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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Interview With Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy; Bush vs. Congress Over Prosecutor Purge?; 12-Year-Old Boy Scout Found Alive in North Carolina Wilderness; Planet in Peril: Southeast Asia's Human Trafficking Trade

Aired March 20, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
We're in Bangkok, Thailand, as Larry said. We came to Southeast Asia this week to track human slavery and also the illegal wildlife trade. It's part of our "Planet in Peril" series. Our hidden cameras have already captured some of these crimes. And, tonight, we have much more to show you.

There's also a lot of news to report back home.

A 12-year-old Boy Scout missing for three nights in the North Carolina woods was found today alive, an amazing survival story. The details are still unfolding. We will get to that in just a moment.

But, first, strong words from President Bush on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys -- Mr. Bush says he will allow Karl Rove and others to answer questions, but not under oath.

John Roberts is standing by with the latest in New York -- John.

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson. Thanks very much.

Love the scene behind you, by the way.

The firing of eight U.S. attorneys last year has become this month's major political story. Tonight, it remains uncertain if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is going to keep his job.

But President Bush couldn't have been clearer when he spoke out today.


ROBERTS (voice-over): Like his father before him, President Bush drew a line in the sand today, this one warning Democrats to abandon their threats to subpoena his top political aide, Karl Rove.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials, when I have agreed to make key White House officials and documents available.

ROBERTS: The president promised a constitutional showdown if Democrats persist. BUSH: I have proposed a reasonable way to avoid an impasse. I hope they don't choose confrontation. I will oppose any attempts to subpoena White House officials.

ROBERTS: It was tough language, after a week in which Democrats beat the stuffing out of the administration over the U.S. attorney firings. Conservative blogs have been aflame with complaints that Republicans have rolled over, and demanding they grow a spine.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It's not just the president. Nobody within the administration reacts to this stuff in an instinctive or visceral way.


ROBERTS: President Bush has agreed to give Rove and former White House counsel Harriet Miers to the congressional Judiciary Committees, but only for informal interviews, behind closed doors, no recordings, no transcripts, no oath to tell the truth.

The president insists there was no political pressure in the removal and replacement of the eight U.S. attorneys.

BUSH: There is no indication that anybody did anything improper. And I'm sure Congress has that question. That's why I have -- I have put forth a reasonable proposal for people to be comfortable with the decisions and how they were made. Al Gonzales and his team will be testifying. We have made available people on my staff to be interviewed.

ROBERTS: But what the president is selling, Democrats aren't buying.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Mr. President, what if the objection to having a transcript? If there's nothing to hide, nothing wrong with the transcript. What is the objection to an oath? If there's nothing to hide, and everyone is telling the truth, there should be no objection to oath.

And what is the objection to having this discussion in public? Because, if we want to restore the integrity of the U.S. attorney's offices and the Justice Department, that can't be done by someone whispering to someone else in a back and darkened room. It must be done in public.

ROBERTS: And, as to whether the attorney general will keep his job, for the moment, President Bush is still behind Alberto Gonzales. Republicans aren't yet calling for his resignation en masse, but they admit it doesn't look good.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think he ought to be made allowed to make his case. A lot of the information we have heard is very disturbing. But he will have his day in court.


ROBERTS: Well, President Bush indicated he is ready to go to the mat on this one. But the Democrats seem just as ready to big in. You heard Charles Schumer there.

In a written statement today, Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, rejected the president's proposal.

We wanted more than just a statement, so we asked Senator Leahy to come on with us and elaborate.

I spoke to him a bit earlier.


ROBERTS: President Bush insisted today that nothing improper was done here. Do you not take him at his word?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D-VT), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: President Bush insisted that there's weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, too.

ROBERTS: So, you're not taking him at his word?

LEAHY: I'm not saying that. I don't think the president is fully aware of all these things that have gone on. He wasn't on the weapons of mass destruction. I doubt if he is on this. And he has got a lot of things on his plate.

ROBERTS: Do you think anything illegal took place here, Senator Leahy?

LEAHY: That's what we want to find out.

ROBERTS: What does your gut tell you?

LEAHY: My gut tells me, there's a lot of political pressure in determining who is fired and who is not. And I want to know why.

If it was to stop an ongoing investigation, then that's wrong.

ROBERTS: And what is your thinking about Gonzales? Should he stay or should he go?

LEAHY: The president makes that decision. He has said that he stands behind him. If he feels that Attorney General Gonzales sets a standard of openness and competence that he wants to be remembered for as president, then he will stay.

ROBERTS: All right. What do you -- what do you think? Has he set that standard?

LEAHY: The decision has to be by the president. I'm not going to go and say whether he should be fired or not.

What I'm saying is, tell me what happened, because, so far, we don't know what happened in these firings.

ROBERTS: President Bush came out late this afternoon and basically said to Democrats, don't you dare, when it comes to subpoenas.

What do you say to him?

