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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery

Aired January 24, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
By a wide majority, Americans neither approve of the job they're president is doing, nor trust him to handle the war in Iraq. Last night, Mr. Bush asked for patience and one more chance to turn things around. He did not say the war has gone well.

Today, though, during a wide-ranging and sometimes fiery interview that you will only see here on CNN, his vice president did. That's not all Vice President Cheney said when he sat down with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Take a look.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Vice President Dick Cheney, hard-pressed to admit any blunders in the war in Iraq, strikes a defiant tone. In an exclusive interview with CNN, the vice president says, the White House will not budge from its plan to send in more troops, despite a resolution from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opposing the buildup.

RICHARD B. CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It won't stop us, and it would be, I think detrimental from the standpoint of the troops.

BLITZER (on camera): So, you're moving forward no matter what the consequences?

CHENEY: We are moving forward. We are moving forward.

BLITZER: The vice president strongly ruled out the nightmare scenario of a Shiite-led government in Iraq eventually turning against the United States.

CHENEY: Wolf, that's not going to happen.

BLITZER (voice-over): And, despite a recent election that shows a loss of confidence among the American people, Mr. Cheney insists the war in Iraq has gone well.

CHENEY: Well, Wolf, if the history books were written by people who have -- are so eager to write off this effort, to declare it a failure, including many of our friends in the media, the situation obviously would have been over a long time ago. The bottom line is that we have had enormous successes, and we will continue to have enormous successes.

BLITZER: The vice president spared no words for his critics of the war, but he chose his words carefully when asked about a critic from his own party, John McCain.

CHENEY: John is a good man. He -- he and I have known each other a long time, and we agree on many things and disagree on others.

BLITZER (on camera): He said the other day, he said: "The president listened too much to the Vice President. Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the vice president and, most of all, the secretary of defense."

That was John McCain.


BLITZER: Want to react?

CHENEY: Well, I just disagree with him.

BLITZER (voice-over): No tough words for John McCain, but the vice president shot back when asked about his pregnant openly gay daughter, Mary Cheney.

(on camera): Some critics, though, are suggesting -- for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: "Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father doesn't mean it's best for the child."

Do you want to respond to that?

CHENEY: No, I don't.

BLITZER: She's obviously a good daughter. I have interviewed her.

CHENEY: I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren.

And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question.



COOPER: Wolf, Vice President Cheney said you were out of line with the question about his daughter. Were you surprised by his reaction?

BLITZER: I was surprised, because we have discussed this issue in the past. And Mary Cheney herself has written a book about her experiences, openly opposing a constitutional amendment banning same- sex marriage.

I have discussed it with her when she was on my program. I have discussed it with -- with Lynne Cheney when she's been on my program, the -- the -- the -- the wife of the vice president. And I have discussed it with the vice president itself. So, when -- when a group like Focus on the Family comes out with a strong statement very critical of Mary Cheney for deciding to go forward and have this baby, I thought I would just give him a chance to respond and -- and hear what he had to say.

That's why I was surprised when he thought the question was out of line.

COOPER: The vice president's supporters say he is a confident man. His critics will say he is -- he is arrogant.

It he willing to admit any mistakes about the way the war in Iraq has been executed?

BLITZER: The only mistake he admitted in the course of this interview I did with him was that they misunderstood what Saddam Hussein had done over the 30 years or so he was in power, and how the Shia, the Iraqi Shia, had been oppressed, and that's why they're not coming around as quickly to democracy and what the U.S. and other countries would like to see happen in Iraq.

Basically, that was the only mistake that he acknowledged in this interview.

COOPER: So, nothing about the troop levels, which, by now, seems -- just about everybody seems to be saying there weren't enough troops to -- to tackle the insurgency.

BLITZER: No, he didn't acknowledge any other mistakes.

In fact, when I -- when I mentioned that his critics are pointing to blunders over the course of the last three-and-a-half years or so, he -- he rejected the premise, insisting there weren't any blunders, that they were going forward and they were great -- there -- there may have been some mistakes made, but the progress had been significant, and that the whole premise of the notion of blunders was -- was not -- was not accurate.

COOPER: He also said that, if Saddam Hussein had been allowed to stay in power, that he would basically be in an arm's race now, a nuclear arms race, against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

What does he base that on?

BLITZER: I -- I think he bases it on the fact that they were bitter enemies, Saddam Hussein and the Iranians. They went to war in the '80s. Saddam Hussein actually started that war against the Iranians, and -- and that, if the Iranians were moving forward with a nuclear program, it would put automatic pressure on Saddam Hussein to follow through. But I tried to point out -- and I have covered -- I covered the first Gulf War and throughout the period of the '90s, when the vice president, who, himself, was out of office, during the Clinton administration. He and Colin Powell and others who were involved in the first Gulf War, they repeatedly made the point that Saddam Hussein was contained; he was in a box; the U.S. had no-fly zones in the south and the north, and there was really a limited capability of what he could do.

