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Credit Suisse Shares Crash; Russian Jet Hits U.S. Drone; Netanyahu Heads to Germany amid Anger over Judicial Reforms; Middle Eastern Nations Meet to Discuss Cooperation; #MyFreedomDay. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 15, 2023 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): I'm Becky Anderson, live from Abu Dhabi. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
Coming up this hour, a plunge in Credit Suisse stock drags down the big U.S. banks on Wall Street.
A Russian fighter jet downs a U.S. drone over the Black Sea.
A Pakistani court intervenes in a standoff as authorities try to arrest former prime minister, Imran Khan.
And protesters hit the streets again in Israel.
ANDERSON: We begin with fresh turmoil in the banking sector. Shares of Credit Suisse crashing more than 20 percent Wednesday to a new record low.
That after its biggest backer, the Saudi National Bank, ruled out additional funds.
The news sent U.S. stocks falling sharply. The Dow opening the day with a decline of more than 500 points, running around 525 points or 1.67 percent,
as we speak. Let's get you to Anna Stewart, who is in London for more on these developments.
Let's start with the biggest shareholder, the Saudis, pretty much distancing themselves from any sort of rescue plan.
What do we know?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are seeing Credit Suisse shares, frankly, tanking. And I don't use that word lightly. Share price was down
over 30 percent just a few minutes ago. It's currently trading down about 25 percent on the day.
I've never seen the shares for Credit Suisse below $2. It's now at $1.67. Now Credit Suisse, along with many other banks, does find itself in an
issue, a problem that relates actually to the Silicon Valley Bank collapse last week.
Huge concerns about what increased interest rates around the world mean for bank balance sheets; i.e., those long dated government bonds, which are so
safe but they come out with balance sheets for a while are worth less and less. For Credit Suisse specifically, raising capital in this environment
will be incredibly difficult.
This is a bank that has had a litany of scandals and failures of all sorts. We are actually talking about it just yesterday, weren't we? About the
weakness is on its financial statements.
So the big concern about how that would capital raise -- was raised today and its lead shareholder from the Saudi National Bank was asked, the
chairman was asked, would you increase your stake?
This is the statement he gave to Bloomberg, saying that they wouldn't be raising their stake on any accounts largely due to regulatory issues. They
already hold over 9 percent of their share and they don't want to increase that to 10 percent for a multitude of reasons.
He also than spoke to Reuters later in the day, saying they are happy with the bank's transformation plan, trying to, you know, add some positive in.
There, so they don't think they need additional capital.
But looking at the share price, I don't think investors are reassured one bit. Looking at other share prices in Europe today, Sofgen (ph) down 11
percent, you've got BNP Paribas and BBDA both down 10 percent. This is a broad selloff, another day of a sell-off for European banks.
And it makes you question, Becky, what are regulators going to do in Europe, what are central banks going to do?
The ECB actually meets tomorrow; there is still an expectation that they will raise rates by half a percentage point. But surely, at this stage,
looking at the selloff, you would expect central banks and regulators to start to say something to give some reassurance to the markets.
ANDERSON: It's really important that you point out where those other big European banks close the day. We are also seeing the U.S. big banks down
today, some talk that, had those European banking stocks not been as low as they, were you might not have seen this decline on Wall Street.
You certainly, though, we are going to see those U.S. listed Credits Suisse shares off on Wall Street, because that just mirrored what happened in the
European space. So fascinating story this one, Anna, thank you very much indeed.
Russia warning the U.S. to avoid its airspace after the downing of an American drone over the Black Sea. Now this incident on Tuesday was over
international waters, increasing tensions during what, is of, course a critical period in Russia's war on Ukraine.
Just how and why it happened as a matter of dispute between the countries. A White House spokesperson telling CNN today that downing will not stop
U.S. operations in the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. JOHN KIRBY (RET.), COORDINATOR FOR STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: First of all, they don't belong in
Ukraine. Secondly, they certainly don't belong in Crimea. And we were flying, again, well outside of airspace that was -- that's claimed by
Ukraine or any other country.
The Black Sea doesn't belong to Russia; it belongs to many countries and the United States has been operating there on the sea and in the air. And
we're going to continue to operate again in complete accordance with international law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: So Kylie Atwood's at the State Department; Ivan Watson is in Eastern Ukraine.