LEAHY: Well, we are going to issue subpoenas. We will probably issue them on Thursday, at least authorize the issuing of them on Thursday.

We're not trying to play any kind of political games. I just want to find out what happened with the firing of these U.S. attorneys. It has had a ripple effect throughout law enforcement all across the country. The U.S. attorneys are supposed to be above politics. They're supposed to be able to be there, without fear or favor, whether it's a Republican or a Democratic person they're looking at.

And I think that we have to get back to it, so that we can have that kind of impartiality among the U.S. attorneys.

ROBERTS: Senator, the president said this afternoon that, if you go ahead and proceed down this road of issuing subpoenas for people like Karl Rove and Harriet Miers, you are going to provoke a constitutional showdown and one that he's not going to back away from.


ROBERTS: You ready for that fight?

LEAHY: Well, that's what -- you know, he can say what he wants. All we want is the truth.

They have offered to have these people, have Karl Rove or Harriet Miers or others, come up here and give us private briefings, off-the- record briefings, no transcripts, to a handful of senators.

I have had those kind of briefings. And, usually, two days after we have had them, we pick up the paper and find a whole lot of things that were never told to us.

I want -- for the sake of the American people, I want these people to come before the Senate Judiciary Committee. There's both Republicans and Democrats who can ask them questions. But I want them under oath.

ROBERTS: You're not concerned that they would not tell you the whole truth and nothing but the truth in these off-the-record briefings, are you?

LEAHY: Well, I want to be a place where both Democrats and Republicans can ask them questions and they're under oath. I have found that that tends to focus one's attention.

ROBERTS: Why is it so important for you to talk to Karl Rove under oath?

LEAHY: It's not just to have me hear something in a private meeting. This is something the American people have a stake -- a stake in. Let them hear, and let them hear it in public and in open.

ROBERTS: We saw, back in the late 1990s, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that these things very often go all the way to the Supreme Court. Are you prepared to go that far?

LEAHY: I'm prepared to get as much information as I can, so the American people know what's going on, but also, for whoever the next president is, they will not be tempted to politicize the U.S. attorney's office.

ROBERTS: Senator Leahy, thanks very much for your time. Always good to see you, sir.

LEAHY: Good to be with you, John. Thank you.


ROBERTS: Well, now that President Bush has draw a line in the sand and Democrats have indicated that they're not going to budge either, the question is, what comes next? Is there room for compromise?

I talked with former presidential adviser David Gergen earlier about that.


ROBERTS: David, watching that press conference with President Bush this afternoon, I haven't seen him that worked up over an issue for an awfully long time.


But it's hard to believe that this is actually the president's final position, that he would invite a court case, which would go on and on and on, and bring tons of negative publicity. I have to believe that, in fact, this is the opening bid from the White House, and they're still open to compromise.

ROBERTS: So -- so, you don't buy this idea that the president is -- is -- is threatening that there will be a constitutional confrontation over this, if the Democrats proceed with their demands to get Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and others under oath before them, which Patrick Leahy said they're going to continue to do?

GERGEN: Well, I understand why the president wants to protect his aides and that sort of thing.

But, in numerous examples in the past, the people from the White House have voluntarily gone up and testified under oath to the Congress. I myself did that in the Clinton administration. This is not so unprecedented.

What I believe, John, is that there is a compromise that's still possible. And that is that the Senate agree to do this behind closed doors, not in front of cameras. I think the president has got a point about this not being a show trial.

But, at the same time, the White House has to agree that the -- that when Karl Rove and Harriet Miers and others go up -- go -- go up there, that they go up and do it under oath with a transcript, and not with the cameras, but under oath with a transcript. That's what many of us have done in the past. That's perfectly reasonable.

Given all the history of this, why should the senators, why should the Democratic senators believe they're going to get the straight scoop, unless it's under oath? So, it seems to me, there is that compromise. Do it under oath with a transcript, but do it behind closed doors, so you don't make a circus out of it.

ROBERTS: Now, if the president were to stand his ground and take this all the way to the courts, what -- what does history suggest might happen to his case?

If you look back in the Nixon era, he lost a claim of executive privilege on those famous Oval Office tapes. Bill Clinton lost a lost a claim of executive privilege in federal court on the Monica Lewinsky trial.

GERGEN: Well, in this case, there's no criminal wrongdoing that's been charged so far. There's no -- it's not as if the underlying problem of Karl Rove or Harriet Miers is criminal in nature.

And the White House lost those cases because there was that underlying question of whether laws had been violated. So, I think the White House might win in court. That's quite possible.

But, you know, John, it would -- it would be such a -- it would be -- it would be a long, dragged-out case, for what? What's the point of fighting over that, when you -- it's not as if you're giving up power of the presidency? You're not giving up power of the executive branch.

When you say, as Ronald Reagan did after Iran-Contra, "I claim executive privilege, but, in this particular instance, for this limited purpose, we're going to waive it at the White House, and I'm asking my people to go up and testify under oath," what is lost by that?

