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Iranians Hold British Military Personnel; Can Newest Pageant Winner Avoid Scandal?; Immigration Issues; Sexual Slavery

Aired March 24, 2007 - 22:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Sold as a sex slave, this young girl tells us CNN her family thinks she's a babysitter.
Showdown in the Persian Gulf, could it lead to a dangerous conflict this time with Iran?

Spunky, feisty, this 101-year-old isn't backing down, even after this brutal beatdown.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to apologize to my family if I've brought any disgrace upon you.


SANCHEZ: Bye-bye to a tarnished Tara. A beauty contest wipes the slate clean with a new queen. This from the CNN NEWSROOM.

And hello again, everybody I'm Rick Sanchez. We're all over two huge stories right off the top tonight. One has the potential to trigger a major world conflict. The other could mean the death of one of your family members.

Now we've got the very latest on pets being poisoned by their grocery store food. We'll have all that.

The big story, of course though, is Iran. It was already punished by the United Nations. Tonight, the hammer comes down and even harder. More sanctions, tougher sanctions, all over a nuclear program that Tehran refuses to shut down.

The new restrictions ban all exports of weapons from Iran. They also freeze the assets of people and groups linked to Iran's nuclear and missile programs. And they urge Iran to restrict travel for all government officials and commanders in the elite revolutionary guard.

The sanctions do not affect Iran's oil industry. Iran, by the way is the world's fourth largest producer of oil.

But here's why Iran is really front and center in the news tonight. 15 British troops -- sailors and Marines are in Iranian custody tonight. This is file footage you're looking at right here of their mother ship. It's the HMS Cornwall.

Their location? We don't know. Their condition? We don't know. We do know that Iranian forces seized them yesterday while they were inspecting a merchant ship. Iran says they were trespassing. Well, here's what a British commander is saying tonight is his priority.


COMMODORE NICK LAMBERT, CMD. OFFICER, HMS CORNWALL: Well, my immediate concern, obviously is for my people. I've got 15 sailors and marines, who have been arrested by the Iranians. And my immediate concern is that they are -- their safety and their safe return to me is ensured. And I can assure all of the families who are listening out there that everything is being done to the highest level of the U.K. government.


SANCHEZ: Now it's hard for us over here to get a sense of the area that we're talking about. So let's do this. Roger, if you can, let's do a flyover and see this waterway that's been in question here.

Now you're looking at it right there. You see? That's the waterway we're talking about. Over here is Iran. Over here is Iraq. So this is water right here. Let me clear that for you now and show you. Right here, near the mouth of the Persian Gulf where it gets into this waterway, it's essentially right there. I'll put an arrow so you can see it.

Right there, that is where this crisis is being played out. That's where apparently the Iranians say that the merchant ship was at the time.

Let's take you now to Tehran to get more. Aneesh Raman has been following the situation from there all day. And he's been looking into the significance of this particular waterway.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Huge significance, Rick. First of all, it has two names. The Iraqis call it Shat al Arah (ph). The Iranians call it Arvanrud (ph).

It's a waterway that feeds into the northern part of the Persian Gulf. And it is, itself, a border between the countries. Centuries of battles have been fought over who controls that area. It was a major reason Iran and Saddam's Iraq went to war for that eight-year bloody battle in the early 1980s.

Now you take all of that historical tension and add in today's scenario. On one side, Iran, which looks across that waterway and sees western forces, who in the extreme, they're afraid could be part of some sort of attack over Iran's nuclear defiance.

On the other side, Western forces who suggest Iran continues to smuggle in weapons to destabilize Iraq. And you get a sense why people think that waterway itself could be a trigger point for something much bigger.

SANCHEZ: Well, and of course, the British might be arguing, as well, hey, we're in Iraqi territory or Iraqi, you know, international waters, right?

RAMAN: Yes. And it's a murky border. And they've said from the start. And they said it in 2004, when they had British military personnel abducted. But Iran said then, as it says now, no, you are in Iranian water.

It's very murky there. And as far as I understand from people who have been there, boats sort of cross both sides on a frequent basis. It's just how it's done. So we're not quite sure what triggered the response that we saw on Friday.

SANCHEZ: Let me ask about the Iranian revolutionary guard. Because apparently these are the guys who have taken these British marines and these British sailors. And it's apart and separate from the Iranian military, correct?

RAMAN: Yes, completely separate. The Iranian revolutionary guard is an elite force, highly secretive. It doesn't respond to the central government. It doesn't respond to President Ahmadinejad.

Instead, it's leadership is appointed by Iran's supreme leader Khomeini. To the extent that they can have autonomous operations as well, they're probably the most autonomous part of Iran's forces. And we don't know how much they even have to ask permission in terms of what they do.

They've been accused of using that waterway to smuggle commercially as well as weapons. That's why the British are out there, searching these cargo ships.