And he rejected that notion now.

COOPER: I want to just talk about the Democrats very briefly -- John Kerry announcing today he's not going to seek the -- the White House.

Were you surprised by the announcement?

BLITZER: I was surprised.

I had interviewed him only about a week or 10 days ago. And he said he was going to make a decision very, very soon. And I was assuming he was going to go forward, because, you know, he didn't lose the last election by all that many votes, about 120,000 votes in Ohio. If he would have carried Ohio, he would have been president of the United States.

So, I -- I assumed he had it in his belly; he really wanted to go forward. I think, when he saw those last poll numbers, and how poorly he was doing right now, and when he spoke to his advisers out there, he came around to the conclusion that there was simply, on the Democratic side, too much competition, and he decided to not run.

COOPER: A lot of strong competition, indeed.

Wolf Blitzer, thanks.

BLITZER: Thank you.


COOPER: Well, if the vice president or anyone else needs a reality check on the war, they can find it on Haifa Street in the heart of Baghdad -- American and Iraqi forces batting Iraqi insurgents, block by block, building by building.

This is the second major battle on Haifa Street this month, a street that American and Iraqi troops cleared more than a year ago, then moved on, only to watch it slip back out of control.

It highlights the problem that leaves Americans so leery about President Bush's plan to send more than 21,000 troops into Iraq, the possibility that it is all too little, too late.

Last night, Mr. Bush called the alternatives to a buildup worse. Today, though, top U.S. lawmakers begged to differ.

Details now from CNN's John Roberts.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Not in the national interest was how the Senate Foreign Relations Committee described the president's plan to put more troops in Iraq, approving a measure to give the idea a rhetorical thumbs down.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: This is not a defeatist resolution. This is not a cut-and-run resolution. We are not talking about cutting off funds, not supporting the troops.

ROBERTS: If it's not defeatist, not cut and run, then what exactly is the bipartisan resolution led by Senators Hagel, Biden and Levin? In practical terms, not much. It strongly opposes a troop increase in Iraq, but it's nonbinding, not an alternative to the president's plan, and would likely do nothing to stop him.

SEN. BOB CORKER (R), TENNESSEE: But, because this resolution is nonbinding and going to have no effect -- in my opinion, no effect on the course of action, I'm not going to support it.

ROBERTS: So, if it won't change anything, what's the game? For Republicans, it's about getting distance from the escalation of an increasingly unpopular war. For the Democrats, it's about who owns the war.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: The Democrats don't want to take responsibility for the policy in Iraq. They want to leave that responsibility in the hands of the president.

ROBERTS: A competing resolution proposed by four Republicans and six Democrats is far milder in its criticism, urging President Bush to consider other options than increasing troop levels. It too is nonbinding.

But the fact Senator John Warner, a loyal supporter of President Bush, is its chief sponsor makes this one, symbolically, at least, far more significant.

GERGEN: It leaves the president in an even weaker position. And it's a -- it's a major -- it's a major change in the political landscape regarding this war.

ROBERTS (on camera): And, on top of all the maneuvering in the Senate, there's the Democratic presidential hopefuls, each playing for advantage with their ideas about what to do with U.S. forces in Iraq, though all those ideas seem remarkably similar.

(voice-over): First came Connecticut's Chris Dodd, who said he would put a cap on troop levels. Then, it was Hillary Clinton, who proposed to put a cap on troop levels. And not to be outdone came Barack Obama, with a plan to cap troop levels.

But the mirror-image measures stand little chance of becoming law. The Democrats seem to have no appetite to actually affect how the war is handled, for fear they could be blamed if it gets worse.

ALEX VOGEL, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yes, it's not exactly political profiles in courage here.

ROBERTS: And, in this war of words, President Bush had a little surprise for his detractors at the State of the Union speech, forcing them, with some cleverly crafted language, to give his plan a standing ovation.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq, and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field and those on their way.


ROBERTS: It was just a small poke in the eye to his opponents and a reminder that, for the moment, at least, he's going to do what he wants.

John Roberts, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: With the battle over Iraq now consuming Washington, we turn to CNN's Michael Ware for his take on what they're all fighting about.

How long do you think it's going to be before there's a sense of change on the ground or whether or not this policy is working? I mean, we have heard from George Casey, who says, look, by March, we should know whether al-Maliki's government is living up to their promises.

But, militarily, it doesn't seem like that's enough time to let the -- to -- to see any change in the strategy, whether that's working or not.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, I mean, it's -- it's a shame to say, but I don't think we really need until March to know where the Maliki government is going to be.

COOPER: You think we already know?


WARE: Oh, of course we already know. We have been round this circle time and time again.

The Bush administration has turned to the Maliki government as a fully fledged partner over and over and over, yet, it has failed to deliver every time.

