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Students Stand Up to Slavery; Netherlands Prepares for Vote amid Spat with Turkey; U.K. Ready to Trigger Brexit; Europe's Top Court Rules Employers Can Ban Headscarves; U.S. Envoy Trying to Restart Middle East Process; Students Organize on Freedom Day. Aired 11a-Noon ET

Aired March 14, 2017 - 11:00:00   ET







BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Raw passion, inspiration and drive from our youngest people there and they are not alone; millions of others around the

world are getting in on what is a very special day here at CNN, My Freedom Day. We are so excited to be doing something that no other network can,

inspiring countless kids across the globe to fight modern-day slavery.

It is a global crime affecting every country -- let me repeat, every country, even yours and even you. We are determined to help stop this

scourge on humanity, slavery, all today, every hour, we'll be showing you how we've been helping youngsters to help make a difference.

This morning, I was at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi. Have a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the new generation, we're the ones, we're the children, the children of the world. And when we grow up, we want to be

like you, we want to be the ones that spread awareness, the ones that make a change, not just stand there and talk.


ANDERSON: We're going to bring you a lot more on that very soon. You can see the ticker at the bottom of your screen. Keep a close eye on all My

Freedom Day activities.

Now, though, to the Netherlands, because there's a major story there you need to know about; right in the middle of a big row with Turkey, Dutch

voters go to the polls Wednesday to elect a new parliament. The Dutch prime minister says the domino effect of the wrong sort of populism must


But the opposition leader Geert Wilders has risen from fringe player to front-runner on an anti-Muslim. The two squared off in what was a highly

anticipated debate last night and will make their final pitches in a few hours in a roundtable debate.

Hala Gorani is in Amsterdam, she's joined by the deputy mayor of the city - - Hala.

HALA GORANI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, am I in Amsterdam. I'm actually on a moving barge on a canal with this beautiful city unfolding before our very

eyes, coming to you live on CNN.

It is a very important time for the Netherlands, a very important chapter as the eyes of the world are on this election. You mentioned the domino

effect. There was a big shock of Brexit, Becky. There was also the election of Donald Trump, that very few polls had predicted.

And now we have a situation in Holland, very different political system and landscape, but where the anti-immigrant, anti-Islam candidate, Geert

Wilders is doing very well in the polls.

As you mentioned, I'm joined by the deputy mayor of Amsterdam, Kajsa Ollongren (ph), who's with me here on this moving barge.

A first for you as well. You've been on a barge before, you've done live TV before but have never combined the two. Welcome to CNN.

How important is this election for your country tomorrow and why?

KAJSA OLLONGREN (PH), DEPUTY MAYOR, AMSTERDAM: Very important, very important. I mean you can choose between openness, confidence in the

future within the European Union or nostalgia, looking back at the past and things that were better then.

GORANI: You're with the D-66 party, which is a pro-European party. You believe Netherlands' place is in the European Union.

OLLONGREN (PH): We believe that we're stronger together within the European Union. I think if you see what's happening in the world -- you

mentioned Brexit, you mentioned Trump. I think Europe, we have to be united to stand stronger.

GORANI: Why is Geert Wilders doing so well in the polls?

OLLONGREN (PH): Well, is he really doing that well?

I mean, actually he's been going down a bit --

GORANI: Up to potentially 20 percent of the vote in what is a tolerant, open country.

OLLONGREN (PH): Yes and we are a tolerant and open country and we have a long tradition of openness and also coalition building. Geert Wilders has

been around for a long time. As a politician, his party has been around for a long time. I think that all serious parties have ruled him out for a


So, yes, he does have support but I don't think --

GORANI: He's not already won. The prime minister's rhetoric has shifted. He's saying things that could be interpreted as being anti-immigrant, as

being according to some even anti-Islam. There was this big --


GORANI: -- row with Turkey where the government refused landing rights to the foreign minister. Some (INAUDIBLE) have said this is just politics.

How do you respond?

OLLONGREN (PH): Well, no, I think there was a chain of events that led to this very unfortunate escalation. And I think that all parties united

behind the government and the measures that they had to take, also because of security issues. So I don't think that it's that --


GORANI: -- playing politics?

OLLONGREN (PH): Everything is always about politics. Also for Turkey.

