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Quest Means Business
E.U. Regulators Say There Is No Evidence Of Health Risks With Vaccines; Volkswagen Ramps Up Plans To "Unseat" Tesla In Electric Vehicle Market?; Labor Market Showing Signs Of Recovery; CNN's "My Freedom Day" With Young People From Across The Globe; Take The Pledge To Put An End To Modern-Day Slavery; Italy Locks Down For The Third Time. Aired 4-4:40p ET
Aired March 16, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Trading has just finished on Wall Street. The Dow is lower for the first time in almost two weeks. The market
was down. I think there was never any -- there was never any excitement or possibility.
It was down at the beginning and it remained down throughout the day. NASDAQ was a different story, broader market has a different story to tell,
which we will tell you as we move through this hour.
The markets and how they moved and the main events of the day.
Europe's medical experts say there's no sign of danger with any vaccines that countries are keeping AstraZeneca on pause.
IATA's outgoing chief tells me he doesn't want vaccines to be mandatory for air travel.
And Volkswagen's Chief Executive tells CNN, he is ready to take on Tesla.
We are live in New York. It is Tuesday, it is March the 16th. I'm Richard Quest, and I mean business.
Good evening. Tonight, the benefits outweigh the risks. That's the judgment of the E.U.'s top medical agency, as more countries are suspending
AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine.
Now at least 15 countries from the E.U. and beyond have shunned the vaccine for the time being about concerns that it could cause blood clotting.
The halt covers much of Western Europe as you can see from the map, and it comes as countries involved are facing a dangerous third wave. The European
Medicines Agency is trying to allay concerns, while at the same time conducting urgent reviews on AstraZeneca.
Its Executive Director says there's no evidence to link the vaccine to deadly blood clots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMER COOKE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY: But at present, there is no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions. They
have not come up in the clinical trials and they're not listed as known or expected side events with this vaccine.
We are still firmly convinced that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 with its associated risk of hospitalization and
death outweigh the risk of the side effects.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, E.U. regulators are going to share the findings of their emergency review that will take place on Thursday -- the sharing of the
At the same time, E.U. health commissioners urging countries to use all available vaccine doses. It's quite obvious the need is clear, new cases
are on the rise across much of the continent. You can see there from the color of the map where the third wave is starting to bite and where it is
A German epidemiologist is warning that cases on those that are red or steady, are set to grow exponentially.
And as Italy goes into a new lockdown, Italy is reporting 502 new deaths, the highest daily increase since late January.
Fred Pleitgen is in Berlin. Many strands that we need to unpack here, Fred, let's start first of all, with the regulators saying it's safe. Is there
any movement by those countries that have suspended AstraZeneca to reinstate it?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far, it certainly doesn't seem to be the case. That's quite interesting because I
was reading through the German regulators reasoning for why they halted the AstraZeneca vaccine and they also said that it was only a few cases where
people were developing these blood clots.
The Germans in total had seven cases in 1.6 million doses that were administered in Germany. However, the regulator there clearly says that
they do believe that that's more than would have been in the general population without the vaccine.
So they do believe that it's not, as they say, not un-plausible that there could be some sort of connection. Now of course, the Germans like all the
other countries are waiting for the European Medicines Agency to put forward their findings.
And I think one of the reasons why they're doing that is because first of all, of course, they want this to be a common European approach. But at the
same time also they know that the European regulator, the European Medicines Agency, they are going to get the reports from all countries and
they're then going to evaluate that, and hopefully on Thursday have some sort of result.
PLEITGEN: But from what we're seeing right now, if you look at France, you look at Germany, basically right now, they're sort of trying to coordinate
the way that they move forward with all of this, because, of course, it's a very, very important public health decision that they're making.
But on the other hand, of course, Richard, also an extremely important decision, because all of these countries very much depend on AstraZeneca to
try and get their vaccination campaigns going -- Richard.
QUEST: Okay, but this happens as a third wave is getting underway. How serious is it?
PLEITGEN: It's extremely serious, and I think that the third wave really is something that scares a lot of politicians, and certainly a lot of people
in a lot of these countries, as well. And it is one of the reasons, Richard, why countries like Germany need to get their vaccination campaigns
going and are quite open about that.
The Germans so far, they've given the first dose of vaccine, any vaccine that's approved in this country to about eight percent of the population,
by far not enough to stave off that third wave.
And I've been looking at the numbers for the past couple of days, we take today, for instance, the amount of new infections in Germany today is about
20 to 30 percent higher than it was on the same day last week. That's a pattern that we've been seeing over the past couple of days.