COOPER: They say, this time is different. They say, they see something in Maliki.

WARE: They have said that many times in the past, too.

And we saw President Bush, in the State of the Union address, as quickly as he came out and said, we're now relying and calling upon the Iraqi government even more than before, immediately, he almost chided or lectured them, and said, we're now looking for you to deploy more troops, to confront the radicals, and to pull back these unnecessary restrictions.

So, I don't really think we need until March. And, for the military strategy, at the end of the day, Anderson, this new strategy, the surge of 21,500 troops, is not new.

COOPER: But, you know, critics will say, look, how can you say that, because what is new is having troops living with Iraqi troops in...

WARE: Oh...


WARE: ... please.

COOPER: You're not even letting me finish the sentence.


WARE: Been there, done that. I mean...

COOPER: Really?

WARE: To some degree, this is an adoption, and -- and -- and extrapolation upon the model we saw used in the town of Tal Afar, near the Syrian border...

COOPER: Right.

WARE: ... since adopted in Ramadi, the -- essentially, the headquarters of al Qaeda.

So, yes, this will put more pressure on the death squads, on the militias, on the insurgents in Baghdad. And, yes, it will force them to adapt. But it just displaces them. Does it destroy them? Does it wipe them out? Does it change the dynamics that drive them? Absolutely not.

COOPER: And this is a learning enemy. They learn from -- they...

WARE: Oh, it's an adaptive -- and even President Bush called them that last night in the State of the Union.

And 21,500 troops, you might as well not bother, Anderson. That's a drop in the bucket.

COOPER: I want to play something that -- that Vice President Cheney said to Wolf Blitzer today about Iraq, and then talk about it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM")

BLITZER: You trust Nouri al Maliki?

CHENEY: I do. At this point, I don't have any reason not to trust him.

BLITZER: Is he going to go after Muqtada al Sadr, this anti- American...

CHENEY: I think...

BLITZER: ... Shiite cleric, who controls this Mahdi army?

CHENEY: I think he has demonstrated -- I think he has demonstrated a willingness to take on any elements that violate the law.


COOPER: What do you think of that?

WARE: I think, with all due respect, the vice president is spinning yet another line.

I mean, does he have any reason not to trust Nouri al-Maliki? No, he can trust him to do exactly what he's been doing. And, when it comes to the rebel anti-American cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, who has the blood of American soldiers on his hands, we know exactly what Maliki is going to do there, which is essentially nothing. He can't afford to.

If he moves against Muqtada, it tears not only his government, but the country, apart. Muqtada put him in power. And, militarily, neither the Iraqi security forces, even if they wanted to -- and they don't -- nor the coalition or American forces, have the ability to crush Muqtada, even militarily.

And -- but Muqtada represents more than just tens of thousands of militia fighters. He is a movement. He has mobilized the disenfranchised Shia poor. So, Muqtada is now a movement, not just a military enemy. He can't be wiped out like that.

COOPER: That is scary.

Michael Ware, thanks. Appreciate it.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has unanimously approved nomination, we should point out, of Army Lieutenant General David Petraeus to command U.S. forces in Iraq. The full Senate is expected to approve the nomination tomorrow.

Here's the "Raw Data."

General Petraeus was born 1952, graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1974. He served two tours in Iraq, commanding the 101st Airborne Division during the invasion, and later the training department for the Iraqi army. Petraeus and his wife have two kids, a son and a daughter.

Coming up; a practice you may have thought ended with the last shot of the civil war, slavery -- that's right, slavery -- human beings keeping other human beings in bondage, for labor, for sex, in this day and age, right here in this country, hiding in plain sight.


COOPER (voice-over): From the mean streets of Cambodia to Main Street USA.

LAKENDRA BAKER, AT-RISK YOUTH COUNSELOR: Some of the girls have reported that they have had to sleep with 40 or more men through the course of a night.

COOPER: Sex slavery and worse, millions of people, right here, right now -- "Invisible Chains," a 360 special investigation, next.



COOPER: Good evening again.

This is a special edition of 360, "Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery."

It's one of the world's ugliest truths, a story so shameful, it is, frankly, unforgivable. Slavery, if you think it no longer exists, you are wrong. Right now, tonight, the United Nations estimates there are more than 12 million people around the world bound by invisible chains.

We're talking about women, children, men, who, for all intents and purposes, are modern-day slaves, many in their own country. Others are far from home. Every year, according to the U.S. State Department, as many as 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders. Eighty percent of them are women and girls. And most of them are forced to work as sex slaves.

Others are sold to work in fields and sweatshops, even in private homes here in America. We realize the numbers are huge. And they can be hard to absorb. So, tonight, we're going to try to put faces on the numbers and the misery behind them.

From Cambodia to California, Uganda to Atlanta, you will see and you will hear what it means to be a modern-day slave.