But they are an incredibly secretive force. And again, it is part of the delay we saw in Iran's reaction because the rest of Iran, i.e. the central government and the foreign ministry then have to respond to what Iran's revolutionary guard did.

SANCHEZ: Aneesh Raman working hard. We certainly appreciate you taking time to talk to us. And now you should probably get some sleep as well. Thanks so much. Aneesh Raman following the story for us there in Tehran.

RAMAN: Thanks.

SANCHEZ: But it's important to key in on some of the things that Aneesh Raman is saying there. Listen to what he says about the fact that these are hard-liners and controlled by hard-liners. They're not even controlled by Ahmadinejad. So you wonder tonight what the British are thinking and what they're saying. So we wanted to get that part of the story as well.

So I spoke tonight with Great Britain's ambassador to the United Nations, who believes, his words, that those 15 troops are being held against international law. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EMYR JONES-PARRY, UK AMBASSADOR TO UN: Our information is that they were in Iraqi waters, that they were pursuing the boarding of vessels pursuant to Resolution 1723 and acting perfectly legally.

SANCHEZ: So again, your contention is that they were not in Iranian waters at any time?

JONES-PARRY: That is our belief, yes.

SANCHEZ: And that would mean that they have been taken illegally, then, by the Iranians?

JONES-PARRY: We believe there is no basis for their detention.

SANCHEZ: Why would the Iranians do something like this at a time like this, especially when there's these hearings that have been taking place in the United Nations about actually incrementing their sanctions?

JONES-PARRY: I think you'd probably better direct that question at Tehran. I can't answer that.

SANCHEZ: Well, you're a diplomat. Have you had any conversations with the Iranians there at the United Nations to try and get a sense of why they would do be doing something like this? Have you asked them?

JONES-PARRY: No, absolutely not, because this is an issue which is bilateral. And it's one that's being pursued in that way.


SANCHEZ: That is Sir Emyr Jones-Parry. We thank him for taking time to talk to us about this conflict. We'll be checking on him and others to get more.

Now we also want to check with you and hear from you. And we want to hear from you. Are you worried at this point that this conflict could lead to a war or a greater conflict with Iran? Give us a call. We want to know what you're thinking. 1-800-807-2620. That's 1-800-807-2620. We're going to air some of your responses right here later this hour.

Also coming up, the recall. And then, the reaction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My hearts go out to the thousands of pet owners across Canada and the United States for their losses and their worries.


SANCHEZ: This is turning into a major problem. Is it wet food? Is it dry food? What's the best food? An expert tells you what you should know about this coming up next.

And then take a look at this. Pictures tonight of a storm that knocked over trucks and wiped away houses. And then...


SANCHEZ: Who are you going to vote for?


SANCHEZ: He's going to vote for Barack Obama, he says. That's the question everyone asking. One outspoken author tells us why Barack Obama is like a Kennedy.

And this may look like any Saturday night at a favorite teen hangout, but a closer look reveals children sold into sexual slavery. All of this and a whole lot more. This newscast is packed tonight, folks. Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: We are moving once again. This time, we're in the area where the feeds come in. That's where all the videos come in from all over the country. And we want to show you this weather situation, this flooding situation that's been developing out in Indiana.

As you can see, people are now being given bags so they can protect their homes and possibly sandbag to keep the water back. In many cases, though, it's already too late. The water's already crested. People trying to drive through the area, but that's probably not a very good idea.

This thing's going to be going on for several days now. Jacqui Jeras is going to be bringing us all the details on this story, but we'll be following the videos for you.

And then there's this story. Talk about weather. This is massive weather. This is a huge tornado. Look at this thing. This is in Clovis, New Mexico, by the way. And we're actually going to be able to show you not only the tornado, but the aftermath of the tornado. And that's really the news event here.

You can see that it actually comes down and makes contact with the ground and with some of the cars, like that one that have been toppled. Several dozen homes, buildings we understand, have been destroyed. 16 people have been hurt. We don't know the extent of the injuries. The good news is nobody's been killed by this thing. We'll continue to check in on that.

And then there's this story as well. You know how "American Idol" has become just a craze all over the country? Can you believe it's also a craze in some prisons all over the country? This is Maricopa, Arizona. And that right there is Cory Brothers. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CORY BROTHERS: I guess you say what can make me feel this way.


SANCHEZ: Yes, that's an inmate idol, I guess you could say. He's no worse or no better than some of the folks on the real "American Idol." Didn't we just say that?

Speaking of bad girls, that's the case with the Miss USA pageant. It's still a controversy. And we are going to examine it for you by telling you what's happened in the past as we continue here in the CNN NEWSROOM, checking out feeds. As they come your way, we'll bring them to you.


SANCHEZ: And we are welcoming you back. I'm Rick Sanchez. A scary prediction tonight about the pet food that's being blamed for the deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs thus far.