I -- I have to believe that Fred Fielding, who is the new general counsel at the White House, and is a wonderful veteran of these past wars, sees that there is not much lost by putting people under oath.

What they really want to do is, I think, avoid a media circus. But I think, as bad as the media circus would be, to have this dragged out through the rest of the Bush term, it's not that -- you know, there are so many more consequential issues. Why would you put yourself into that kind of fight...

ROBERTS: You know, looking...

GERGEN: ... in the courts, and also with the Democrats?

ROBERTS: David, looking at the tone that the president took today, I have been reading conservative blogs for the last couple of weeks, just seeing where they're going on all of this.

And -- and...


ROBERTS: And many of them have been cutting Gonzales a break. But what they haven't been cutting a break on is this idea that Republicans are rolling over, playing dead, yet, letting Democrats use them as a punching bag, urging the president, urging Republicans to fight back.

Is this the first sign of that?

GERGEN: Yes, it is.

And I -- I hope he doesn't take that bait. Look, this is -- he's got a year-and-a-half to get something done here now. Does he really want to get into a -- it's very important to his legacy and very important to the Democrats to get something done.

But it's better -- it's more important to his legacy than it is to him. They can keep making issues out of this, try to win the White House in 2008. I just don't know what -- I don't know -- I don't know what the constitutional problem is with waiving executive privilege.

And, if he's simply playing to the conservative base, playing to the conservative bloggers, I think that's a terrible mistake. These people have got to wake up and understand. I mean, there's been this sense of entitlement, I'm afraid, in the White House that they haven't understood.

The Democrats did win back power over Congress. Listen, welcome to the NFL.


GERGEN: This is the way the game has been played for decades, you know, with the Congress being in the hands of the other party.


GERGEN: And there are times when you have got to say, hey, OK, we would -- we have executive privilege. We're going to waive it. Now let's get on with business.

ROBERTS: Well...

(CROSSTALK) GERGEN: There's nothing -- there's nothing here. Let's just get on with business.

ROBERTS: Well, two months into this, David, they're at each other's throats. Business as usual.

GERGEN: They sure are.

Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

GERGEN: OK. Take care.


COOPER: John, obviously, the White House feels that they have gone as far as they're willing to go. But they are fighting back hard on this.

ROBERTS: Yes, well, they -- they certainly are, Anderson. And I think it's for a couple of reasons.

First of all, this White House has been very, very protective of what they call executive privilege. And it's really Dick Cheney that's been driving that. He saw the erosion of executive power during the Clinton administration. He's been trying to recapture some of that. And he's not about to budge on this one.

And I think another part of it is, as I was asking David Gergen about, that these conservative bloggers -- we had a sound bite from Rush Limbaugh a little bit earlier in the program -- they have just been hammering the Republicans, calling them a bunch of wusses, saying, you have got to stand up to these guys, or they're going to hand you -- hand you their -- your -- your lunch.

So, I think he's under a lot of pressure from a lot of different angles, and also the fact, Anderson, this is a president that doesn't like to be told what to do. He's got people telling him to fire Gonzales. He's digging in his heels. So, I think the likelihood that Gonzales is going to go perhaps a little less today than it was yesterday.

COOPER: Interesting, fast-moving developments.

John Roberts, appreciate that reporting. We will talk to you in a little bit.

Coming up: a remarkable way of life that still exists here, modern-day slavery, human trafficking in Southeast Asia -- coming up later on 360.


ROBERTS (voice-over): A shameful big business: sex slavery in Southeast Asia and beyond.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will always be people who run these factories or establishments.

ROBERTS: Women and children forced into a dark world -- what's being done to help them?

Plus: a Boy Scout lost in the wilderness for days and found alive.

KENT AUBERRY, FATHER OF MICHAEL AUBERRY: He slept in -- in tree branches. He curled up under rocks.

ROBERTS: Tonight: new details on the search and how he was discovered -- when 360 continues.



COOPER: And you're looking at the daily commute for some 60,000 workers here in Bangkok, a very unique way of getting to work, taking a fast-moving speedboat across the river to points beyond in Bangkok.

It's another kind of work that we're looking at all throughout this week here: the illegal trafficking of animals, animal parts, and also human beings, women and children sold into sexual bondage and other forms of human trafficking. That's all week, we are going to be looking at that here in Thailand and also in Cambodia.

But, right now, the story that has caught the attention of people around the world: A 12-year-old Boy Scout got homesick and wandered away from his North Carolina campsite over the weekend. He was missing in the woods for three nights, temperatures falling into the 20s. But he is a survivor tonight.

CNN's Randi Kaye reports.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a sea of search- and-rescue teams, all it takes is one really good nose, and you're looking at it.

This 2-year-old Shiloh shepherd named Gandalf, after the wizard in "Lord of the Rings," worked his magic today. Gandalf was the first to find Michael Auberry, missing four days in North Carolina's Doughton Park.