You are there, monitoring not just what's going on on the ground but the response on this incident from the Kremlin.
What is being said?
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've seen the first official response from the Ukrainian government to this incident in
the Black Sea. Not much of a surprise, given how closely allied Kyiv and Washington are.
The head of the National Security and Defense Council has called Russia's alleged downing of this American Air Force drone a provocation and said
that this indicates Putin's readiness to expand the conflict zone with the involvement of other parties. So standing very much behind the U.S. on
Again, not much of a surprise; the Russians have claimed that no weapons were used to force down this U.S. Air Force Reaper and that there was no
contact between the Russian fighter jets and the drone itself, which is something the Pentagon is disputing.
We want to turn your attention, Becky, to another incident that took place, just to show you how frequent these types of aerial intercepts are.
This is over Estonia, where a British and German warplane were scrambled to intercept and then escort a Russian military plane over Estonia after the
Royal Air Force says that the Russian plane did not respond to air traffic control.
This is apparently a Russian refueling plane that was flying between the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg. There were no collisions
here. This is a standard practice that we see practiced around the world. But something went very wrong in the Black Sea and had raised tensions
there -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Ivan, thank you.
Let's get to the State Department, then.
What do we understand happened?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Listen, what U.S. officials are saying is, first of all, there were two Russian aircraft that
poured fuel onto this drone and then that there was one of the Russian aircraft actually intercepting the U.S. drone. And that is what led to its
So they're being pretty clear in saying this was a very risky and very aggressive action by Russia. Now one interesting thing we learned this
morning from John Kirby, from the National Security Council at the White House, is that there is some footage of this incident actually occurring.
The Pentagon has that footage.
We are waiting to see if the Biden administration decides to make that footage public. That could provide a very clear account, potentially, of
what actually went down.
And what we also heard from Kirby this morning was that what the U.S. has done is take steps to make sure that any of the information on that drone
is protected. They can obviously do that remotely, because it's a drone. That is remotely operated.
But what he also said is they're not sure if they're actually going to be able to recover this drone, because it is so far in the depths of the Black
Sea right now. So that is a point for us to also watch.
We've heard from the Secretary of Defense this morning, Lloyd Austin, who talked about the incident and how it is not going to prevent the U.S. from
flying these drones in international airspaces going forth, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. LLOYD AUSTIN, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I know that everyone here has heard that Russian aircraft again engaged in dangerous, reckless and
unprofessional practices on Tuesday in international airspace, over the Black Sea.
Two Russian jets dumped fuel on an unmanned U.S. MQ-9 aircraft, conducting routine operations in international airspace. And one Russian jet
intercepted and hit our MQ-9 aircraft, resulting in a crash. This hazardous episode is a part of a pattern of aggressive and risky and unsafe actions
by Russian pilots in international airspace.
AUSTIN: So make no mistake, the United States will continue to fly into operate wherever international law allows. It is incumbent upon Russia to
operate its military aircraft in a safe and professional manner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ATWOOD: Now what we've also heard from U.S. officials is that incidents like this increase the risk of miscalculation.
And the concern here is that there could be more confrontation between the U.S. and Russia beyond just, of course, the Ukraine war but between the two
nations directly and that is the concern here.
What we're waiting to see is the full extent of the U.S. response; obviously we have seen them condemning what happened, condemning Russia's
aggression but we're waiting to see if there's more to come from the Biden administration.
ANDERSON: Yes, on the part of the Kremlin, the spokesperson saying, and I quote, the U.S. and Russia relations are in a quote, "deplorable state," at
their lowest point. Another quote, adding that Russian president Vladimir Putin "was briefed on the incident."
Kylie, always a pleasure. Thank you very much indeed.
Pakistan's former prime minister, with a riot literally on his doorstep. Two government officials now telling CNN, the Lahore high court has ordered
police to pause what was an operation to arrest Imran Khan until Thursday.
Now this comes after Khan's supporters clashed with officers outside his home -- and these are the images you are seeing on your screens -- for a
second day. Authorities say Khan skipped on a court appearance for corruption charges.
Well, in turn, Khan says the government wants him in custody so he can't take part in the elections later this year. CNN's Sophia Saifi joins me
You spoke to Imran Khan late yesterday.
What exactly did he tell you?