Here's the problem. Experts are now warning the toll is likely to grow. 60 million cans of -- or pouches of cuts and gravy style food are off the shelves after a massive recall. What's worse -- some of them contain, we now learn today, rat poison.

Now in reports that we found from across the country, people whose pets died after eating the food are generally outraged.


ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Denise Tracy of Milford says her cat Fluffy is among them. She euthanized her 11- year-old family pet last Thursday.

DENISE TRACY, LOST HER CAT: It's just horrific. I wouldn't even keep rat poison in my house in the furthest corner of the basement. I -- to think that I was feeding it to my pet, it -- I feel like I was punched in the stomach.

CHO: And she's not alone. Here at the Angel Animal Medical Center, three cats were put down in two weeks, all with the same kidney failure issues.

TRACY: Watching her suffer and putting her down, it's really hard to erase those memories.

CHO: Anita holds two of her Yorkshire Terriers, Vinnie and Bella.

ANITA BACCI, LOST 2 DOGS: They mean everything. They are our family.

CHO: So Banchee was concerned when several weeks ago another dog, 13-year-old Savannah, became gravely ill. The dog had to be put to sleep. Two weeks later, the family's fourth dog, 14-year-old Lacey, met the same fate. Banchee suspects tainted dog food is to blame.

BACCI: It looked like healthy food to me. And I thought the dogs would enjoy it because it did have a gravy in it.

CHO: Four-year-old Vinnie also showed symptoms. He's on antibiotics and expected to recover. Bacci says recovering from her loss will take a while longer.

BACCI: My husband and my two kids, we were all totally devastated over this. It was such a senseless, horrible death.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At his Linwood store, About Pets, Nolan Boday is very selective about the pet food he sells, emphasizing what he calls health-oriented products. He thinks this has the potential to radically change the landscape of the pet food business in the U.S.

NOLAN BODAY, OWNER, ABOUT PETS : I think the general American public is going to be a lot more informed and a lot more aware of how pet food is made, where it's coming from. And I'm hoping that as the information gets out there, we realize we need to change what we've been doing because it doesn't work.


SANCHEZ: And joining us now is Dr. Melinda Merck. And she's also brought somebody -- a friend with her. This is George, right?


SANCHEZ: And George is having renal failure?

MERCK: Yes, he's been in kidney failure since last November.

SANCHEZ: So this is what cats would experience in if they take this tainted dog food and cat food.

MERCK: Yes, it's one of the things -- yes, absolutely that they can get.

SANCHEZ: Now you know what's interesting. You brought some food here. I'm going to just let the viewers see it. Let's get a shot of this if we possibly can. This food tends to be wet, but not as wet as some of the food that they've talked about that are affecting the animals. That's more like a gravy.

MERCK: Correct.

SANCHEZ: You know, when you pour it out of the can, it comes out like in globs.

MERCK: Right, right.

SANCHEZ: I'm hearing a lot of veterinarians say that if you can try, you should try and stay away from that stuff.

MERCK: Well, there's -- the canned food is a good food for animals with certain life stages and health risks, such as cats, as they get older are very at risk for kidney failure. And they also get a lot of urinary problems that canned food can help because it contains so much water.

However, with this - this recall has targeted the gravy type foods, but there are other options of canned food for these owners.

SANCHEZ: So generally speaking, if you have a healthy cat or a healthy dog, you should try and stick to the dryer foods anyway, right?

MERCK: No, that's not true because canned food does play that role in supporting their kidneys. And if they have other health risks, then they should be on canned food. But you really need to check with your veterinarian on what kind of food they should be on.

SANCHEZ: What are you telling your patients who are coming in and saying, listen, I'm concerned. I don't even know what I gave him. I may have given him one of these pet foods that are being recalled. What are you saying?

MERCK: Well, I mean, first, we want to find out if that was the potential that every animal that they either suspect or know has had ingested the pet recalled food - they need to see the veterinarian to get certain blood tests and urinalysis done.

SANCHEZ: So the only way of knowing is actually check the animal itself?

MERCK: Absolutely.

SANCHEZ: And when you check the animals, what symptoms do you see? Or what symptoms would people start to see that would make them start to be concerned enough to call you, or bring the animal to you?

MERCK: Well, that's the concern is because there can be damage to the kidneys without any symptoms. But the symptoms that are being reported is increased drinking, urination, vomiting, anorexia, weight loss.

SANCHEZ: You see any of those, just be - you know, use caution and give someone like yourself a call?


SANCHEZ: That's great. Thanks for coming on and being with us.

MERCK: You're welcome.

SANCHEZ: And we thank you, too, George. Wasn't quite as hungry.


SANCHEZ: He's probably got stage fright. We appreciate it.