(on camera): How did you and your dog spot Michael?

MISHA MARSHALL, SOUTH CAROLINA SEARCH AND RESCUE DOG ASSOCIATION: He was upwind of us. He started air-scenting him. And dogs do what's called a head-pop. And he popped his head three times in one direction. We came around the corner, and he spotted Michael.

KAYE (voice-over): Misha Marshall's rescue dog has been given a piece of clothing to catch the boy's scent before heading out. This was Gandalf's first rescue mission, Misha's fourth. And, just two hours into the search, they found what they had come looking for about a mile north of the Boy Scout campsite.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have found Michael. He is OK.

KAYE (on camera): When Misha and her dog spotted Michael, she says he was standing up and appeared to be looking for help. They problem is, Michael was across the creek. So, Misha and her team yelled at him to stay put; they would come to him.

(voice-over): And, when they did, Misha found the 12-year-old disoriented, his feet wet, his body fully clothed.

(on camera): What was the first thing he said to you?

MARSHALL: He asked for some water. He asked for a snack. He asked if a helicopter could take him out. So, yes. So, that -- we said, well, I don't think so. But he had obviously heard the helicopters. So...

KAYE: Typical 12-year-old boy, huh?

MARSHALL: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

KAYE (voice-over): Paramedic Lee Whitehead was searching nearby and went to check on Michael.

LEE WHITEHEAD, PARAMEDIC: He was interested in getting some grandma's cookies. He was pretty hungry.

KAYE: Lee gave him a quick once-over and determined Michael was dehydrated and in the early stages of hypothermia. He tried to keep warm by staying on the move at night.

(on camera): What was he doing for -- for water or liquids?

WHITEHEAD: He said he would -- he said he would get water from the streams, which was probably a good thing.

KAYE: Did he say what he had eaten over the last four days?

WHITEHEAD: He hadn't eaten anything since his last time he was in camp. I asked him if he had eaten any time, anything he had had, and he said, no, he hadn't eaten any of the local vegetation of anything.

KAYE: No tree bark or anything like that?


KAYE (voice-over): Michael made a very private exit from the woods, then was taken straight to the hospital for a thorough exam.

The family celebrated in privacy, but, afterward, Michael's father shared more details about his son's harrowing ordeal. KENT AUBERRY, FATHER OF MICHAEL AUBERRY: He slept in -- in tree branches. I'm not sure exactly what that -- that means yet. He said he curled up under rocks. And Michael is not completely aware of the passage of time and that -- that -- how many days he was out there. He's -- but he's -- he's doing great.

KAYE: Kent Auberry says Michael heard rescuers calling his name the last few days, even yelled back. Nobody heard him. Not until the Gandalf the shepherd sniffed him out could this scout be saved.


COOPER: Randi, do we know why he wandered away in the first place?

KAYE: Well, we do know -- we do know a little bit. We're learning a little bit about that tonight.

It appears, Anderson, that there is, of course, this buddy system which takes place in the Boy Scouts. And that takes place between the boys themselves, not between the boys and the Scout leaders.

So, what apparently happened is, after lunch, Michael decided to wander away without telling his buddy in that group. His father said earlier today that he doesn't blame anybody. He would send his son back to that -- to that group and back to those Scout leaders.

The Scouts say that only minutes had -- had passed between the time that Michael disappeared and the time that they realized it.

In terms of why he walked away, his father tells us that he was homesick and he was in search of a highway on foot, so he could hitchhike home. And you can bet they're going to have a long talk about hitchhiking when he gets home from the hospital.

COOPER: Yes. Did he ever get a chance to -- to thank the dog or the rescuers?

KAYE: From his hospital bed, Anderson, he did say that he's very thankful for all the rescuers have done and all their long hours that they have put in.

He's also especially for Gandalf the dog, although he does say that he will forgive him for eating all of the peanut butter crackers that the rescuers had brought Michael, who hadn't eaten in four days. But the dog, of course, didn't know any better. He did his work. He snacked on those. And Michael has forgiven him.

COOPER: Well, it's such a great ending to this story.

Randi, thanks.

Michael Auberry's Boy Scout training may have helped him survive. Here's the "Raw Data" on the organization.

Boy Scouting is a year-round program for boys age 11 to 17. As of December 2005, there were close to 950,000 Boy Scouts in America. Scouts completed more than 34 million hours of community service that year. And more than 37.8 million copies of the Boy Scout handbook have so far been printed.

Well, talk about ironic. Michael's favorite book, "Hatchet," is about a young boy lost in the wilderness. He might have gotten some pointers about how to survive from that book. We will talk to the author next.

Plus, human beings sold in slavery, men, women and children, it is happening here in Southeast Asia, all throughout the region, in the year 2007, part of our shocking weeklong investigation -- ahead on 360.