And so the Germans understand that, aside from making the lockdown measures that they currently have in place even tougher, which is something that
would be very difficult to stomach for the population here since Germany has been in some sort of lockdown since November, would be to try and
vaccinate faster right now, it certainly doesn't seem as though that's going to be possible.
Another problem that Germans have as well, for instance, Richard, I'm sure some other countries too is that the Germans tried to jumpstart their
vaccination campaign by moving especially the AstraZeneca vaccine into general practitioners offices, making it easier for people to get the
vaccine, now that strategy has completely fallen apart -- Richard.
QUEST: Fred Pleitgen, who is in Berlin. Even if there were evidence of any blood clots, Germany's medical experts say, it is the virus that poses the
threat, not the vaccine.
German health officials believe there have been seven cases of blood clots after 1.7 million AstraZeneca vaccinations. It's roughly about one in every
quarter of a million. It is lower than what you would expect to occur naturally.
As for the risk from coronavirus, that's like far, far higher, it has killed one in every thousand Germans.
Dr. Peter Openshaw says the decision to halt the vaccines could be a disaster. He is the Professor of Medicine at the Imperial College in
London, and the Doctor is with me now.
And okay, so the phrase that everybody uses is "abundance of caution." Abundance of caution, everybody says, well, we're going to suspend it. But
is this abundance of caution, really a denial of responsibility in that the bigger risk is from COVID.
DR. PETER OPENSHAW, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, IMPERIAL COLLEGE-LONDON: I think it's an abundance of caution when you're asked a very specific question to
consider just whether you want to suspend the use of this vaccine at this particular moment.
And I think that's what the committees have been asked to address. They haven't been asked to address the wider issue of what this is going to do
to vaccine confidence or vaccine rollout, or whether it might cause thousands of people to die from COVID.
And I think on the wider question, I think this abundance of caution is actually very dangerous, indeed.
QUEST: Right. So it starts with Norway, which finds a few cases, and it rapidly goes through Denmark and Iceland. And then we're really off to the
What is it that these countries were seeing that people like you say, no, that's the wrong way to interpret it?
OPENSHAW: Well, I think they are looking at these very rare cases. It's not just ordinary blood clots that we're familiar with as clots you get in the
leg, which sometimes cause blood clots in the lung, although those are much more frequent in people with COVID, let's remember.
This is a very specific type of clot that forms in the veins that drain your brain. So these are cerebral venous clots, and these are well-
documented, they are known to happen. It's one of the things that can present as stroke, it's sometimes quite hard to diagnose.
The fact that there's been a little cluster of these is the sort of thing that does happen during a vaccine rollout. It's not really unexpected.
And the rate of that which this has happened doesn't seem to be any higher. I mean, I would make a suggestion that it could even be that these people
have been vaccinated they've been, for various reasons, COVID we know that actually being vaccinated puts you at greater risk of COVID perhaps because
you lose your caution or because it is the first time we've been out to go to the vaccine center and it could be that actually these events are
related to actually having caught COVID for all we know.
OPENSHAW: I think these needs to be looked into very carefully and we mustn't actually take rapid action that may damage the vaccine rollout,
which is so dangerous.
QUEST: Let's talk about that. I mean, the vaccine rollout, in large parts of Europe, there was a level of skepticism which we see it here, where I'm
in the United States as well. But particularly in Europe, there's a large part of lack of trust and a skepticism.
Now, let's take France, for instance, first of all, the population there is told by the President that the vaccine, AstraZeneca isn't very good for
over 65, then they have to backtrack that, and now they are suspending it because of potential blood clots.
I mean, you're right, in a sense that it would take -- when they finally turn around and say you can have the vaccine, what would you think is going
to be the reaction?
OPENSHAW: Yes, you can quite understand how the population could build up a considerable amount of skepticism because of the way in which this has been
I think it's been a sort of publicity disaster for the Oxford group, and for AstraZeneca not connected with the actual effects of the vaccine, but
the way in which it's been interpreted.
I mean, you have to remember that the story about the over 65 really arose because they started very carefully vaccinating the younger people, and
then when it showed that it was safe and effective, they started vaccinating older people. But by that time, there was very little COVID
around in the U.K., so there was very little signal to judge whether it was effective except that the vaccine was equally effective in terms of
So I think there was a misunderstanding about the data, which led to that initial caution about the over 65. That was the initial problem.
And now the problem has been compounded by you know, by other stories, which appear to be fairly spurious actually.