GORANI: We spoke to the foreign minister of the Netherlands yesterday. We asked them for his reaction, because the Turks have not minced their words,

they've actually said that your government is acting in the way Nazis would have acted. This is what the foreign minister had to say to that.


DUTCH FOREIGN MINISTER: Frankly I think it is extremely insulting to the Dutch government and also to the Dutch people. We were the victims of

Nazism during the Second World War. Many people have been killed, being the bombardments on Rotterdam.

And then to compare decisions which we took and even we tried to accommodate the Turkish foreign minister to have a meeting in the consulate

in Amsterdam. But he started to say, well, if I don't get an agreement quickly I'm going to get into sanctions to the Netherlands.

So we had no choice than to take this decision. To compare that with Nazism I think is (INAUDIBLE) an insult to us and I hope he doesn't mean



GORANI: So obviously, the foreign minister there, saying this was insulting to the Dutch but also saying we need to deescalate this.

How do you deescalate this dispute?

OLLONGREN (PH): By staying very calm. And I think this is not helping. He's really adding insult to injury. And that's a very bad thing. But we

in the Netherlands have to focus. We have to focus on the situation here. We have to focus on Europe, we're united in Europe.

We have support by the other European countries. And that's more important to me now than the rhetoric from Turkey.

GORANI: All right, Kajsa Ollongren (ph), thank you very much, the deputy mayor of Amsterdam. Great being in this city. Could be a little sunnier.

Hopefully we'll get that in the next 24 hours.

Becky, this is setting the scene for you here, a day before this important election and we'll be covering that as well on CNN. For now, back to you

in Abu Dhabi.

ANDERSON: Hala Gorani on a moving barge -- it just may be a first -- in Amsterdam. Thank you, Hala.

During the Brexit campaign we heard from British fishermen, who said their industry is tangled in a net of E.U. bureaucracy. As CNN's Atika Shubert

now reports, the sentiment is similar in the Netherlands.


ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dutch fishing trawler Gritchabos (ph) easily cuts through the North Sea. But

fishing is a tough job. Grueling conditions, long hours, Jan Deboer's (ph) whole family is in the fishing industry and they have always voted for the

same party -- until now.

JAN DEBOER (PH), FISHERMAN: We have always -- the Christian Party (ph) but now we think Geert Wilders is the only party, the fight to the European


SHUBERT (voice-over): For Deboer (ph), the problem is E.U. regulations on fishing. He takes special issue with a law that says he must count every

fish he catches against a mandated quota.

Even the smaller fish, he believes, should be allowed back into the water to keep fish stocks up.

DEBOER (PH): The slump in all the other things here is, I -- we cannot handle that. It's, for me, the important thing is for -- just the rules.

We want to fishing and our (INAUDIBLE) children want to fishing.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Fishing researcher William Dehayer (ph) tells me it's less about fish and more about Wilders' call to ban the Muslim holy

book, the Quran.

SHUBERT: Do you know who you'll be voting for this election and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, for sure, no doubt about it. I will vote only Wilders, he is the only one who is having the courage to tell the people

what's going on in our country.

We're having the feeling that we are losing our rules, our identity.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Dutch identity is strong in the fishing village of Urk (ph). Foreigners are a rarity. Wilders' campaign posters are visible

in some neighborhoods and some here, like Tony Regnera (ph), believe migrants and refugees are getting unfair benefits.

He gets up early every day to pack and deliver the fresh catch, mostly to Asian food restaurants. And when he drives into the cities, he resents

what he sees.

TONY REGNERA (PH), FISH SHIPPER: Every day I come in big cities, in Rotterdam and Gouda (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) and (INAUDIBLE). They're all

wearing Canada Goose jackets. I don't have one. For 600 euro, I can't pay it and I can't pay it. And I'm a working man. It's got to be the other

way around.

SHUBERT (voice-over): Last year the Netherlands took in more than 9,000 refugees. Asylum seekers here do --


SHUBERT (voice-over): -- receive benefits. Basic housing, up to $60 a week and the possibility of a job but only for 24 weeks in a year. And 75

percent of that salary is reclaimed by the government to pay for upkeep.

But Regnera (ph) says the government should be taking care of its own before allowing others in.