ROBERTS: It's a fictional tale of survival popular With young readers. Did the book "Hatchet" save a lost Boy Scout's life?

We will talk to the author -- 360 next.



AUBERRY: He's very tired. He's -- they tell us he's very dehydrated, but he came through this in remarkable fashion.


ROBERTS: Michael Auberry, the 12-year-old Boy Scout who was missing in the North Carolina woods for three nights, did a lot of things right while he was out there in the wilderness. He drank water from streams, tried to keep warm at night by staying on the move as well.

Perhaps some of the credit can go to our next guest.

Gary Paulsen is the author of "Hatchet," which is one of Michael Auberry's favorite books. "Hatchet" is about a teenager who survives in the wilderness for nearly two months after a plane crash.

I spoke with Gary Paulsen in Anchorage, Alaska, earlier on tonight.


ROBERTS: Gary, when Michael Auberry's father gave that press conference this morning, he took some comfort in the fact that his son's favorite book was your novel "Hatchet" about a 13-year-old who survived two months in the wilderness after a plane crash.

What might he have learned from that book that would have helped him survive in the wilderness there in North Carolina?

GARY PAULSEN, AUTHOR, "HATCHET": I hope that the most important thing he would have gotten was that -- to not panic, to stay settled in his mind, so that he could evaluate the risks and the dangers.

And if that -- if that is -- if that is what he got, that would be wonderful.


PAULSEN: And, apparently -- I mean, there's a lot of credit to Michael for this, too, you know?


ROBERTS: Oh, absolutely. I mean, the boy -- boy had the presence of mind to -- to look after himself, and managed to survive the nights as well.

Are you surprised that this came out with a happy ending?

PAULSEN: I don't know about surprised. I'm very, very grateful and happy that it did.

Many times, it doesn't, especially as the weather gets a little colder. Hypothermia is an awful snake.


PAULSEN: It's just -- it can get you so fast.

ROBERTS: On your Web site, Gary, you have got a list of the top 10 techniques for survival.

Can you run those down for us? What are they?

PAULSEN: I don't -- I don't have the memory of them all.

The main thing is to do what he did, is to not panic, look for sources of comfort and -- and heat, in his case, and water. There's a rule of threes. You can live three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air. And water becomes really critical. And I guess he found water, too, which is really great.

ROBERTS: Were your surprised to hear that he was a fan of your book?


PAULSEN: Well, certainly grateful.

I'm glad that that -- that it helped. I didn't write the book as a survival guide -- I mean, it was a novel and an adventure story -- when I wrote it. But it's become very popular, perhaps for that reason.

ROBERTS: But it does sound like he did everything that was right, everything that you suggested in your book, even though it was a novel, as you say? PAULSEN: Yes, I hope so.

The novel is based on my childhood. I fostered myself to the woods. I lived in the woods as a child. And all the things that happened in the novel are based on reality, are based my life. I have had two forced landings in bush planes. I trapped and hunted and fished my whole childhood. So, that's all real stuff. So, I think, when he read it, I wasn't making stuff up just for the story. I mean, there were very real things that had really happened and really worked for me.

ROBERTS: So, you have been in that situation, perhaps as not as dire a situation as he was in.

What's it like?

PAULSEN: Again, if you can maintain your thinking and not panic, where you start running fruitlessly or using up energy or using up moisture in your body without thinking of what you're doing, that's the thing. That's the big one.

And I still get into those situations. Right now I live in the wilderness now in Alaska. I get lost periodically.

ROBERTS: Yes, we brought you in from two hours north of Anchorage. What is he going to take away from this situation based on your experience?

PAULSEN: I think a sense of joy and a love for a malted milk. The times that I've been there, for some reason, I focused on a malted milk. I thought they would be so good if I could just get back to a malted milk.

ROBERTS: Well, maybe he's watching tonight, Gary, and the first thing he'll do, he'll ask his parents for a malted milk tomorrow morning.

Gary Paulsen, the author of "Hatchet," thanks. Good to talk with you. Thanks for coming in, too.

PAULSEN: It's good to be here. Thank you.

ROBERTS: It's all about that malted milk.

Up next, we go back to Thailand and check in again with Anderson. His report on an unthinkable crime, sex slavery happening in 2007. Women and children trapped.

Plus, these stories.


ROBERTS (voice-over): A war zone covered with thousands of land mines. When they explode, the victims aren't just humans. The doctors are doing unbelievable things to help this elephant walk again. Tonight, the fight to survive, up close. A new twist in the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's baby. A judge in the Bahamas rules on the next move in the paternity fight. All the angles when 360 continues.


COOPER: We're in Bangkok again tonight and reporting for our series, "Planet in Peril". First, a little bit about why we traveled literally halfway around the world from New York for this special report.

We flew into Bangkok over the weekend and headed to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. Our story began there.