Here's one of the people you will meet, a young woman forced into slavery right here in America.


SHANTIQUE WALLACE, FORMER SEX SLAVE VICTIM: They tied me down to a bed. They told me that, if I ever got home, they would kill me, and, if it didn't happen that next day, that it would soon happen.


COOPER: She was just 12 years old when she was enslaved. Her story is ahead.

Plus, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof has been covering sexual slavery in Asia for years, using his column at "The New York Times" to try to put faces on this horrible truth. He recently returned to Cambodia.

Take a look.


NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": We're about to go look up Srey Mom, who is a young woman who we met here four years ago now.

And, at that time, we bought her freedom from the brothel, took her to her hometown. And I'm really looking forward to seeing her. But I'm -- I'm always afraid I'm going to come back some time, and she's going to have just vanished, with AIDS or something.


COOPER: So many vanish from AIDS.

We will have much more of Nicholas Kristof's trip ahead this hour.

Plus, what's being done to stop slavery around the world and to heal the wounds of victims, including former child soldiers enslaved in Africa?

Listen to what some in Uganda have survived.


FLORENCE LAKOR, WORLD VISION, UGANDA: Their stories are really horrible. We have had cases of children who were ordered to -- to -- to cook a human being, said to cut the body into pieces and cook it up. Then, they mobilize the village to come and eat the -- the -- the cooked body.


COOPER: We don't take sides on 360, but, on this issue, there are no moral grays. The children and adults you will meet tonight are sons and daughters, mothers and sisters, often sold off by others, exploited in plain sight.

It's, frankly, incomprehensible that slavery exists in America in the 21st century. But it does. It thrives, in part in the world of prostitution, where young girls and boys are exploited every day. In fact, the FBI has flagged 14 U.S. cities where children are most at risk. One is Atlanta, where we sent CNN's Randi Kaye.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in Atlanta, sex sells, in the sex shops, strip clubs, and on the street.

But, beneath it all, there is an underground world of child prostitution, a multibillion-dollar business worldwide -- sex slaves, girls as young as 9, paraded on the streets for money, sold from pimp to pimp, locked inside seedy motel rooms to do the unthinkable.

(on camera): How bad is it for them?


KAYE: Don't hold back.


Some of the girls have reported that they have had to sleep with 40 or more men through the course of a night. We call them johns, but they're really rapists.

KAYE (voice-over): Atlanta is ground zero for child prostitution. Nobody knows how many underage girls are on the streets, but child advocates say, it probably runs into hundreds, in both poor and wealthy parts of the city.

Raids like this one have only made a small dent in this thriving industry. Pimps are taken to jail. Girls are freed, but quickly replaced.

The Fulton County DA's office told us -- quote -- "From a law enforcement perspective, we need to be much more organized, and we need many more resources to adequately combat the plague of child prostitution."

(on camera): Why the interest in such young girls? Experts say, the johns like them because they think they're cleaner than girls who have been on the street for a while. The pimps apparently prefer them because they can control them. They're impressionable and easily manipulated.

(voice-over): Shantique Wallace was just 12 when she walked the streets of Atlanta. Her pimp, known on the street as "Batman," was willing to take as little as 10 bucks from anyone who wanted to have sex with her. Batman made Shantique have sex with another pimp.

(on camera): Take me back to that night when he forced you to have sex with him.

SHANTIQUE WALLACE, FORMER SEX SLAVE VICTIM: And they told me, if you don't sleep with him, you're going to die.

KAYE: Did you truly believe your life was on the line? WALLACE: Yes. Up to this day, I still do. I still do.

KAYE (voice-over): Shantique says, she was held prisoner, kept tied, spread-eagle, to bedposts for two weeks in the house her pimp shared with his family. She says, sometimes, he forgot to feed her. All he wanted was to sell her.

WALLACE: People would come in while I was tied down, look at me, leave out.

KAYE: Turns out, Shantique was being held just two miles away from home. Her aunt eventually found her.

Other girls remain enslaved on the street for years. The pimps themselves are often drug dealers looking to make an extra buck.

BAKER: Some are drug dealers, and some are in the business of sex, because you can only sell a dime bag one time. But you can sell a 10-year-old girl over and over again.

KAYE: They use people they call scouts to lure young girls in. And they know which girls will bite. Pimps canvass bus stops for runaways, the most vulnerable.

The problem of child exploitation is so enormous here, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin released this public service announcement targeting johns.


SHIRLEY FRANKLIN, MAYOR OF ATLANTA: Dear john, you have been abusing our kids, prostituting them, and throwing them onto the street.


KAYE: In Georgia, pimping minors only became a felony in 2001. It was a misdemeanor before then. But convictions still don't come easy.

Shantique testified against both her pimps. One cut a deal and walked free. The big fish, Batman, real name Andrew Moore, got 40 years.