The average fisherman here makes a little more than $2,000 a month, according to government statistics, a salary that hasn't changed much in

the last decade.

REGNERA (PH): Immigrants all coming in and they get a better life. And they get a better life than the working man. They don't -- they're not

pushed to do anything with their life. They're not pushed to get a job or, it's just -- I'm not talking about freeloading or something like that.

I just mean you're here, you're welcome and -- but when are you going back?

SHUBERT (voice-over): These Dutch fishermen pride themselves on their family traditions and hard work. But they're also angry and frustrated.

Every day, they cast their nets. Election Day is their one chance to cast their votes -- Atika Shubert, CNN, in the Netherlands North Sea.


ANDERSON: Well, while the Dutch are waiting to make up their minds, Britain getting on with its monumental decision to leave the European

Union, the bill giving Prime Minister Theresa May the official go-ahead has passed through Parliament and just needs the signature of Queen Elizabeth


Now Britain can then trigger what's called Article 50 and begin these tricky divorce negotiations. Scottish first minister's call for an

independent referendum could upset any timetable. CNN's Phil Black outside the Houses of Parliament in London for you.

The question is, Phil, when will the triggering of this Article 50 happen?

Is it any clearer at this point?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for some six months now, Becky, we've heard the prime minister repeat her mantra that it would take place by the

end of March. She says it's still on track to do that. But she's really cutting it pretty fine, going down to the wire.

It was suspected that it could have happened as early as today because as you touched on, as of last night, both Houses of Parliament agreed on the

final wording of a bill that authorizes the government to do just that, begin the formal process of that two-year divorce proceedings, exiting the

European Union.

It's not happening today and when Theresa May spoke in the Parliament, only a short time ago earlier today, she indicated that it could still be --

potentially be weeks away before we do see that historic moment. Take a listen now to what she said in Parliament a short time ago.


THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We will be a strong, self-governing, global Britain with control once again over our borders and our laws. And

we will use this moment of opportunity to build a stronger economy and a fairer society.


BLACK: Now Theresa May also commented on that other new issue, that big issue that must be coloring all of her Brexit calculations, and that the

Scottish government's declared intention to hold yet another referendum on Scottish independence, possibly as early as late next year.

Now she hasn't said no to that possibility just yet. But she has made it very clear that she doesn't think it's necessary, that she believes the

Scottish government is playing politics and that she believes it can only create uncertainty and division. The key issue, though, is the timing.

If she does agree to another referendum, when will it happen?

It almost certainly can't be soon as next year, because that's when the British government will be deeply involved in those very complex, difficult

Brexit negotiations -- Becky.

ANDERSON: Breaking down what is a very complex story for you, Phil Black in London this hour, thank you, Phil.

We started this show telling you about CNN's My Freedom Day, which is, of course, today. We told you how important it is. And the British prime

minister herself agrees. Here she is in the British Parliament, just a little time ago.


MAY: It is certainly the case that we will continue to prioritize the work that we do in relation to modern slavery and to supporting the victims of

this vile trade but also breaking the criminals who are making so much money out of this terrible trade and the damage and abuse that they bring

to individuals.


ANDERSON: Well, we've got a lot more on Freedom Day. Stand by.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, guys. We're going to go ahead and get started.

ANDERSON (voice-over): The new generation gets active and CNN gives them a platform. We have --


ANDERSON: -- a lot more on our multi-country, multi-continent project against modern-day slavery. Stay with us, that's next, taking a very short

break, back after this.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom to me means everyone can choose what they want to do. It means there will be opportunity for everyone. Every child

can do what they want and enjoy the (INAUDIBLE).


ANDERSON: It's the new generation there and with it new approaches to what is an age-old problem. I'm talking about the scourge of modern-day

slavery, which has left millions living in misery worldwide and here at CNN, we make no bones about our project. We are proud to be bringing you a

whole new way of coverage this story and promoting change. And we couldn't do it without the help of thousands of youngsters around the world.

Today is My Freedom Day and we're using our global spotlight to tackle the problem in an extremely powerful way, shining a light on young people who

are bolding raising their voices and demanding change.

Take a look.



ANDERSON (voice-over): A celebration of freedom.