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Becky, what you just said about the elections, that these important elections coming up on the 20th of April
and Khan said the reason why there are arrest warrants are out for him, are not related to the court appearance, that he has not made.
It is because the government, itself wants to incite violence amongst his supporters, who are just out there, camped outside his home, in a very
fancy part of Zaman Park (ph) in the city of Lahore. They've been here since August, when the first arrest warrants came out for Khan.
They said they will come between any attempt to arrest Khan and they have done, in the past couple of days. Since we have seen an increase in police
activity, Khan is supposed to appear before the Islamabad high court on the 18th of March.
He has been avoiding appearing in court for a bunch of dates and the reason that he always has given is because his life is at threat ever since the
assassination attempt in November last year.
And they've said he can come via videolink but there is this back and forth between the courts and Khan is disregarding what's happening with the
courts. He said, as the government that is behind him, he has said, he told me that he is worried about the safety of his supporters.
He is worried about Pakistan. He spoke about police brutality and that then, was refuted by the various ministers in power in government. The
information minister came out and said that this had absolutely nothing to do with the government. She showed the arrest warrant on television.
Pakistan's foreign minister also spoke out and said that the only thing stopping Imran Khan from appearing in court and from resolving this entire
political circus is Imran Khan's own ego -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Very briefly, why did they pause this effort today?
Have they explained?
SAIFI: Yes. So what we've been told by various officials we've spoken to, who did not want to be named, is that we are still waiting for the written
order from the Lahore high court.
But what is actually happening -- Pakistanis love crickets -- there's a high level cricket tournament taking place in Lahore with many
international cricket players and residents. They require a lot of high security.
So the reason is the police officers need to move from outside khan's residence to provide security to those cricket players and that they would
return back at 10 am tomorrow morning. Becky.
ANDERSON: I'm sure those viewers of ours who are big cricket fans will probably approve of that move. Thank you very much indeed.
Sophia Saifi is in Pakistan. Information minister denies there's anything political about the effort to arrest Khan and says police are doing -- just
doing what the court has ordered. We will speak to her next hour, that is Pakistan's information minister, next hour here on CONNECT THE WORLD with
me, Becky Anderson.
ANDERSON: Well, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is cutting his trip to Germany short by one day. No official reason was given but his
departure for Berlin was delayed as Mr. Netanyahu met with Israel's defense minister for what was described as a security briefing.
Meanwhile, anger rising over the Israeli government's push to overhaul the country's judiciary. Protesters once again blocking the roads, to the
airport ahead of Mr. Netanyahu's departure. CNN's Hadas Gold joining me now from Jerusalem.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Becky. This announcement about the trip being cut short coming just after Netanyahu had already
delayed his departure by a few hours.
And we were only given information he held a security assessment with his minister of defense. Now there wasn't any direct connection given but we do
know there has actually been a gag order on the media here after an incident earlier this week, which Israeli leaders described as essentially
an explosive device that detonated along a road on the Israeli side here near the northern West Bank.
The border, a young man in his 20s was seriously injured in that incident but since, then there's been a gag order. So there is some speculation that
this potential cutting short of the trip and the security assessment is related to that situation, because also, keep in mind, it wasn't long ago
another explosive device detonated on a bus near a settlement.
But there were no injuries reported there. Of course, there was that bomb, two bombs, that went off in Jerusalem here in November that killed two
people. So I think there's a bit of a concern about escalation in this conflict.
That could be one of the reasons why the trip was cut short. And as you noted, are these -- also these ongoing protests against the judicial
overhaul, several key elements of the overhaul, passed their first votes earlier this week. There are a lot of efforts to try to come to some sort
of compromise, legislation over these reforms.
That could be another element of why this trip is being cut short. But it is very significant that a trip to such an important country such as
Germany is being cut short by one day. So it will be a short meeting, about a 24-hour trip, for Netanyahu to return to Israel -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Hadas Gold on the story for you, folks. We continue to monitor.
Iran's top security official will be in the UAE on Thursday. Ali Shamkhani's visit is seen as more evidence that Iran is making strides in
developing closer relations with other Gulf states.
His visit comes as Saudi Arabia says it is looking for more investment opportunities in Iran.
Just ahead is the sun setting on Arab-Israeli relations. Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro will be my guest. We talk about his big
meeting of Middle East experts here and the drive to change the narrative. That is next up.