QUEST: Before we finish, I just want to -- I'd like you to file this and to take advantage of the fact we've got the expert with us. I want to -- this
time last year, I had COVID.
It wasn't particularly bad. I had antibodies. The antibodies have dwindled and are no longer showing. I am not due to have the vaccine for a few more
weeks. Can I get COVID again? Is there a risk and a likelihood that people get -- a realistic risk and likelihood that people get COVID twice?
OPENSHAW: Yes, it does happen. It happens quite rarely. But we've been very interested in when this happens as immunologists.
I mean, it's important to remember that the first thing the virus does when it gets into your immune system is it turns it off. The virus is not a
passive partner in this engagement. It actually tunes down the immune system in order to allow itself to establish infection.
Vaccines don't do that. Vaccines just perk up the immune system rather than tuning it down. So the best immunity you can get actually is from having a
first infection with the virus which you recover from as you've described, and then being vaccinated.
You get sky high antibodies from that. It's a really good way of getting very, very solid immunity, and I think it means, which probably will be
quite effective against variants as well.
QUEST: Professor, it's always good to have you. Thank you, sir. I appreciate your time. Thank you very much indeed.
Now, Volkswagen is coming for the Techno King's crown, well, Tesla's crown to be more precise. The electric vehicle market, the head of VW tells CNN
he is ready to take on the competition -- ergo, Tesla.
QUEST: Welcome back to QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. VW shares moved higher in Frankfurt in the company's plans to overtake Tesla in the electric vehicle,
the EV market.
VW says it is funneling --wait for this number -- $55 billion into hybrid and electrics by 2025 and planning to build six giga-factories in Europe.
The strategy of course, is one to build batteries that power the EV cars.
Julia Chatterley of "FIRST MOVE" spoke to Volkswagen's CEO earlier, Herbert Diess said he is ready for the competition.
HERBERT DIESS, CEO AND CHAIRMAN, VOLKSWAGEN GROUP: I think, all the capital markets, we are waiting for our strategy regarding batteries now because
Tesla is so explicit about the battery strategy.
We are fully covered until '25. But, let's say we didn't give any indications how are we going to proceed from there on.
And now we have a clear plan forward and a plan which shows how all those pieces and bits, investment here and there are coming together in a
comprehensive plan for batteries which will bring us in a very competitive position and which will make sure that electric cars will be affordable and
we can scale them and they will be competitive, and this, worldwide on standardized sales.
So it's a good plan, a good comprehensive plan. Also fast charging, which is kind of a constraint seen for many still for EV rollout be addressed,
risk programs which we share with Iberdrola, with BP.
So I think it's a comprehensive plan where we show that we are strong in EVs, and also the first market reaction to our new EV product is very
positive. We have good order bank.
So this is the point where we can demonstrate that our strategy is working and that it seems to be that capital markets also share that view.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN BUSINESS ANCHOR, FIRST MOVE: Final question, UBS put out a report saying actually next year, you could be matching the sales for
Tesla. By 2025, you could be outstripping them by several hundred thousand cars. Is today's announcement the beginning of Volkswagen disrupting the
disrupter? And I mean, disrupting Tesla.
DIESS: It's a big but and you know, Tesla is not only about electric vehicles, Tesla is also very strong in software. They really run the car as
a device, they are making good progress on the autonomous thing.
But yes, we are probably now -- we are -- we are going to challenge Tesla.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Just Julia to wheel it out of him. Got there. Absolutely.
Here is another race for dominance stance. Tesla by far more the valuable company, $680 billion market cap. VW has much more production capability.
Its portfolio is bigger, too, 12 brands that it has and Tesla is still ahead on electric vehicles, more than 250,000. Julia got to it.
UBS says the race could tighten as soon as next year and that VW could actually overtake Tesla by 2025.
Paul is with me, Paul La Monica. Paul, isn't there an inevitability though, I mean, put me right if I'm wrong. Is there an inevitability that VW would?
It's a bigger company with more production capability and more models at different points in the value chain, so ergo eventually it will sell more -
- VW will sell more EVs.
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That does stand to reason, Richard, but obviously, I think there are a couple of questions outstanding, still.
I mean, Tesla is a company that is trying to move more vehicles to different consumers at different price points. That's why you have the
Model 3 and the Model Y not just the S and the X. But also a big issue that I think a lot of investors at least have with Tesla versus Volkswagen is
that the beauty of Tesla isn't necessarily just the cars themselves. It's the software and the over the air updates.