These sixth graders are not the most seasoned of campaigners. Most of them are only 11 years old. But they are among the most enthusiastic. It's a

quality that's in abundance here at the American Community School in Abu Dhabi.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think young people are important because we're the future and the more young people know about what's going on, the more

they're going to want to change the world when they grow up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's important that people know about what's going on with human trafficking and all of that and writing their opinions

about it.

ANDERSON: You've been talking about it. You know that it's up to you guys as much as it is up to an organization like CNN to raise awareness.

So what's your message to other people of your age?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're the new generation, we're the ones, we're the children, the children of the world. And when we grow up, we want to be

like you, we want to be the ones that spread awareness, the ones that make a change, not just stand there and talk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This thing needs to be over. Like we need to finish human trafficking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that's kind of the first step of introducing people to the issue so that later they can take on roles as -- whether it's

diplomats or journalists or activists.

ANDERSON: This is one of nine schools that CNN broadcast live from and one of more than 100 around the world that took part in a global day of

awareness and action against modern-day slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My province is --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- known for its beautiful citadel, its magnificent architecture.

ANDERSON: Students reflected on freedom and the lack of it, exploring it through art, design and theater.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I turn around to tell my mama that we're finally here.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to bring those stories to life and bring attention to these stories, because not a lot of people know about them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think modern slavery has affected people in two ways.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Raising awareness might seem like a small deal and it's not something that is really powerful. But it is because once people

know about these things, it continues. And it has to start somewhere.

ANDERSON (voice-over): Educating themselves and others about an horrific problem, all the while exploring possible solutions.

ANDERSON: This is what Freedom Day is all about, youngsters in the UAE and around the globe taking a moment to come together to fight this global

poison, finding a common cause and, with it, finding their voices -- Becky Anderson --


ANDERSON: Three, two, one --



ANDERSON: This is a truly global problem requiring a global solution, which is why CNN is covering this day of action in cities around the world.

I'm delighted to say that my colleague, Shasta Darlington, is in Rio de Janeiro for you this hour and our Elena Giokos is in Hertfordshire in

England. Let's get kicked off then in Rio. Go on.

Who have you got with you, Shasta, and what do they say?

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, I'm here at the American School in Rio de Janeiro, where the high school students

have really sparked this campaign to raise awareness. I'm going to take it straight to them. Let's first talk to Olivia.

Could you tell us, with the activities have started, what's going on?

OLIVIA, STUDENT: Right now, they're starting to set up. They're going to stand for freedom for 45 minutes. That's one of our activities. The

others they're doing in many classrooms, they're seeing CNN documentaries about modern-day slavery and then they're going to have (INAUDIBLE)

discussions about it, about raising awareness and about the topic in its whole (ph).

And then we also have approbations (ph) about more focused on modern-day slavery in Brazil and awareness and statistics.

DARLINGTON: And so the students right behind us are going to be standing for 45 minutes, is that right?

OLIVIA: That's right. And I think that's one of the most impactful maybe messages we can send. And people, students are coming together for one

cause and really make a message.

DARLINGTON: And, Julia, I know you guys have been doing a lot to prepare for this.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing that?

JULIA, STUDENT: Something that really shocked me were not only the numbers but made me realize how close human trafficking is to us. It's closer to

us than we could possibly imagine.

And I feel like the people here at our school are really privileged and but sometimes live in this bubble that don't let us realize what's happening

around us.

And especially Brazil, that has been abolished, that has abolished slavery for over 130 years, it's still been practiced in Brazil and it's a really

bad issue here. And I feel like this day really made me realize how close this issue is to us. And it's been amazing.

DARLINGTON: I guess the estimate, there are about 160,000 people living in slavery in Brazil, when you look at the businesses where they employ slave

labor, it's clothes, it's the beef we eat that's coming from the Amazon.

Are you talking about this with the other students?

JULIA: Yes, definitely, we're talking about how companies everywhere still practice this. Companies that we purchase items daily on a daily basis and

this materialistic world that we live in. We might be purchasing items that are made by these slaves. And we don't even realize the dirty work

that's behind all these products that we've been buying.

DARLINGTON: Now, Claudio, this is a one-day affair to raise awareness, I saw that you posted on social media.

What are some of the messages that you think you could get out there so this just doesn't end at the end of the day?