Seven years after her ordeal, Shantique is a freshman in college. She struggles with dating, but her grades are good. In her free time, she counsels young girls, hoping to teach them, in life, they have a choice, and child prostitution isn't one of them.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: It is hard to believe.

If you're wondering how this could possibly be happening right here in the United States in 2007, well, frankly, so are we.

Rachel Lloyd knows how hard it is to break the invisible chains of this slavery. She was a prostitute for two years, was almost murdered by her pimp. Today, she runs a group that helps victims of sexual exploitation called GEMS, Girls Education and Mentoring Service.

She joins me now.

Rachel, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: So, it's not surprising to you to see a 13-year-old girl out on the streets of New York or another city in the United States?

LLOYD: No. I mean, sadly, it's not. It should be, but it's -- but it's not.

I mean, each year, we serve about 200 girls, ages 12 to 21. Again, even our older girls, who are considered by most people as adult prostitutes, are -- are girls who were trafficked into the industry as teenagers.

COOPER: And you have found that these girls are actually moved around from city to city?


There's a -- you know, various pipelines throughout the U.S., East Coast, West Coast, across the states, where pimps traffic girls back and forth, depending on the weather, depending on sports conventions, entertainment events, when they know there are going to be a lot of men there to buy children.

COOPER: So, if -- if the Super Bowl is in town or something...

LLOYD: Exactly.

COOPER: ... they will actually move girls to be there for...


COOPER: ... the demand?

LLOYD: Exactly.

COOPER: How is it that these girls -- I mean, how does a 13- year-old get involved in this in the first place?

LLOYD: Seventy to 80 percent of sexually exploited youth were sexually abused as children, and often are just very vulnerable to the lure of sexual predators, of pimps.

And, at 13 years old, I mean, for -- you know, I think, sometimes, we think it's so hard to understand. But, for people who can remember what -- remember what it was like to be 13 and be in love, and, you know, especially if he was an older man, that's very exciting, as a 13-year-old girl. He takes you out to dinner. He gets your nails done. He gets you -- gets you a pair of sneakers. He takes you on a road trip.

It's not until the violence starts, the abuse starts, you start being sold, that you understand that you are ultimately his slave.

COOPER: And -- and how -- I mean, you work with these girls on the streets of New York. How tough does it get for them? What is life like for them?

LLOYD: I mean, it is really hard out here for a 13-year-old girl who is being sold night after night after night. The girls have experienced multiple kidnappings, both by other pimps and by the johns.

And, I agree, we need to think of another word than that, because a -- a 13-year-old doesn't have a john. He's a sexual predator. He is a child molester.

COOPER: A lot of people watching this would say, well, look, someone walking the streets is -- is choosing to do it. They are not a -- they are not a slave.

LLOYD: Yes. And, I mean, and we -- we have that discussion -- debate, rather, oftentimes with law enforcement, with judges, with prosecutors, who see these girls as criminals, who believe that they should be locked up, they should be arrested. And they frequently are arrested.

In New York state, kids under the age of 17 can't legally consent to sex, and, yet, somehow, if money is exchanged, they're the person who's going to jail. And, obviously, we don't see the adult men going to jail. And this is what we really need to look at. This is adult men who buy and sell children.

COOPER: What should people who are watching this now who want to help, what can they do? What -- what can anyone do?

LLOYD: I mean, I -- I think, one, we need to change the conversation in this country about this issue, right? We need to start with the language that we use, and the fact that we...

COOPER: They're not johns. They're -- they're sexual predators.

LLOYD: They're not child prostitutes, or teen prostitutes, or bad girls, or hookers. They are sexually exploited children and youth.

We need to look at them as victims. We need to treat them the same way that we look at children from India or Pakistan or the Philippines or the Ukraine.

I mean, we can be very sympathetic when it comes to trafficking victims from other places. And, yet, when it comes to U.S. youth, who may be poor, who may be youth of color, who may not be youth who fit in a very neat little victim box, we say, well, no, they're bad kids. They must like having sex. They like being out there. They could leave any time they choose.

And that's just not the reality of what we're talking about. So, we need to change our perceptions. We need to stop glorifying pimp culture. These are men who are incredibly brutal and violent, and dispose of girls like -- like they're trash.

So, I -- I think that's one of the first things. I think people can reach out and find out, you know, where in their neighbors they can volunteer. And people can get involved in this issue. And I think, as -- if we can make a collective decision, as a society, to stand against this -- we have -- we have done it with domestic violence.

We changed the language around it. We haven't ended domestic violence, but we have changed the societal perception of what that is. And we have provided services for victims.

I believe that we can do this with sexual exploitation and trafficking. But we really have to make a commitment to do it.

COOPER: Rachel, thanks.

LLOYD: Thanks.


COOPER: Rachel Lloyd is on a mission. Just ahead, another woman's mission to save young girls from the hell that she endured.