Coming up, you can't forget this video. An elderly woman brutally beaten by a purse snatcher. And police say that she was one of two victims attacked by the same man that night. What's happened since then? The latest chapter is on the way for you. And you're going to like it.

Also, Barack Obama has admitted to using cocaine way, way back in his life. Why does one political hound dog say that won't hurt his chances or shouldn't for the White House?

And then, this question for you. British troops are now being held captive by Iran tonight and in Iran. Are you worried that this could lead to a larger conflict, possibly even a war? Give us a call, 1-800-807-2620. We're going to be airing some of your responses in just a little bit.


SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. Two Tennessee girls are in legal trouble tonight after a prank call that went horribly wrong. Police say the teens left a frightening message on a woman's cell phone. She was so upset when she heard it, she had a mild stroke. What's worse when the woman got the call, at the very time she got it, she was in a funeral procession.

Listen for yourself.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will kill you in half a minute, so you decide. It's your game. Do you want to live or die?


SANCHEZ: Imagine the frightening moment she had. By the way, the woman was rushed to the hospital. We're told tonight she is doing all right. The two girls are now charged with phone harassment.

Isn't that great? Look at this, huh? Just listen to the music. Go Rocky. Rocky's got nothing on her, in fact. It's a grand entrance for a grand lady honored for her toughness. You remember a couple of weekends ago, we brought you this story. It was huge at the time. 101-year-old Rose Morat, we were a little worried about her. She received a plaque and a lot of applause in a New York senior center Friday.

She was beat up by a mugger. He robbed her in this infamous attack. It was caught on surveillance video. Everyone was concerned for her.

He's still at large. She says the attack won't change the way that she lives her life, by golly! Good for her.

Now let's take a look at this video again. Remember we showed you this just a little while ago while we were over at the Epic Center? This is a tornado that hit in Clovis, New Mexico.

Let's go to Jacqui Jeras now, because she's been following this thing, too. And you can talk about two things, I suppose, Jacqui. Hey, this tornado and I'm curious -- is this part of a system that's going to affect other people or are we done with it?

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, no, definitely not done with it. In fact, folks in Nebraska dealing with some severe weather at this hour. The storm system started in the Southwest. Now it's making its way to the Plain states and it's getting -- moving into parts of the upper Midwest by tomorrow.

Tornado watch in effect right now. Just a sliver of it left here across west-central parts of Nebraska. And this line right here is what we're most concerned about, producing some strong and damaging winds this time.

It's moving up to the north and to the east. And here's Broken Bow just at the top of the hour reporting a wind gust at 64 miles per hour. So that can cause a little bit of damage.

Northern tier of the system right now just bringing in some scattered light rain showers. Don't want to see much more of this unfortunately across the corn belt areas as we still have some flooding concerns that you can see from Iowa through Illinois, and on into Indiana.

Of course, we had some moderate flooding north and east of the Indianapolis area. And the Wabash River and the white rivers both out of their banks right now, slowly will be receding after they crest later in the week, probably by Wednesday.

Well, our i-reporters have been busy out on the scene, one of which in relation to that flooding I was just talking about. This is from Rick Sutton from Albany, Indiana. That's just to the north and to the east of the Indianapolis area.

He drove down the road just outside of his house until he said he couldn't drive anymore, that the water was just over the top of the road. This is the Missinoua (ph) River up there in Indiana.

If you would like to send us pictures if you see news happen or weather happen, you can say, I report for CNN. Go to and click on the "i report" link and send us your pictures. If they're good, we'll put them on the air. Rick?

SANCHEZ: All right, thanks so much.

By the way, Rick Sutton had a great curveball in case you didn't know. It's a different Rick Sutton, I know.

That music means it's time to talk politics. And I've been talking politics with Professor and author Michael Eric Dyson. We discussed Barack Obama's cocaine confession.

Now you might remember the Democratic presidential candidate admits in his latest book that as a teenager, he once dabbled with the drug. It's behind him.

Well, Dyson says that the admission shouldn't hurt Obama's White House chances. And here's why.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, AUTHOR, PROFESSOR: That's why I want him to be president. You see, when Bill Clinton said you had a perfectly good joint but you didn't inhale, I don't trust your political judgment. I mean, what was wrong with the joint? Was it laced? No, it was great. You didn't inhale? Bro, I don't trust your judgment.

Obama lit it up. The doobie was lit. Trust you, because you're telling the truth. I smoked some dope. I was a I kid. I was coming up. I was trying to prove my (INAUDIBLE) days. I was trying to argue with myself. I was trying to prove how black or not black I was. I came to a better and coherent sense of that blackness. I think that's more honest.

SANCHEZ: Are you going to vote for him?

DYSON: Oh, absolutely.

SANCHEZ: No question?

DYSON: Absolutely, because first of all, here's a man who represents the best of an intellectual tradition that is resonant in Thomas Jefferson and William Jefferson Clinton to be sure.