Last night, we showed you just how easy it is to bring rare animals, mostly endangered species, across the border to be sold in Thailand's thriving black markets. It's a multi billion dollar enterprise. And Bangkok, as we also showed you last night, is ground zero.

Tonight we're focusing on another, even more shocking business in this region. Not only animals, but human beings, adults, women, children, bought and sold. Many of them destined for slavery in the sex trade.

In fact, today, I was reading in the newspaper here that an American man and three Europeans were arrested. One was charged with child rape. The other is trying to have sex with children under the age of 15. And that is just one small part of this tragic story.


COOPER (voice-over): The crime is unthinkable. The numbers, staggering. Women and children taken from their homes, sold as sex slaves.

GARY HAUGEN, CEO, INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION: There really is nothing like the death in the eyes of these children inside these brothels who are just being serially raped.

COOPER: According to the U.S. State Department, between 600 and 800,000 people are trafficked across borders every year. The U.N. puts the figure at more than a million.

Seventy percent of them are female, 50 percent are children, most of them forced into prostitution. And the countries where we see it most, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, all here in Southeast Asia.

HAUGEN: This is just a form of slavery that's allowed to run rampant in the world, because it's tolerated by local law enforcement. And when you have massive amount of money to be made and you're allowed to prey upon children, this is an industry that just grows and grows.

COOPER: Some estimates show 2,000 to 3,000 trafficking victims in Cambodia have been forced into the sex industry. But the government is taking some actions to try to stop the tragic trade in human lives there. The U.S. government put the country on a watch list, because it hasn't done enough.

One organization, the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women, says around 80,000 women and children have been sold into the sex industry in Thailand since 1990.

It's horrifying, but it's big business. And it works here because it's truly a two-way traffic. Victims, both imported and exported, in most Southeast Asian countries, taking the business across borders and around the world.

HAUGEN: One of the problems is just the lack of convictions of the sex traffickers and brothel keepers. This is frequently the case because of corruption: corruption at the police level, corruption at the judicial level.

COOPER: Often the victims are lured by the promise of something better. A job, money, an education. Opportunities they can't get in their small, often impoverished towns.

And those who ply this terrible trade are well paid for their efforts with young girls, often sold at a premium, because the men who buy and use them believe they are most likely free of disease.

HAUGEN: The AIDS epidemic, many of these perpetrators and customers are looking for young children who they believe will make it harder to transmit the HIV-AIDS virus. Of course, that's a complete myth.

COOPER: Some governments in this region are making an effort with campaigns to raise awareness and shelters for abused women and children.

But those involved in stopping the horrors of sex trafficking agree as long as there's demand, someone will be there to supply more helpless victims, and that demand is unlikely to end any time soon.


COOPER: As we've been telling you, also, we're looking at the trade, the trafficking of animals. There are a lot of elephants here, which are put to work and also in danger. In cities like Bangkok, they serve as tourist attractions. But out in the countryside, they do the work of trucks and bulldozers.

Unfortunately, working for humans exposes the elephants to human violence and the suffering that comes with it.

CNN's Dan Rivers reports.


DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Land mine casualties aren't all human. Matada's (ph) foot was blown off when she stepped on a land mine eight years ago.

She's still being treated at a special elephant hospital in Thailand, one of 12 such victims.


RIVERS: Doctor Preecha Puangkham runs the hospital and has been trying to rehabilitate Matada (ph). They've been trying to fit a prosthetic leg, slowly introducing the idea to the elephant and trying to get her to put her weight on the damaged limb.

Dr. Preecha takes me to see an even more upsetting sight.

PUANGKHAM: You can see this is the first time to come here. The wound is very severe. Now the wound is still swelling, the leg is swelling.

RIVERS: Moecha (ph) is just 13 months old, a baby elephant horribly mutilated by a land mine.

PUANGKHAM: We wanted to find a way to treat her, to have a better life. We want to stop the land mines, because they're very dangerous for them.

RIVERS: Moecha (ph) is a potent symbol for the anti-land mine campaigners who are hoping her case will highlight the misery these devices cause.

As I discovered last year, Thailand's border with Myanmar, formerly Burma, is littered with thousands of land mines. I was careful where I walked in this simmering conflict zone where ethnic rebels and the Myanmar government have been fighting for 50 years.

Elephants are forced deep into this treacherous forest by their owners searching for work hauling lumber, sort of low tech bulldozers.

But such work is getting scarcer. Better roads and better bulldozers mean elephants and owners have to take greater risks.

It's perhaps why many elephant owners are increasingly turning away from traditional work to embrace the tourism industry. A much less risky way to earn a living, allowing their elephants to perform for tourists and posing for the odd photo.

(on camera) A lot of elephants that step on land mines are simply shot by their owners, because they can't work anymore. But Moecha (ph) is lucky, at least she has the chance of having a prosthetic leg fitted.

But nevertheless, she's probably going to have to stay in this hospital for the rest of her natural life, and that could be 80 years.