Plus, children bought and sold. We're going to take you to the brothels of Cambodia with "The New York Times" Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Nicholas Kristof.


COOPER (voice-over): Children robbed of their futures.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: you see how many girls there are who get no education and just can't stand up to the brothels, to the traffickers, to the mama sans and they just don't dare fight back.

COOPER: Girls as young as 5 turned into sex slaves. Many die before they're 30. Invisible chains, sex, work and slavery, a special edition of 360 continues.


COOPER: The U.S. government started ranking countries six years ago on their efforts to stop human trafficking and slavery. Cambodia has long had one of the worst reputations for sexual slavery and recently it's begun to make efforts to crack down, but the problem is still immense. "The New York Times" Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, Nicholas Kristof, has written extensively about the victims, young girls primarily, some incredibly, as young as 5. He recently returned to Cambodia to track down one girl in particular. Here's her story.


GRAPHIC: Each year, more than a million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade.

COOPER (voice-over): Though he's been visiting Cambodia to witness and to write about sex slavery there over the past 10 years, each new visit seems even more disturbing for "New York Times" columnist Nicholas Kristof.

NICHOLAS KRISTOF, "NEW YORK TIMES": I'm in the room of a large brothel and guesthouse. It's said to be, you know, one of the wildest ones with the youngest girls and where virgins are sold and this kind of thing. And the reason it can get away with all that is the owner is the head of the criminal division of the local police.

COOPER: Kristof was so affected by his visit here three years ago that he paid $350 to buy two teenage prostitutes so he could set them free. For this woman, Stre-Mam (ph), he paid $203. That meant she'd be free from a life of $3 a session sex.

Kristof found Stre-Mam (ph) was kidnapped for prostitution when she was just 14. She met a woman at a bus station who talked with her, kidnapped her and then sold her virginity to a Cambodian brothel.

In December Kristof went back to check on her.

KRISTOF: We're about to go look up Stre-Mam (ph), who's a young woman we met here four years ago now. And at that time we bought her freedom from the brothel, took her to her hometown.

COOPER: Prostitution is illegal in Cambodia, but it operates in the open here.

KRISTOF: We stopped in a little town of Sisifund (ph) and walked down their red light district, getting mauled by some of the young women there who are very aggressive. The other red light districts have been clamped down on a little bit; not this one.

What's your name?

COOPER: Sex here can cost $1 to $25 but young girls, some only 12 or 10 or even younger, are highly prized for their virginity. Incredible as it seems, Kristof found that some men with AIDS actually believe sex with a virgin can cure them. Some will pay $500 to $800 to have sex with them, sometimes taking them for a week.

So brothels will pay traffickers several hundred dollars for a virgin. The money is so good and some families so poor that they'll sell their own daughters.

KRISTOF: Running back to the brothel from what...

COOPER: Kristof doesn't know how much her kidnapper got for Stre-Mam (ph). He just wants to see how she's doing since he freed her.

KRISTOF: I'm really looking forward to seeing her but I'm always afraid I'm going to come back sometime, and she's going to have just vanished with AIDS or something.

COOPER: Brothels are concentrated in Cambodia's big cities, but on the way to finding Stre-Mam (ph), Kristof stopped at a remote village, where he met another teenage girl who had been hunted down for her young body.

KRISTOF: Today we drove out southeast from Batabong to find a trafficking victim we had heard about. We drove about an hour, a little more than that, along a little river. And there squashed between a rice paddy and the river was a little tiny village, and there a young woman came to us by boat to meet us there. Her name was Kahan (ph).

COOPER: Kahan (ph) says a woman she thought was her friend gave her ice cream, but it was laced with drugs to incapacitate her so she could be kidnapped and sold. Police found her first and she was saved, but Kahan (ph) was left partially paralyzed by the drugs in the ice cream.

KRISTOF: The drugs had had a lasting effect on her, and so she was left mute for months and months. Even now more than a year later she's only beginning to get her speech back, and the family has been largely bankrupted by trying to treat that disorder.

COOPER: Kristof continued his journey through Cambodia and eventually found Stre-Mam (ph).

KRISTOF: How are you?

COOPER: He found her not at home but right back where he'd rescued her. Stre-Mam (ph) had become addicted to methamphetamine in the brothel and gave up her freedom because she couldn't live without the drug. It's common here, Kristof found, brothels giving drugs to girls to keep them enslaved.

KRISTOF: Oh, you look good, though.

COOPER: Stre-Mam (ph) said she was embarrassed that Kristof found her back here and insisted she had given up prostitution. But, of course, Kristof finds that's a lie. In the middle of their reunion, a regular customer arrives and she has to leave to take care of business.

KRISTOF: Boy, it just, you know, you travel to these little villages and you can see how difficult it is, how many girls there are who get no education and just can't stand up to the brothels, to the traffickers, to the mama sans (ph). They get sold to a brothel and then they just don't dare to fight back. They don't dare run away. They don't know what to do.