Number two, here's a man who I think has brought a fresh perspective to American politics.


SANCHEZ: Well, Dyson, as you probably know, is the author of the new book "Debating Race." And we'll continue our conversation.

Coming up, they are girls with dreams of a better life, but they trusted the wrong people. And now they're virtually prisoners, forced to sell themselves for sex. Hard to imagine, yes, in this country.

Imagine if it was your daughter. Imagine worse what kind of people would be involved in something like this.

And this man also had dreams of a better life. So he came to the U.S. to make an honest living, but he made a mistake. And his dreams have turned into one huge nightmare. Talk about a nightmare.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not been a job to me. Lark has been a passion. Lark has been my passion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God doesn't accept everyone.


SANCHEZ: He's gone from public servant to pariah, all for wanting to make a life-altering change. You'll never guess what it is. Or maybe you will.


SANCHEZ: We welcome you back once again. When you hear the word "slavery", you probably think of something that disappeared centuries ago. But in some dark corners of the world tonight, it's actually thriving. And these days, the face of slavery is not only about hard labor. It's about sex.

CNN's Richard Lui brings us now this unique perspective on a cruel story from Indonesia.


RICHARD LUI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the hotel room, the girl we'll call May says she is 19. She doesn't look older than 16. We met May in a dark bar well known for trafficking in underaged girls. When you first see the girls there, you think they should be at home with their parents or in school, not here selling their bodies.

ADITYO KUSUMONINDYO, BATAM POLICE CHIEF (through translator): They are cheated. They didn't know and didn't realize that they'll be working in prostitution outlets. Their only hope was to get a job in a company or work as domestic helpers when they first left their hometown.

LUI: It would be nearly impossible to film a transaction like this without using a hidden camera. So we did so, posing as customers. We talked with the madame, who nervously plays with her trick log. And then, we pay $35 for May and another girl. It's the only way to get them outside of brothels so we can talk to them.

Then we head to a nearby hotel.

(on camera): Now what they were given was some two to three thousand rupia, the equivalent of 35 U.S. dollars. The girls in the end only receiving a third of that, or some 12 or 13 U.S. dollars.

(voice-over): Ironically, girls owe more money when they arrive in brothels than they did before. House rules vary, but in general, the girls are commonly charged $125 for travel costs. They also owe the agent that cheated them a commission of two to three hundred dollars for getting that job.

At the brothel, they must get one trick a day, which yields roughly $12 to pay off their debt. Theoretically, they could pay off their debt in about a month, but if they get fewer than 30 tricks in one month, they forfeit all previous earnings and must start all over again. And in some cases, this can lead to a beating.

MAY, SEX WORKER (through translator): Recently, my friend was beaten up four times. She wanted to send money back home, but didn't have a single booking for the past two months.

LUI: The bodyguards that the non-government organization YMKK pointed out to me here they say beat the girls when they are late, beat them when they don't get enough tricks, and beat them when they attempt to run. The girls live in double fear. Pimps over their shoulders and families finding out their shameful profession.

MAY: No, no, no. I told my mom that I was working at a babysitter. I just told my friend to tell my family that I'm working as a babysitter in Malaysia. They don't know the real reason. If they ever found out, I'll be dead.

LUI: Whether it's girls being lied to about well-paying jobs, families sending their sisters or daughters off on hopes of improving their standard of living, or the police's inability to stop the traffickers, the problem seems to go back to one issue identified by the police chief. A struggling economy.

KUSUMONINDYO: Who are we as humans that can resist that kind of offer with the poor economy we face?

LUI: And for girls like May, they cannot.


SANCHEZ: Richard Lui is a correspondent with CNN pipeline. Wow, what a story.

LUI: Yes, really was a shocking story, development as we looked into it, certainly.

SANCHEZ: You shot this on your own time off?

LUI: Yes, you know what happened was, I did work in the region before. And I did a story on sex tourism.


LUI: I met some people from the U.N. for the Development Fund for Women. And they sent me a tape with testimonies, these girls that an NGO had saved.

I didn't get the chance to tell the story then. When I moved back to the States, I could tell, obviously, because I was here. So I went back for my vacation. I said this would be a great time to get in there. I remember some of the testimonies of the girls.

One girl who's family had actually sold her, didn't sell, but signed a contract to get her to go to these cafes. She turned -- when she got there, she found out she had to be a sex slave. She refused to have sex. They beat her. They threw her in a concrete aqueduct. She hit her dead, she was incapacitated, drooling, and could barely walk.

SANCHEZ: And she's probably not the only one. I mean, stories like this are probably repeated day in and day out.

LUI: It is so, so common.

SANCHEZ: $35 you say for 24 hours.

LUI: That's all it takes, Rick, is $35 for 24 hours.

SANCHEZ: So what this really is is a combination of - or maybe I should say a mix of abuse with economic depression, right?