(voice-over) Like the tens of thousands of human land mine victims, Moecha (ph) is going through a long process of rehabilitation and treatment. But the vet's first task is to heal her psychological trauma, calming down this skittish little creature so they can try and give her a prosthetic leg and a second chance.

Dan Rivers, CNN, Lamplan (ph), Thailand.


COOPER: Up next, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand joins us with more on what's being done to protect endangered animals in this area.

Plus, a major development in the fight over Anna Nicole Smith's baby. The decision that could finally answer the question who is the daddy, when 360 continues.


COOPER: By some estimates the illegal trade of animals here in Thailand is as much as $20 billion business globally speaking. And about 20 or 25 percent of illegal trade around the world happens right here in Southeast Asia.

A few minutes ago, I talked with the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Ralph Boyce, about what the U.S. government is doing about this growing trade.


COOPER: How concerned is the U.S. government about the trafficking in wildlife? Why is it important? I mean, there's human beings being trafficked. Why does it matter about animals?

RALPH BOYCE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THAILAND: Well, we're concerned both about human beings and animals. The animal focus has been a more recent one. The last couple of years, we've tried to form something called Coalition against Wildlife Trafficking.

Why? We're talking about the possible extinction of species. This changes the ecosystem. We're talking about spreading of disease like SARS, avian flu.

COOPER: Because a lot of these animals aren't checked when they're sent to the United States?

BOYCE: Monkeys -- monkeys can transmit diseases that are communicable to humans. It's a $10 billion a year trade. The third thing I want to say is it's illegal. It's just corruption. And the people who are dealing in it are corrupt.

ANDERSON: How do you go about trying to stop it?

BOYCE: Well, we've got to get an alliance going between governments, private sector NGOs and scientists, basically. And programs like this is getting public awareness out there.

A lot of the demand for this sort of trafficking comes from the United States. But I'm sure most of the consumers don't realize what they're doing is actually illegal.

COOPER: What sort of -- what kind of animals are you seeing trafficked? How big a problem are we talking about?

BOYCE: In the U.S., we're talking about snakes, exotic reptiles, that sort of thing.

COOPER: Because there's a lot of people probably buying these things in pet stores, and they don't even know.

BOYCE: Absolutely don't realize the fact that...

And in this part of the world, you've got things like bears and tigers going back and forth to China. You've performing animals in the circus. It might be an orangutan from Borneo being trafficked up to Taiwan to be in a circus, something like that.

COOPER: It's incredible, too, when you start to look at the money, how much money is involved in this. And it's also the same groups which are trafficking in drugs and trafficking in human beings who are trafficking in animals.

BOYCE: It's the same networks. It's basically transnational crime in all of its various forms.

COOPER: And so it's really -- it's a law enforcement issue as much as an education issue?

BOYCE: It's a supply side, demand side, law enforcement, governments. It's a variety -- it's a good example of the kind of latter day post Cold War transnational threat that we face.

COOPER: What -- are you optimistic that you can actually make a dent it?

BOYCE: It reminds me 20 years ago in this part of the world, we used to say, our narcotics control program, we're getting better and better every year and the politics are getting worse and worse.

So we're getting better organized. We're dealing with this, but the problem just continues to have -- it's a low cost investment and a high yield and attracts people into it.

COOPER: It doesn't seem to be one of the problems, that the local laws often, you know, the fines are very low and there's -- really, no one ever does any jail time, it seems.

BOYCE: Well, here in Thailand, in fact, the seizures over the last year have more than doubled. Thailand is kind of a unique case in the middle of a pretty bad neighborhood, as the countries around the region, in this region.

That you really have the kind of failures you're talking about.

COOPER: Ambassador, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

BOYCE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) You can read more of our experiences here in Thailand and the rest of our journey on our blogs. Go to Again, that's And a behind the scenes look at, well, working here in Thailand.

Up next, another judge, another ruling, a new move in the battle over Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Plus, the bear battle. Abandoned by his mother, and animal rights activists are calling something drastic. You'll likely be surprised what they're suggesting to do. We were. It's our "Shot of the Day" when 360 continues.


ROBERTS: Is it a light at the end of the tunnel? There could be an end in sight to the battle over Anna Nicole Smith baby. Today, a Bahamian judge ordered the DNA test on the infant to identify the girl's father.

CNN senior legal analyst and our resident Anna Nicole Smith expert, Jeffrey Toobin, joins me now.

So how soon could all this happen, Jeff?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it could happen soon, but because I am also the Bahamian legal analyst, I can tell you that, under Bahama's law, it's different from American law.

In American law, biological father gets custody, done, over. But under Bahamas law, even if, as most people expect, Howard K. Stern is not proved to be the father, he still could have an argument to be named the -- named the -- you know, have custody.

ROBERTS: Because under Bahamian law...

TOOBIN: Under Bahamian law, it's not just biology. It's who's raising the child, what the connection is.