And they've been taught, you know, to accept their lot in life, and so they do. And that is going to take a long time to change, I'm afraid.


COOPER: It is a horrible cycle and the victims are so young, just ahead more on the invisible chains that keep child sex slaves from breaking free. I talk to Nick Kristof about that and much more ahead.


COOPER: Before the break we showed you Nick Kristof's efforts to save a young Cambodian girl from sexual slavery. Four years ago he brought her freedom, but on a recent trip back to Cambodia, he found she was once again working in a brothel.

Stre-Mam (ph) is just one face, one story. There are more than a million kids around the world facing what she does every day. Sadly, the odds of breaking the cycle of sexual slavery are slim at best. I talked to Nick Kristof about that.


COOPER: So what happens now to Stre-Mam (ph)?

KRISTOF: I'm afraid she's going to end up remaining in the brothel and will probably end up dying there of AIDS. She keeps talking -- every time I visited her she talks about how she's going to leave, how she's going to go back to her family, but she knows that it's an illusion. She's addicted to meth. A lot of the brothels give the girls meth precisely to create an addiction.

COOPER: It's got to be sad for you to see this girl, Stre-Mam (ph), there because you know, you bought her her freedom.

KRISTOF: And it -- I can't -- you know, when I went back to her village with her and we met her parents, it was really just so happy. Her parents had thought she was dead, and there she was. And it was just so exciting to think she was going to start over. She was so happy. And, you know, then after a few days she ran back to the brothel.

COOPER: A few days, that's all it was?

KRISTOF: It was a few days. It was really when that meth addiction became just too strong, just overwhelmed her. And then two times after that she tried to leave, and she just couldn't.

COOPER: There's also this bond between her and the brothel owner or the mama san (ph) who runs the brothel, I guess not the owner necessarily.

KRISTOF: It is, actually, the owner in that case, and that brothel owner is, I find, just one of the most fascinating people there. I've spent hours and hours in that brothel, and she has a real bond with Stre-Mam (ph) and at times she really helps her and helps other girls.

On the other hand on my last visit it turned out that there was one recent girl who had been to the brothel, and the brothel owner locked up this girl, sold her virginity, beat her when she resisted. And you know, she rips off, she cheats all these girls. They're ATMs for the brothel.

COOPER: What's so mind boggling about this, too, is that you can't necessarily go to the authorities. I mean, I guess on some level you can, but in the case of one of these brothel, though, there's the police officer who's running it.

KRISTOF: Exactly. In fact, the -- on this visit, I stayed at a brothel/guesthouse in Poipet (ph), and it had underage girls, manifestly underage girls. And it was rumored to have, you know, young virgins locked up inside the brothel. And the reason it could get away with that was precisely because it was owned by the head of the criminal division of the local police.

COOPER: So is anyone serious about cracking down on it inside Cambodia?

KRISTOF: There have been some efforts to crack down, really because of U.S. diplomatic pressure, and the U.S. has been pretty good about adding to that pressure. So the upshot is that if you don't pay bribes to the police, and if you don't have connections and if you have underage girls, then you are indeed at risk of being cracked down on.

But if you are the police yourselves, for example, you can get away with literally murder.

COOPER: What is it like being there? I mean, what is it like being in these brothels and seeing this? I mean, you keep going back to it. You've seen it over the years.

KRISTOF: One of the things that I think surprises Americans when you go there is that, in a way, they almost seem kind of family-style operations. You have the brothel owner who is typically a woman, and her kids are often running around. And the girls are sort of playing with the kids and, you know, and everybody is dressed nicely and speaking politely.

But then when a girl tries to run away, then she is brought back and she's beaten up. And at times she is physically locked up in a room or chained to a bed.

COOPER: And within Cambodia, is it -- is it just sort of accepted?

KRISTOF: It's largely accepted. And that is a big part of the problem, and the same is true of India, which is again just a horrendous problem. And one of the things that I think we can do in the U.S. is to help Cambodian leaders and Indian leaders and those in other countries, Malaysia, which has a huge problem and make them begin to think about it, put it on their agenda.

COOPER: Do you get a good response? I mean do people care -- I always found people care once they know about a situation?

KRISTOF: Yes, I don't think that a lot of people care about, you know, up to 10 million children being locked up in brothels around the world. But they can really care about Stre-Mam (ph) or about...

COOPER: Because that figure is just too big a figure. It doesn't mean anything.

KRISTOF: It's a number. It's not -- it's not somebody you can empathize with, but when you describe a real individual, and people can imagine as their daughter or their sister, then they do begin to care.

COOPER: Nick Kristof, thanks.

KRISTOF: Hey, my pleasure.