CLAUDIO, STUDENT: We want people to know that it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from. It can affect anyone. Anyone can be a victim

of human trafficking and we would really want other schools in the future to engage in this activity, so we can make a difference in the world.

DARLINGTON: And with your generation, social media is also key. That's something that stays out there.

Do you think this is, these hashtag #MyFreedomDay, end slavery now, do you think this is something that can get legs and can continue even after


CLAUDIO: Absolutely. I think that hashtags are a way to engage young people, to actually learn about something. So that would be and is a

really good idea --


CLAUDIO: -- to help save people.

DARLINGTON: And one of the -- another activity that you were talking about we're going to see shortly is this mural. Tell me a bit about that.

OLIVIA: Yes, so the Global Initiative Networking Club we have at school, we did a mural and it's right by when people pass to go eat lunch. And

it's all about getting -- people are going to paint their hands and put it in the mural to represent how lending a hand and raising awareness for this

issue can really make a difference.

And it's about getting people together.

DARLINGTON: So these are some of the many activities we have going on, Becky. It's been great working with the students, the advisers and the

teachers and a learning process for everyone involved. As you can see, they're very engaged and hopefully this is something that won't end at the

end of today.

ANDERSON: Yes, fascinating and thank you to the students that you've got with you, Shasta, as well.

Let's get to you, Eleni. When I was talking to the kids earlier on, we were discussing that this is a problem that's -- it's all around us, as

Shasta was discussing with the kids that she's -- in Abu Dhabi, in Alabama, in Aberdeen and of course those kids that you are speaking to in

Hertfordshire, which is just north of London in England will have been having those same discussions.

It's not just about kids in indentured labor, in brick kilns in India, is it. It is all around us.

What have they been telling you?

Let's have a listen to them.

ELENI GIOKOS, CNNMONEY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly, Becky. It's everywhere and these students that have now been a lot more aware to the

plight of not only child labor globally but also perhaps on the doorstep. A lot of them were shocked. A lot of them say this is about awareness and

they really want to act.

I've got a few of them with me today, lovely ladies standing by, to give us their thoughts. The reality is that, in Britain, Becky, just to give you a

sense, that human trafficking is up around 240 percent, 250 percent over the last five years.

Those are some of the numbers that people are talking about and saying, well, what can be done to try and end this dark cloud that is hanging over


And a little earlier there was a United Nations simulation of a resolution that was going to be done.

And, Esther, you were part of that, weren't you. And it's all about debating. It's all about getting the action plans together and solutions.

What did you learn from that experience?

ESTHER, STUDENT: Well, I was expecting the resolution to be passed because it was against slavery. But then it wasn't and that highlights, I guess,

the situation in the world as well because that is what we're trying to simulate.

And then also about how difficult it is, because even if people agree that they want a positive outcome, how to reach that can be really hard. It's

hard to work together, even if we all have the same intentions.

GIOKOS: OK. Tell me a little bit about what Freedom Day means to you, what My Freedom Day means to you and also to some of the shocking stories

that you have heard on this journey of awareness.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I didn't really know that modern-day slavery was so close and so nearby to us. Freedom to me is just freedom of speech,

the freedom to be able to organize activities like this at our school, organize and just spread awareness in our local community of everything

that's going on in the world, I guess.

GIOKOS: And you've also, you know, been very touched by some of the stories as well.

What do you plan to do with this new-found awareness going forward?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously the school has highlighted, for example, via its lunches the importance of like (INAUDIBLE) food et cetera and I it

just that the importance of ethical consumption in general. And I thought that perhaps in future we would take more care to look at where our

products are sourced from and try and see if we can advocate against these issues.

GIOKOS: Yes, exactly. This was an interesting activity today, where lunch was very different to the previous days. It was a lot more modest. There

wasn't a big spread on the buffet front. And they saved around a pound per student.

Each meal cost around 60 pence, so that was just one of the big activities. The next activity they've got like bags of color here. They're going to be

starting a color run (ph) a color festival to celebrate freedom, Becky, but also to highlight the plight of children that don't have the same freedoms

that a lot of these students here in Harcourt (ph) College enjoy.