In fact, the conspiracy theorists believe that the reason Howard K. Stern settled in the Bahamas is that he knew this about the law and knew that he wasn't the father. So he thought that was the way he could get Dannielynn custody.

ROBERTS: It's like the laws saying possession is nine-10ths of the law. Right?

TOOBIN: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: Birkhead walked out of the courtroom, though, high- fiving everybody, pumping his fists in the air. Is he going to be sorely disappointed here?

TOOBIN: Certainly, the smart money is on Birkhead to be the father, and that's an advantage in Bahama law, and in American law, as well as sort of a moral victory at this point, since he's been -- since this has been so contested and all of America and all of the Bahamas wants to know who the father is.

ROBERTS: So since you are such an expert in Bahamian law, will the judge look at Birkhead and say, can he provide -- even though he might be the biological father, and we're not saying that he is, because that certainly hasn't been proven.

But would the judge look at that and say can he be an adequate provider? Whereas you notice, Howard Stern has got a house in the Bahamas.

TOOBIN: A house in the Bahamas he might not own.

ROBERTS: But there's a certain amount of money. But will he take that into account? Both possession and the DNA?

TOOBIN: Totality of circumstances. All the factors together.

I mean, Howard K. Stern is living in this house, but the owner is trying to get him thrown out. Howard K. Stern lives a kind of complicated and rather chaotic life...

ROBERTS: As did most people associated with Anna Nicole Smith.

TOOBIN: ... as did Anna Nicole Smith.

ROBERTS: And to show that there is no bizarre link to which this case won't go, police in Hollywood, Florida, today were walking through a local park when they smelled the pungent scent of marijuana, traced it down and found Judge Lawrence Korda, allegedly. Judge Lawrence Korda, who took part in part of this paternity case, puffing away on a joint. He's now been arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

TOOBIN: But the important point to establish is that, you know, our beloved Judge Larry, who was the guy who, you know, held the nation transfixed with his whacky antics, he's not the guy who was arrested for marijuana.

But it was surprising to me that Judge Korda was arrested. Because you know, in the little booklet you get when you become a judge, it says don't smoke pot in the park. And you know, I guess he just didn't get to that. It's kind of surprising to me.

ROBERTS: Well, thankfully, Seidlin is not walking around Hollywood stoned, because...

TOOBIN: That's right.

ROBERTS: Jeff, thanks very much.

TOOBIN: All right.

ROBERTS: Anderson, we're just having too much fun here. Take it away.

COOPER: John yes. Coming up, "The Shot". He's cute and cuddly, but one animal rights group want him dead. That's right, animal rights group. We'll tell you why. First, Kiran Chetry joins us with a "360 Bulletin".

Hey, Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there, Anderson.

Well, Vice President Dick Cheney is back home after a hospital trip today. He had another ultrasound on a clot that was discovered in his left leg earlier this month. Mr. Cheney's spokesman said that the tests show no complications.

The vice president has a long history of heart problems, including four heart attacks and an aneurysm.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco announced today that she won't be running for a second term. Blanco was criticized for the way she handled the response to Hurricane Katrina. A recent poll also showed her trailing her Republican opponent by 24 points.

In financial news, the markets all closed up today. The Dow rising nearly 62 points, the NASDAQ up 13, and the S&P added nearly eight points.

And a different kind of dining experience awaiting Israelis this summer. The first branch of the restaurant chain Hooters is scheduled to open in Tel Aviv. Hooters, which features waitresses in short skirts and tight tank tops. Yes, they do.

The chain plans to expand during the next two years to Colombia, Dubai, Guam, New Zealand and India. It's interesting. I'm wondering, Anderson, whether or not the dress code will stay the same in places like Dubai.

COOPER: Yes. That would be an interesting question, indeed.

Kiran, also just want to clarify something. In John Roberts' last report, he mentioned that Judge Korda -- I believe he said Judge Korda was arrested for smoking pot in a pot. He was not arrested, but he has been charged a misdemeanor charge. Not arrested but charged.

Kiran, check out "The Shot of the Day". A polar bear cub abandoned by his mother. He's become a star in Germany. Knute, as he's known, is hogging the limelight at the Berlin Zoo. He's even posed for the celebrity photographer, Annie Liebowitz. Fantastic photographer.

Knute's being raised by the zoo keepers. That's apparently a problem from one animal rights group which says it's not natural and that the polar bear cub should be killed.

Not much chance of that, though. Knute's about to make his public debut. The call for his death was instantly shot down by politicians as well as other animal rights groups. And so a happy ending to that. We want you to give "The Shot" a shot. If you see some amazing video, tell us about it, We'll put some of your best clips on the air.

And just ahead tonight, the political showdown over the firing of eight U.S. attorneys is intensifying. Strong words and a line in the sand from the president.

Plus, a missing Boy Scout is safe at home after spending three nights in the cold woods of North Carolina. New details on how he survived and why he went missing in the first place. That's next on 360.