LUI: Yes, that's what it is really is. They're sort of stuck between do they feed their family, do they go to school, and who can earn the money? In this case, it's the girls.

SANCHEZ: So if they don't do this, their families literally what, starve? I mean, I can't imagine what - the other side of doing - or allowing your daughter to do something like this.

LUI: Seventeen thousand islands in Indonesia. You can imagine how difficult it is just to get running water and live a good life. And you have to move. To move, you need money. So a lot of these girls are trying to save a family of seven or eight.

SANCHEZ: And it's not just girls. It's probably boys, too, we should add.

LUI: Yes, that's true. But most often in this case, it is girls at least in the space I was looking at.

SANCHEZ: OK, and that's in Indonesia. Richard, thanks so much for bringing us this story. A job well done.

LUI: You bet.

SANCHEZ: Good reporting.

Now let's take a wider view of this now. Let's go beyond Indonesia and try and focus on the sex trafficking worldwide. Victor Malarek is the author of "The Natashas". It's a stunning expose of what he calls the new global sex trade. And he's joining us now from Toronto.

So how widespread is this, Victor?

VICTOR MALAREK, AUTHOR, "THE NATASHAS": It's huge. I mean, when you talk about it in numbers, 800,000 people are trafficked a year. And the vast majority are young women. And the vast majority of them are between the ages of like 14 to about 22. It's huge. And it's right across the world. And you know, when you talk about the dark corners of the world, it's in every country, in every Western country.

SANCHEZ: Yes, you know what's interesting is, you were saying that one of the focuses of this is in Eastern Europe, correct?

MALAREK: Oh, correct. You know, when the wall -- you know, the wall came down and the iron curtain crumbled, the whole place exploded. The social safety net collapsed. Women were thrown onto the unemployment lines.

SANCHEZ: We've got -- you know what? I want you to talk about something now because we put a map together just using the information on your book. Talk to us about the countries where this is originating while our viewers take a look at this map. And we'll see it right here. It's pointing to different parts of the world, but it all seems to be coming from that part there, a lot used to refer to as Eurasia.

MALAREK: Oh, yes. Well, a lot of it's coming from Russia, from Ukraine, from Romania, from Moldovia, from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, all of the countries where the social safety net collapsed with the iron curtain coming down.

SANCHEZ: Is it more than it was in the past? Is it actually picking up?

MALAREK: Oh, yes. You know, it's like one-quarter of the trade suddenly happened. 250,000 young women being trafficked out of that part of the world. They've become the latest "it" girls. They just flood all of the Western nations.

SANCHEZ: Is it because, and I'm just going out here thinking with you, is it because the rich are richer and the poor are poorer?

MALAREK: Oh, yes. And this is all about the man, Rick. It's all about the man. And three key letters in demand are always m-a-n.

SANCHEZ: What do mean? Just guys who decide that they're going to - that they're bored and they're going to go over there and do something?

MALAREK: Oh, yes. And you look on the worldwide sex sites, they're chatting. They're pointing to cities and towns around the world and saying here's where you can go and here's how much it will cost.

SANCHEZ: You know, there are probably people watching this newscast right now, who are wondering I would never allow myself to stoop that low. So they're wondering what can cause something like this? What's the mindset of these women? Are they that needy, that desperate that they have to do something like this?

MALAREK: You know, we don't understand the abject poverty that they live in. The fact that they have to help aging parents, or their children are sick, or they have no food and no jobs.

And it's very easy to blame the prostitute, to blame the woman when, you know, when really the blame lies with men, because men have the choice. And, you know, rather than saying, I'll help you out, here's $25, $50 or $100, you're saying to those women, I will help you out, but put out first.

SANCHEZ: What can I do about it? What can we do about it? And what's being done about it, final question?

MALAREK: Well, you know, we have to look at our nations and say to our government leaders, look, we have to send out messages to these Western countries that are bringing in these women by the boatloads and truckloads and planeloads to say, look, stop doing this. And we have to tell our men, this is not a good thing.

SANCHEZ: I feel your passion. Victor Malarek, boy, you really know how to state your case on something like this. We appreciate having you on.

MALAREK: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, it's a dog eat dog world even for some stars. One rapper hits a problem snag on his way to Europe.

There are plenty of stereotypes of immigrants in America, right? But who really are they? Well, we're going to bring you their story. I go out there and find it and tell it from the inside.

Also, tarnished tiaras, drinking, drugs and Donald Trump, what a combo, huh? The Miss USA Pageant hopes to get past a very bad year.


SANCHEZ: All right, let's do this now. Let's check on some of the most popular items at tonight, things you're looking into. We know, so here they are. He's a man, but he plans to become a woman. And he was the city manager for Handel (ph), Florida, but now he's out of a job because city commissioners fired him. He and his supporters say it's because of his planned sex change. Commissioners say, nope, that's not the case.