ANDERSON: Just before the break, we were live in Israel for you, where critics say judicial independence could be up for grabs. Now the country's
central bank chief telling CNN that Israeli lawmakers had better steer clear of monetary policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMIR YARON, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ISRAEL: Any country that has tinkered, let alone weakened, the independence of the central bank has suffered dire
economic consequences. I believe all our leaders and decisionmakers ultimately understand this and, therefore, will not come close to touching
the independence of the bank.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Those in early turmoil, at home, of course. Israel's relations with the Arab world pre low since the signing of the Abraham accords in
2020. Today, experts from the Middle East are meeting here in Abu Dhabi, organized by the N7 Initiative.
They are looking to forge or continue to, forge cooperation with. Dan Shapiro is director of the N7 Initiative. He's a distinguished fellow at
The Atlantic Council's Middle East programs.
Also you will recognize him as such, former U.S. ambassador to Israel from 2011 to 2017. He is here with me now.
What do you make of what is going on at present?
And the impact that the domestic issues are having on relations with not just this part of the world but with the U.S. as well?
DAN SHAPIRO, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ISRAEL: I think lots of leaders of neighbors of Israel and leaders of other friends and partners and allies of
Israel in the United States and Europe, are looking at a very turbulent, even chaotic, political situation inside Israel.
As well as some rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and needing to take a pause to at least see if they can understand where that's
going to go, what decisions Israelis are going to make.
Obviously, those decisions could have repercussions on other relationships, like in the case of the United States, there is great commitment to the
relationship with Israel. Obviously, it's based on the common values of true democracy. So hopefully, that is not in any way sort of put in
jeopardy by decisions that are made.
ANDERSON: It's quite clear, we are hearing from U.S. officials, that is in jeopardy. At present, while they continue to say our security guarantees
are ironclad, it was Lloyd Austin, most recently but Secretary Blinken before that, talking about or certainly talking around the subject of the
threat to democracy.
SHAPIRO: Talking around the idea that, when taking on major foundational changes in the system of government, in a democratic system, it's important
to have dialogue. It's important to have transparency and it's important to have as broad a consensus as possible.
And probably not to go too fast, because it takes time to build that consensus. Those have all been important points those officials have made.
ANDERSON: Benjamin Netanyahu, extremely proud of the Abraham accords, the deals cut between the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco and, to a certain extent,
Sudan, back in 2020.
What he wants and what the U.S. wants is for Israel to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia. That does not look like an option on the table at the
moment, not least because of what is going on in the West Bank.
The Saudis could offer Benjamin Netanyahu and offer, if they wanted to, you know, let's think about what's going on domestically and then we may think
about normalization. The U.S. would like that and this part of the world would like that, too.
But at the moment, whether or not it's being an offer, he is not taking. It so, how important is what Benjamin Netanyahu decides to do next on what
happens for Israel in this region and elsewhere?
SHAPIRO: I think the countries that have already normalized their relationships with Israel -- the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco -- have made a
strategic decision to do that.
ANDERSON: You don't think they are at risk?
SHAPIRO: I don't think they are at risk. I think there may be some caution creeping into the pace of additional steps made. And certainly, it may not
be the atmosphere in which you would expect additional countries, perhaps the Saudis, to add their names to that list.
But I do think those relationships are strategic. I'm here with the N7 Initiative. It's a joint partnership with The Atlantic Council and the
Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation. We have experts from Israel and 10 Arab countries meeting together.
They are government and non government experts, to try to develop projects and proposals, really, that will bring the benefits of normalization to the
citizens in agriculture, water and food security, all the stresses --
ANDERSON: It's about business, isn't? It's about splitting the business file from the political file.
SHAPIRO: Business but also there's common challenges, climate driven challenges of water scarcity, desert agriculture. These are things they can
cooperate on, even in moments of political tension.
So we're trying to facilitate those conversations, develop a network of experts who could do that together, even when there are moments of tension
or caution at the political level.
ANDERSON: Here's a thought for you and I'm sure you are considering this or you have been discussing this. This is a country which is massively
encouraging incoming, not just investment but talent at present.
How about the opportunities that are here in the UAE for Israeli business men, particularly those business men in the tech sector, who feel that's
what is going on domestically is having a real impact on investing interest in Israel and Israeli companies?