ANDERSON: Eleni and the youngsters with you, we really appreciate it. Thank you. And we have already received 10,000 submissions on Twitter from

people, telling us what freedom means to them. Let us know how you are fighting to end modern-day slavery by posting a photo or video, using the


It is not too late to get involved, folks, at

I'm going to take a short break and bring you the day's news after that.

Students at Hong Kong's International School, writing a song in honor of CNN's My Freedom Day. Before we take a break and as we go to that, have a






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) stand (INAUDIBLE) and tell you and, oh, my people, (INAUDIBLE) hear me, they do not love (INAUDIBLE) unused and


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Powerful words from students who are determined to change the world. Today is March the 14th and all day,

CNN is marking #MyFreedomDay, inspiring countless kids across the globe to fight modern-day slavery.


ANDERSON: Europe's top court has ruled that companies can ban their employees from wearing religious or political symbols in the workplace

(INAUDIBLE) headscarves -- but only if a ban on religious symbols is already in place.

This case concerned two Muslim women, one in France, the other in Belgium, who were sacked for refusing to remove their headscarves. CNN's Erin

McLaughlin joins me now with more details from Brussels -- Erin.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Becky, that's right. This is really the first ruling of its kind that we've seen from the European Court

of Justice, deciding today --


MCLAUGHLIN: -- that private companies within the E.U. can ban employees from any outward signs of their religion, political or philosophical views,

which of course would include the headscarves, the court stipulating that there are important limitations to any potential ban as part of this


They said that any sort of ban needs to be systematic, meaning that it applies to all religions, all political views, also stipulating that it has

to have a legitimate aim. Any company implementing a ban needs to have, quote, "a legitimate aim."

And in the case of a court decision decided today, that aim was to present an outward face of neutrality to its customers; the employee in question

was a receptionist. The court deciding, though, that that company needed to find work or try to find work for the employee in question at another

part of the company.

The other case that the court considered today had to do with a French woman who was fired for wearing a headscarf after a customer complained,

the court deciding that that was not a legitimate aim, that companies cannot fire their employees for wearing religious symbols, based on

customer complaints.

This is really seen in the E.U. as critical legal guidance to be fed back to the national court systems throughout the E.U.

ANDERSON: Erin McLaughlin for you out of Brussels this afternoon. It is 4:36 there, 7:36 in the afternoon in the UAE, where we are broadcasting the

show from.

U.S. President Donald Trump turning his attention to the Middle East today. He's due to meet next hour with the Saudi deputy crown prince at the White

House at a working lunch closed to the media. But we are expecting them to focus on oil, oil prices and production and regional conflicts, including

the wars in Syria and in Iraq.

Meantime, the president's special envoy is trying to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Jason Greenblatt (ph) is

in the West Bank, a day after visiting Jerusalem.

Later this month, a big focus will be defeating ISIS. The U.S. will host dozens of countries to discuss coalition strategy moving forward.

Also on the U.S. president's plate, what to do about the Iran nuclear deal. He promised during the campaign to tear it up. But so far it is still


A lot to talk about. Let's bring in Ellie Geranmayeh (ph), a senior policy fellow for the Middle East North Africa program at the European Council on

Foreign Relations, just wrapping up a tour of the region.

Also joined by my colleague tonight, John Defterios, CNNMoney emerging markets editor and just recently hot off a flight from China, where he has

been for about a month.

And let me start with you.

Are we watching this region's dynamics shifting fundamentally, do you think?

ELLIE GERANMAYEH (PH), EUROPEAN COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, there's certainly a lot going on and one of the dynamics that I've been

watching very closely since November's results is how people in the region are actually positioning themselves.

These would be pretty unpredictable voter results in the U.S. A lot of regional actors, particularly in this part of the world, (INAUDIBLE) Abu

Dhabi and (INAUDIBLE) have been voting (ph) and actually supporting in some way (INAUDIBLE). So there had been a period of time where everyone has

been trying to figure out what the Trump administration means.

But actually, from my conversations in (INAUDIBLE), no one really knows (INAUDIBLE) --


ANDERSON: Well, it's interesting because we spoke last time I think on this show right before Trump walked into office. And I think it's fair to

say at that point you were a little unsure about the impact that he would have on this region, Iran in particular.