Looks like University of Florida faculty have some hard feelings toward the former Governor Jeb Bush. They voted this week to deny him an honorary degree, but former students, some of them feel differently. Earlier today, the Florida Alumni Association made Mr. Bush an honorary alumnus.

And Snoop Dogg gets dissed. He's been denied a visa for a series of London concerts with P. Diddy. No word on why he was denied, but could possibly have something to do with an airport brawl again. It broke out during a previous visit to London.


TIME STAMP: 2243:51

SANCHEZ: All right, time to make our way into B control now to catch you up on some of the other stories that we've been following. There's a lot of controversy tonight in North Carolina, for example. It's over a new jail with a bit of a twist.

Take a look at the video. It seems like a ordinary lock-up, but this facility has an immigration center right inside. It's one of the few jails around the country with trained staff to screen inmates, immigration status.

The local sheriff says it will help crack down on illegal immigrants. Latino advocates say it will lead to discrimination and distrust of police. Pedro Zapeta could be the poster child for President Bush's plan for a guest worker program. He snuck into the U.S. from Guatemala. For 11 years, he's worked at different restaurants until he saved nearly $60,000 bucks. Eventually, he wanted to take all that money on board a flight home to help some of his poor family members.

But anyone planning to leave the United States with more than $10,000 has to file paperwork with Customs. He didn't do that, so he was arrested. Pedro was accused of being a drug trafficker. And now the U.S. wants to deport him. His attorney calls it a huge waste of taxpayer money.


ROBERT GERSHMAN, PEDRO ZAPETA'S ATTORNEY: All he wants to do is self-deport and go home and stay home. I mean, he is a perfect example of a guest worker program, where they just come, they do the work, and they go home.


SANCHEZ: Pedro's attorney is also telling us that he plans to appeal the government's decision on this. Meantime, Pedro's back at work. Now last month, a judge ruled that the government can keep nearly $50,000 of Pedro's money. Everything over the $10,000 limit, he loses.

A story starting to make us wonder about this, about possibly other immigrants that are working in restaurants all over the country amid the controversy that's surrounding so many -- with the immigration issue.

We wanted to know who these people are, what they do, what they want here in the United States. So, we found the busiest, arguably by the way, the best restaurant in all of Atlanta, Georgia, where ironically enough, they serve incredibly good country cooking. And they were nice enough to let us take you inside their kitchen.


SANCHEZ: This is one of the places where suburban Atlantans come to eat. Not only do they come to eat here, but they don't even mind the wait. What is it about the food that makes it so good?

ANN PLATZ, CUSTOMER: Well, I think, number one, it's not overcooked, over spiced, real Southern food, lots of butter in it, sprinkles of good seasoning. If you'll watch, it moves quickly because they serve quickly. That's why my husband and I love it.

SANCHEZ: This is the kitchen of one of the busiest restaurants in all of Atlanta. They can serve up to 3,000 meals in one day. Who's at the center? Who's serving it up? Many of them are immigrants.

How long have you been working here?


SANCHEZ: Nuevo annos.


SANCHEZ: Excellente, habla pequito Ingles?


SANCHEZ: Un pequito solamente. (INAUDIBLE), you like it here?


SANCHEZ: Si. Que donderes (ph)? Where are you from?


SANCHEZ: San Marcos. That's the western side of Mexico. Es el parte del (INAUDIBLE) de Mexico.


SANCHEZ: Que donde tienes?


SANCHEZ: You're from Mexico.


SANCHEZ: From Acapulco. How long have you been here? Cuando tiempo aqui?




SANCHEZ: Seven years working here. What is it about the food? (INAUDIBLE)


SANCHEZ: It's the workers. It's the workers. That's why it's good because you work hard to make it good. And they love it. (INAUDIBLE).


SANCHEZ: (INAUDIBLE). If there is a Southern staple, if you've ever eaten in the South, you got to know, this is it. This is what they refer to as, I'm sure you've heard the term, corn bread. And that's what we're going to be doing. This is my friend Lopez.

LOPEZ: Yes. SANCHEZ: And Lopez, you make the corn bread. (INAUDIBLE)?


SANCHEZ: Five years. Working here.


SANCHEZ: How long you been in the United States?

LOPEZ: Ten years.

SANCHEZ: You speak some English?

LOPEZ: Trying.

SANCHEZ: A little bit.

LOPEZ: Yes, a little bit. (INAUDIBLE).

SANCHEZ: You feel appreciated?

LOPEZ: I do very much.

SANCHEZ: Yes? Do you feel like the customers here love your corn bread?

LOPEZ: Oh, yes, yes. Like sometimes in the morning I do breakfast and people know me. So I do appreciate.