How about the opportunity for those Israelis business men to come and move to the UAE?
Is that an option at this point?
You see that?
SHAPIRO: Well, that's been happening even before the current --
SHAPIRO: I think it's too early to judge that. There certainly has been some concern expressed by various sectors in the Israeli business community
about the judicial overhaul that's being proposed.
But even before, that I met yesterday with the Israeli ambassador to the UAE. And he talked about the doubling of bilateral trade between the two
countries, from 2021 to 2022.
The UAE is now one of Israel's largest trading partners, only two years after the Abraham accords and a lot of that is driven by Israeli companies,
who have decided that they can be profitable, again, separate from the political turmoil, by having at least an outpost in the UAE.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating, isn't it?
It would be really interesting to see what the numbers this year look, like if that is all incoming business this way in what is a bilateral pathway,
as it were, than perhaps, the discussion we've been having, will show fruit.
What happens next?
What happens next, tell me?
SHAPIRO: What happens next?
First, the Israeli government has to continue to work through and I should say the Israeli, people. One of the things secretary Blinken also talked
about when he was in Israel, is the vibrancy of the democracy being, these issues are being debated in the Knesset but also in the street.
And the people of Israel, the government of Israel, will together have to make some decisions. Hopefully that will arrive at some degree of
consensus. President, Isaac Herzog is trying to develop a consensus process. But I think until we know the outcome of, that it's hard to say
what happens next.
ANDERSON: Dan Shapiro, do you see the right religious wing of this coalition government, that, like it or not, Benjamin Netanyahu is in bed
with at present, do you see them reining back on any of their demands, of these demands being this very controversial changes to the judiciary here?
SHAPIRO: Look. It's a different kind of coalition that anyone has ruled Israel previously. Even right-wing coalitions didn't have quite this
predominance of people from those communities and those world views.
ANDERSON: Are they going to step back?
SHAPIRO: Well, I'm not making any predictions about. I don't know another country's politics. It's a very intense situation. I still spend a lot of
time in Israel and you can feel that tension. You can feel people who support what the government is doing sort of giving it that backing.
But you can also see those hundreds of thousands of protesters coming out, more than once a week, now to really say, this is not the Israel that we
are loyal to and believe in. We want to arrive at some consensus. We don't want to have one side of this political divide impose its decisions on the
Hopefully, again, perhaps with the president's leadership, that's the kind outcome they can achieve.
ANDERSON: It's good to have you. It's always good to have you. You and I have talked a lot.
SHAPIRO: Great to see you, Becky.
ANDERSON: We were absolutely delighted with this new studio. Great to see you. Come see us again.
Dan Shapiro in the house.
When we come back, the latest on a record setting storm that has washed away entire villages in one African nation. That is after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome, back I'm Becky Anderson in Abu Dhabi. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. Let's get you your headlines this hour.
Credit Suisse, the shares of that bank plunging to a record low after its biggest shareholder, Saudi Arabia, appearing to rule out providing any more
funding for the embattled Swiss bank.
Once a big player on Wall Street, Credit Suisse has been hit by a series of compliance failures over the past few years.
A White House spokesperson accuses Russian pilots of unsafe and unprofessional conduct in the downing of a U.S. drone in international
waters over the Black Sea. Russia denies it was responsible. It claims the drone violated Russian airspace during its special military operation. The
White House says the drone may never be recovered.
Pakistani officials say police have been ordered to pause an operation to arrest Imran Khan. The former prime minister's supporters have been
clashing with officers outside his home. Police were trying to arrest Khan after he didn't show up in court to face corruption charges. He claims
those charges are politically motivated.
The images and stories coming out of Eastern Africa are stunning. Tropical Cyclone Freddy dumped so much rain on Malawi that entire villages were
washed away. The government says at least 225 people have died and they are still combing through the mud in search of more bodies. We get more now
from CNN's Larry Madowo.
LARRY MADOWO, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People dig through the mud in Malawi's commercial city, Blantyre, hoping to find
bodies after Cyclone Freddy tore through the houses.
Over the weekend, the storm hit Southern Africa for the second time in a month, killing more than 200 people.
Cyclone Freddy has damaged roads, flooded neighborhoods and triggered Blackouts in the worst hit areas. The death toll keeps climbing in southern
Malawi which suffered the most.