I agree with you, I think it is still very unclear at this point, to the stakeholders in this region, about where the Trump administration is

positioning itself when it comes to the GCC and the wider Middle East.

From what you've heard at this point, let's get a little bit more specific, what's your best guess on Iran?

GERANMAYEH (PH): So I spent some time in Washington recently trying to speak to folks in government and outside of government now about where the

trajectory is going. On the nuclear deal in particular, it seems to me, my impression is that the new administration has educated itself.

It has had some sober intelligence briefings and actually placed itself on a trajectory where they're not going to walk away from this deal.

ANDERSON: Do think the demise of Michael Flynn, who was an incredible hawk when it came to Iran and that deal, do you think his demise has helped

change that rhetoric, if, indeed, that is what's happening?

GERANMAYEH (PH): I actually saw the shift happening even before his office removal.


GERANMAYEH (PH): But certainly the rhetoric and the positioning he took created quite a poisonous environment for this deal to survive. And his

removal may have helped reduce some of the tensions.

ANDERSON: Well, what happens with Iran and how the U.S. positions itself with regard to Iran will be hugely important and impactful for Saudi


John, Saudi's deputy crown prince is dropping into what (INAUDIBLE) some lunch in about an hour from now.

What' top of his agenda, do you think?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, of course Iran and the nuclear agreement and what President Trump actually does while he's in

office is right near the top of the list. But I think you can boil down the Saudi position in both oil terms and security terms, and I would

suggest when you talk about security it's military security and financial security.

So when it comes to oil, many people overlook the fact that the U.S. still imports about a million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia. But right now,

they don't see eye to eye on the resurgence of the U.S. shale production. It was interesting that Hala Nalfali (ph), the oil minister, just last week

while he was in Houston at the very large conference there, said we don't want any free riders on our agreement, meaning that Saudi Arabia and Russia

worked on their deal for a better part of eight months in 2016.


ANDERSON: -- the deal to cut production.

DEFTERIOS: -- to cut production and the output --

ANDERSON: -- push up the price.

DEFTERIOS: -- yes. And then you see this surge of U.S. shale producers, counting 80,000 barrels last month, that are almost at 5 million barrels a

day already. So that's going to be a thorny issue going forward.

And when I talk about security here, military security, Saudi Arabia spends $87 billion a year on security. It's about 13 percent of GDP. It's right

near the top of the world. The U.S., China and then Saudi Arabia.

They buy weapons from the United States. They want that to stay intact. But on the financial security what I'm talking about here is the JASTA

legislation, which opens the door for U.S. citizens to come back and perhaps sue Saudi Arabia for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

That hasn't been talked about recently, Becky. It could be back on the table. Saudi Arabia has put on $750 billion of the U.S. investment and

said, look, if you don't clarify JASTA, we could pull that out of the market. That's a big question mark but that was on the table before.

ANDERSON: And this will be interesting because if President Trump -- to both of you -- ends up being as transactional a president as many people

have suggested he will be, given his business background -- and certainly not a lot of what you hear from him sounds very transactional -- then the

Saudis' positioning on, you know, isn't about oil, our financial security and our military security, it should be a relatively easy relationship,

shouldn't it?

You've also just come back from China, where (INAUDIBLE) crown prince's father, King Salman, is on a huge visit.

So where's the positioning here when it comes to Saudi? With the deputy crown prince in Washington and you've got King Salman himself on this Asian



DEFTERIOS: Not by accident, as a matter of fact. We often talked about the Obama pivot to Asia. This is the Saudi Arabian pivot to Asia. It's

very clear why. And there's a couple of key issues.

Number one is oil, again. Japan is number one in the import list for Saudi oil. Then China, they sign $13 billion of gas deals with Indonesia and

Malaysia. Not by accident; Indonesia is the most populated Muslim economy in the world.

And I think it's important for Saudi Arabia to say, look, we want to do trade, we want to have partnerships with you. So very symbolic. The

deputy crown prince goes to Washington; the king spends a full month with an entourage of 1,500 people, harvesting business -- and they can probably

do part of that listing for Saudi Aramco in Tokyo as well. So they want to keep that market warm.


To both of you, let's get you back ASAP, as soon as -- when you are back in region and John is --


ANDERSON: -- John is around a bit more often.