SANCHEZ: People say they love coming here because you guys do such a great job. Oh, that's hot. Caliente. (INAUDIBLE)?


SANCHEZ: Eight years in the United States. Cuantos annos de la (INAUDIBLE) aqui? How long working here?


SANCHEZ: Seven months?


SANCHEZ: Do you want to stay in the United States?


SANCHEZ: Si? You want to be American? Quiero estan Americana?


SANCHEZ: Yes, for sure. For sure?


SANCHEZ: That's the dream of all Mexicans.


SANCHEZ: By the way we looked into some stats on this. The last decade, the state of Georgia has been the largest -- or has seen the largest increase of any state when it comes to the growth of immigrant work force.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to apologize to my family, if I've put any disgrace upon you. But know that, thank God, thank God I have the chance to make it right.


SANCHEZ: A wrong move almost cost this queen her crown, but she isn't the only one trying to set things right now. Stay with us. Her story, the whole story of the USA pageant from the NEWSROOM.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first runner-up is Rhode Island. And so Miss USA 2007 is Tennessee.


SANCHEZ: Tennessee, go volunteers. And Rachel Smith, that's her. She is the new Miss USA. And we think it's safe to say tonight that (INAUDIBLE) Cohen and Donald Trump is hoping her reign is, how can we say this, how about uneventful? That's because Smith follows a long line of last year's beauty queens behaving badly.

Here is CNN's Brooke Anderson with this.


BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): It's the beginning of a new chapter for both 21-year-old Rachel Smith from Clarksville, Tennessee, as well as for the contest organizers who have crowned her.

DONALD TRUMP, PAGEANT CO-OWNER: This has been a very difficult time for the Miss USA Pageant.

ANDERSON: Smith is stepping into some, well, very publicized shoes.

TARA CONNOR, FMR. MISS USA: We all have personal demons that we have to face at some point.

ANDERSON: Tattoos, body piercings, all-night partying and admitted underage drinking and cocaine use, last year's winner Tara Connor offered pageant organizers a different kind of beauty queen until she got caught.

CONNOR: I want to apologize to my family if I've put any disgrace upon you.

ANDERSON: Nine months into her reign, a tearful Connor received a very public slap on the wrist from pageant owner Donald Trump, who promptly sent her to rehab, but let her keep her title.

CONNOR: I loved it. I was like the great A rehab student. It was sweet.

ANDERSON: Having a less than sweet time was Miss Nevada, Katie Rees,. She was stripped of her crown after several topless and compromising photos surfaced on the Internet.

KATIE REES: So many of us just don't realize how our actions, even one night of poor judgment, can affect the rest of our lives.

ANDERSON: Then there was Miss New Jersey, Ashley Harder, who resigned after violating pageant rules by becoming pregnant. While Mothers Against Drunk Driving publicly severed ties with Miss Teen USA Katy Blair for underaged drinking while partying with Connor.

ANDERSON: It was crazy, because when I got out, there was all of this controversy. And not only my own, but everyone else's. And I was thinking, geez, Louise, what's going on?

ANDERSON (on camera): Racked with all the scandalous twists and turns usually saved for a daytime soap opera, pageant organizers are hoping for a year a little less controversial.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm looking forward to a calmer year, probably.

CONNOR: I want to see what the new girl has to offer to this title. I think it's going to be great.

TRUMP : The only advice I can do is just really tell them that it's not going to be easy. You really become a major public figure. And everybody's watching every step. So just be very careful.

ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.


SANCHEZ: Once again, everybody I think is hoping, and certainly Mr. Trump is, it's going to be an uneventful year.

Before we let you go, let's try and bring an update now what's going on out in the Persian Gulf. This is a huge story that we're going to be following for you here at CNN throughout the course of the next -- throughout the morning, in fact. And if anything happens, we'll certainly bring it to you right away.

Our folks over on our international desk are going to be following it very closely. They'll break in as well if there's any new information. The latest, of course, is the Iranians are continuing to say that the merchant ship with 15 to 16 British sailors was, in fact, in their waters.

There's a big argument between Iraq and Iran. It's an historic argument as to whether that waterway actually belongs to Iran or Iraq, but the Iranians seem to be holding firm on this.

Here's the real concern with this story. The folks who have taken these British sailors are part of the Iranian revolutionary guard. And they really hold no allegiance even to Ahmadinejad himself, who is the president of Iran. They tend to be holding more allegiance to Khomeini, who as you know, is much more of a hardliner.

So it's a very difficult negotiation that is going to be going on in this case to try and see if they can somehow free those sailors and marines at this point. We'll have the latest for you. If anything happens at all, we'll bring it to you right here. And of course, we have a correspondent who's standing by in Tehran. That's Aneesh Raman.

SANCHEZ: We'll have it for you. Right now, we leave you with "Grady's Anatomy." Thank you so much for being with us. From studio B, we say good-bye.