LAZARUS CHAKWERA, MALAWIAN PRESIDENT: It is one of those things that we look for help not just from people and partners but even from God Himself.
MADOWO: The storm has left thousands homeless across southern Africa. The Malawi Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says the
cyclone is weakening but will continue to cause torrential rains associated with windy conditions in parts of southern Malawi.
Aerial footage shows homes submerged in water in central Mozambique, where the storm made landfall on Saturday.
Early warnings allowed some residents to flee their homes but rescue operations continue to find those who stayed back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Plenty of houses but they are all gone.
Plenty of bodies in the mud there. Plenty of bodies.
MADOWO: The Ministry of Health in Malawi has resorted to using beds built for COVID patients to overcome the number of people showing up at hospitals
that are almost overwhelmed.
Freddy may set the record for the longest lasting tropical cyclone in history. It has at least the same energy as an average full North Atlantic
Malawi officials are on high alert for heavy flooding and wind damage over the next few days and have closed southern schools until Friday -- Larry
ANDERSON: Taking a very short break. More after this.
ANDERSON: San Diego County in southern California is said to be one of the country's hotspots for human trafficking. Just weeks ago, a police raid led
to dozens of arrests and the rescue of eight kids. As part of CNN's My Freedom Day, Stephanie Elam investigates how police, district attorneys and
even teachers are battling the issue.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: San Diego is a southern California border town best known for its surf spots and an elite naval fleet. But the
city now finds itself in the midst of a different type of battle.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's cold out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh yes?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, how much are you looking for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. You tell me.
ELAM: In February, the San Diego human trafficking task force raided several open air prostitution rings operating in neighborhoods around the
The two-day sting netted 48 suspects and offered support to 41 potential victims including eight children.
San Diego County district attorney Summer Stephan went to one of the areas just before the raids began.
SUMMER STEPHAN, SAN DIEGO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It was around 3:00 pm. And I thought, oh, I'm not going to see much. And here were a line of cars
like they are in a drive-through to get a hamburger. And these girls and women that barely had any clothes on just stopped me in my tracks.
ELAM: It turns out, the problem of human trafficking in San Diego is well- documented. In 2016, a Department of Justice funded study found that in San Diego County alone, the illegal sex industry accounted for more than $800
Even more concerning, the study found 90 percent of high schools researched across the county reported at least one case of sex trafficking in their
ELAM: Patrick Henry High School is on the front lines in this battle against modern day slavery.
TERRI CLARK, TEACHER, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: We need to talk about what makes someone more susceptible than you, more susceptible than the
average person to being trafficked.
ELAM: When you hear the term human trafficking, what comes to your mind?
Teacher Terri Clark is educating her freshmen and sophomore classes on how to spot signs of trafficking among their peers.
CLARK: We're going to look at some methods, some causes, some factors and a really big piece of this, the technology.
I see it on a level of like teaching kids CPR. Like you are learning how to save a life.
ELAM: Her students learn the ways traffickers lure in young victims and how they might coerce or threaten a student into a dangerous situation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He told her that breaking up was not an option. That he owned her now.
AIDEN HERNANDEZ, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: What I learned today was that anyone could be trafficked.
SARAH LOVETT, STUDENT, PATRICK HENRY HIGH SCHOOL: I do think this class is valuable because it can teach like kids like me to look out for the signs
and maybe help like protect their friends and prevent it from happening more.
CLARK: And that is a very, very sad and real situation for a lot of teenagers.
ELAM: The topic of human trafficking hits particularly close to home for Ms. Clark. When her niece was 16 years old, a trafficker lured her into a
car just steps from her house in northern California.
CLARK: She was taken. She was immediately had her hair cut, her hair dyed and drugged. She was missing for nine days. She was wrested from that it
has forever changed who she is and changed who she could become.
And so I think about, gosh, if she had had this information in high school maybe she would have been way more aware.
ELAM: One teacher, going beyond the call of duty to make sure her students are well armed with the knowledge to protect themselves when they walk out
that door and into the real world -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, Southern California.
ANDERSON: Thursday is My Freedom Day. CNN partners with young people worldwide for what is a student-led day of action against modern day
slavery. Please join CNN on March 16 for My Freedom Day and tell us what freedom means to you. Share your message on social media, using the
#MyFreedomDay and spread the word.