But, Ellie, next time you're back, this is great, let's continue this conversation again here on CONNECT THE WORLD.

Live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD with me, Becky Anderson. The fight against modern-day slavery impacts all of us. We are

here at CNN, getting involved with everybody in our effort today, which is My Freedom Day -- just ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freedom is living with no fear, the ability to think and to act whatever a person likes and how a person likes with no fear or

discrimination or to have their rights taken from them.








ANDERSON (voice-over): For this artist, a paintbrush doesn't even enter into the picture. His name is Andrew Magdi (ph). He works not too far

from here in Abu Dhabi. Just up in Dubai, he uses the sand to craft his drawings and this one comes with a powerful plea to mark My Freedom Day.

Stop bullying.

Kids who already feel victimized can be among the most vulnerable to human traffickers. It's a problem we are doing everything we can to fight on

CNN's My Freedom Day.

Thousands and thousands of students from every corner of the globe are making that a reality with us. We've been going to them in cities around

the globe. Millions of you have been coming to us on Twitter, making My Freedom Day a popular topic on the social sites today.

My colleague, Lynda Kinkade, is at one of the schools taking part in our efforts today, Atlanta International School.

Lynda, what are students doing there to help spread the message?

LYNDA KINKADE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Becky. Well, at this school this is a school, the Atlanta International School, which is at the forefront in

the fight against human trafficking. Unlike many schools around the world today, these students are well aware of this issue.

They actually started a club specifically dealing with this issue back in 2011. It was the idea of a couple of students, they meet once a week, they

discuss ways to raise money for victims of human trafficking and discuss these issues amongst their peers.

They also go down to the local government building and lobby lawmakers. We returned from a seventh grade class a short time ago, where they were

decorating paper plates. I have some of the paper plates behind me as well.

They're describing what freedom means to them. Some of the plates which stood out to me, "Freedom is peace to me," "Freedom means being able to

express your ideas." Freedom means traveling, ideas, freedom to religion.

These are just a few of the plates that are currently on the stage of this auditorium. This auditorium will be a forum for a couple of panelists

tonight, a community forum to discuss human trafficking.

Now one of the students behind this human trafficking campaign I have with me, is Charlotte Jones, she's 18 years old. She's one of the leaders of

this club.

Just tell me what you've learned, being part of this club about human trafficking.

CHARLOTTE JONES, STUDENT CLUB LEADER: I've learned that this is a global issue that affects everybody in this world, especially just labor

trafficking all the things that we consume; a lot of the times, businesses are shortcutting and using victims of labor trafficking to produce a lot of

the goods that we consume.

And so it's very important to be conscious of what we're buying and how we're consuming. And of course, being in Atlanta, we have to be very aware

of the sex trafficking issue. Atlanta is actually one of the biggest hubs for sex trafficking in the world, partly due to the Hartsdale Jackson

Airport, which sees so many different flights from all over the world every day.

So what we're trying to do here is just really raise awareness, because we feel that not enough students and not enough people in our community are

just aware of what's happening.

KINKADE: You've met victims of human trafficking.

What sort of impact did that have on you?

JONES: Well, it makes the issue very real. It makes you sympathize and try to empathize with the person, of course. Such a huge breach of human

rights have occurred and these people need somebody to stand up for them and to rehabilitate them. And to ensure that they have the same

opportunities and as everybody else.

KINKADE: All right, Charlotte Jones, good to have you with us. Keep up the great work.

And tonight, as I mentioned, there will be a forum here, an FBI special agent --


KINKADE: -- a sex trafficking victim as well as some advocacy groups. We'll be here to discuss with the community this issue and how to end it --


ANDERSON: Lynda, thank you.

And thank you to all of our correspondents who have been working today at schools with these students who have been getting involved in

#MyFreedomDay. It's those students who have been helping to spread the word about why it is we need to get rid of this global poison that is

modern-day slavery.

You've been watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Thank you so much for joining us on what is a very special day for us. Let you know what freedom means to

you. You can still get involved, you can always get involved. This project clearly doesn't stop today.

My Freedom Day is important but our modern-day slavery, anti-modern-day slavery project, the Freedom Project, goes on,

We leave you with the voices of some of the kids here in Abu Dhabi, who wrote a song on what freedom means to them.