how quickly will we begin to see the end of stories like Papu's?
MOUNT: The Indian government has introduced a lot of laws over the past decades that relate to bonded labor and child labor, including the Right to
Education Act for Children, which sets out that it is a right for every child between the ages of six to 14 to have a
free education. And in fact, it is a compulsory education.
So there is an obligation on the Indian government to ensure that all children within this age
group are accessing primary education.
There are also rights in relation to early childhood services for children that are under six as well, and government schemes set out in relation to
this; however, despite the law being there set out at the national level within India, it is implemented at the state level, and implementation has
not been strong in India. So there are many gaps in implementation that need to be filled.
and the government needs to really prioritize ensuring that children from work sites such as brick kilns that are isolated and that belong to
families that are severely marginalized within India and that are subject to poverty and landlessness that they are able to access schools when
they're within the brick kiln work site.
ANDERSON: Sarah you make a very good point. And CNN we hope doing our bit to ensure that governments step up. Sarah Mount is in London for you. And
as an organization, we are teaming up -- thank you, Sarah -- with young people around the globe for a unique student-led day of action
against modern day slavery.
March 14 is My Freedom Day. These students in Europe told us what freedom means to them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE; To me, freedom means having control of my own body and happiness.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that freedom is everything, and it should not be based on where you are from, what you are doing or where you're going.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means the right to be safe, to be happy and to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, tell us what freedom means to you. This is about you, viewers. Send us your answer via text, photo or video across social media
as you saw there using the hashtag #myfreedomday.
Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson. We will be right after this.
[10:55:10] ANDERSON: Right. We want to look in your Parting Shots at how being gay can still be extremely challenging in many parts of the world.
Have a listen to this.
ANDERSON: wel, it may be a tale as old as time, but some people won't be saying "be our guest" to Disney's new film "Beauty and the Beast." They
object not to the relationship between a woman and a monster, but because this character briefly dances with another man. This is why a Russian
politician wants the movie banned.
Russian law forbids showing what it calls guy propaganda to minors. There's been controversy in the United States as well. A theater in
Alabama is refused to show the film saying it goes against bible teachings.
Well, there are thousands of comments on Facebook from supporters and opponents. You can decide for yourself when the movie is released later
Well, before we go this evening, do remember to use our Facebook page if you haven't already,
like us. Keep up with all of the stories that we've been doing on the show, away from the show. And if you have missed any of the interviews,
you can find them there like our latest with Sultan al Qassimi on art in the Arab world. That is our at, facebook.com/cnnconnect.
If you would rather be with us on Twitter, you can follow me @beckycnn. Send me a tweet about what you thought of tonight's show, any of the
content that we provide for you. It is always great to hear from you.
Right, I'm Becky Anderson. That was Connect the World from the team working with
us here in Abu Dhabi, those working with us in the States and around the world. Thank you for watching. CNN of course continues after this very
short break. So don't go away.