COOPER: You can read Nick Kristof's column in "The New York Times" on Sundays and Tuesdays. And all of his video from his trip to Cambodia is available on "The New York Times" web site. You'll find that at

Just ahead, saving Cambodian girls. Others rescued her. Now she is doing the same. One woman's mission to free child sex slaves on this special edition of 360, "Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery".


SOMALY MAM, FORMER PROSTITUTE: Poor women, they have been raped. They have been, you know by ten, eight men, 20, 25, they've been raped.



COOPER: Tonight, more than a million kids around the globe are forced to work as sex slaves. They're sold into prostitution often by their own families. In Cambodia, as you've seen, it happens all the time, and a lot of the victims die young of AIDS.

Remarkably, thousands have managed to escape their invisible chains because of one woman's efforts.

Here's CNN's Dan Rivers.


GRAPHIC: 12.3 million people worldwide are estimated to be enslaved.

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here in Phnom Penh, brothels are everywhere. The U.N. says 55,000 prostitutes work here. A third of them are underage girls. Some are barely even old enough for school.

Many bars put on chorus lines of underage girls for sale. They might seem cheerful, but this is a violent dangerous netherworld where rape, beatings and even murder are common.

Kar (ph) knows the dangers too well. She's just arrived at a women's refuge after an awful night on the streets. She tells me that last night a client paid her $10 for sex, but then five other men arrived and brutally gang raped her. The last man was drunk and smashed her in the eye.

Her arms are marked from where she's repeatedly cut them, self- mutilation carried out when she was addicted to methamphetamine, a habit she kicked after an agonizing battle.

The refuge also has a clinic where Kar (ph) gets treatment for her eye. But that's the least of her problems. She told us, almost as an after thought, that she also is HIV positive.


RIVERS: The clinic and the refuge are run by Mam Somaly, herself a former prostitute.

MAM: Poor women, they have been raped. They have been -- you know, by 10, eight men, 20, 25. They've been gang raped. They hit them. They receive a lot of violence. That's why I'm here.

RIVERS: But Somaly has turned her life around, taking her campaign to end this modern day slavery as far as she can, despite almost no help from the Cambodian government.

And it's not just adults that benefit. She's rescued a total of 55 children from brothels in Cambodia, bringing them to this refuge. Most aren't even teenagers yet. Taking them off the streets and offering them a new home in the countryside where they get a chance to learn new skills and find a new life.

MAM: A lot of them when they arrive first, have psychological problem, very big problems. And then they never have love by the people, by the parents, even by the parents.

RIVERS: Every single child you see here was rescued from a brothel.

(on camera) What's horrifying is that many of these children were sold into the sex trade by their own parents for as little as 10 U.S. dollars, and some of them were only 5 years old.

(voice-over) Like Shray (ph), rescued from a brothel at the age when most children haven't even begun school, and like so many other children here, Shray (ph) is HIV positive. These children may be free, but they've lost any chance of living a normal healthy life.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Kampong Cham, Cambodia.


COOPER: One woman's mission in Cambodia. In Africa, others are trying to help enslaved child soldiers recover from trauma so severe it is almost incomparable.

Plus another form of slavery right here in America.


COOPER (voice-over): Hired help, or are they paid at all? Could slavery be as close as the house next door?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I started to work at 5:30 then -- at 10 at night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Slavery is alive and well. Trafficking of slaves is alive and well.

COOPER: "Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery", a special edition of 360 continues.


RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, I'm Randi Kaye. Our 360 special continues in a moment. But first a "360 Bulletin".

On the Senate floor today John Kerry said he will not run for president in 2008. He vowed instead to focus on bringing the war in Iraq to an end. Many expected the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee to launch a second run for the White House. But polls indicated he'd have an uphill climb.

A record-breaking day on Wall Street. The Dow hit a new all-time high, closing at 12,062, up 88 points. The S&P rose 12 points, hitting its highest point since September 2000. The NASDAQ gained 35. A wave of upbeat quarterly earnings reports helped fuel that surge.

And finally, oil prices rose 32 cents today to $55.37 a barrel. Analysts say forecasts of more cold weather plus signs that OPEC producers are complying with their announced cuts contributed to the rally.

That's our 360 bulletin. Back to "Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery" after the break.


COOPER: Just ahead on 360, only hours after President Bush asked Congress to give his Iraq plan time to work, Democrats and Republicans came out hitting today while a major battle raged in Baghdad. More on all of that ahead. But first, back to our special report, "Invisible Chains: Sex, Work and Slavery". The U.S. State Department estimates that more than 17,000 people are trafficked into America every year. Many end up as sex slaves, but other are enslaved by their employers. They're forced to work under deplorable conditions for virtually no money at all.

It is a crime hiding in plain suit and rarely prosecuted, as close as your local restaurant or maybe even your neighbor's kitchen. With that, here's CNN's Thelma Gutierrez.