And I think that Volkswagen is going to have to invest very heavily, not just in the battery technology, but also software to remain competitive
with Tesla. But you know, Tesla bulls would argue that we live in a new world right now, you might not have consumers that are interested in an
electric car wanting to buy an automobile from a legacy car company like a Volkswagen or Toyota, or GM.
So I think it's not a guarantee that Volkswagen overtakes Tesla in cars sold, electric vehicles sold just because they had that production prowess.
QUEST: Well, you touched on it in your answer, the cool factor. Would I rather drive a Tesla? Or would I rather drive a VW?
Now, to a certain extent, VW has such an -- with the exception of diesel issues, but it has such an excellent reputation for quality of its
vehicles, that I wonder where -- on the reputational side, who wins out, do you think?
LA MONICA: Yes, I think it's going to be a very close race. I mean, Tesla has had some issues over the years, but it is widely regarded as a
consumer-friendly auto company. It often does well in Consumer Reports rankings up, but you're right, I mean, Volkswagen, if you put the
Dieselgate issues aside, has also -- has a loyal following, and there are a lot more brands as well.
You bring in Audi to the mix, for example. And now all of a sudden, you've got a luxury more high-end automobile and not just the Volkswagen brand.
So if any company on the planet could give Elon Musk a run for his money, it probably is going to be Volkswagen more than say GM or Toyota, because
Volkswagen has the financial commitment and the production capacity to do this.
But again, it's no guarantee that they are going to overtake Tesla. That's at least what Wall Street is saying right now.
QUEST: Paul La Monica, thank you. Hope you're right. Thank you.
Wall Street firms are beginning to show confidence the pandemic's end is in sight. For example, JPMorgan Chase apparently, plans to host summer interns
at its New York and London offices, of course, that could change as there is a rise in COVID cases. The internship program was all remote last year.
And beyond Wall Street, the latest survey for manpower found nearly eight in 10 employers expect hiring to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Manpower's Chief Executive Jonas Prising is with me.
Now, this is interesting, but let's get under that number. When you say return to pre-pandemic levels, this is from a low base. So what are they
expecting? Are they going on a hiring spree?
JONAS PRISING, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MANPOWER GROUP: Well, I think what the survey clearly says is that the hiring outlook, Richard, is much brighter
today than it was say, just seven or eight months ago. When we asked the same question in June, only 50 percent of the employers said that they
could imagine coming back to the pre-pandemic hiring levels.
And this most recent survey we did show that the hiring levels that they anticipate is much, much higher and that's consistent with other service as
And I know yesterday, you had Bob from PwC on talking about the latest PwC CEO survey and we see the same level of optimism that he described
yesterday in terms of the hiring outlook going forward from lots of employers.
QUEST: But what does this mean, in reality? So let's take Bob. Bob's CEOs are very confident, and your CEOs are planning to hire more. Now, does that
mean we have an unemployment rate in the United States and one assumes it'll be similar elsewhere, that will slowly reduce to where we were pre-
pandemic? And will those employees go to an office? Work from home? A bit of both?
PRISING: Well, so I think if we take the question first around, you know, the labor market recovery, clearly we're seeing the U.S. recovering very,
very quickly and you saw that in the latest Labor Market Report just a week or so ago, and we would expect the level of employment improvement increase
quite substantially now in the U.S. over the next four to five months.
Because by now, you're going to start to see the hiring pickup and the sectors that were the worst hit during the pandemic.
For Europe, it is a question that, you know, the employment levels there actually never dropped that far because you have such extensive furlough
schemes, but also there, once we get over the vaccination issues and we get up to speed on the momentum of vaccinations and the issues you talked about
in the earlier segments, you know, we expect the hiring also to pick up quite substantially in Europe.
And as it relates to what they are coming back to, you know, most employers expect their workforce to come back to the office.
QUEST: So can I just jump in? I just wanted to follow that line of thought. How much do you think there was permanent loss of business? How many
businesses that went out? Jobs that have gone? Jobs that are not coming back -- because the picture that you are painting is one of furloughs. It's
one of layoffs. But as things came back, so employment has restored.
PRISING: And that is what employers are seeing in the sectors and the industries that are carrying on and are sort of covering coming back in the
way that they can see and foresee.
But there are of course, sectors such as the travel industry, the hospitality industry, you know, where there could be structural changes,
where individuals aren't traveling as much for business anymore, whether they choosing to travel less to certain destinations that could have a
permanent structural impact on the growth of employment.
But overall, we would expect that most sectors are going to come back and come back strongly. Now, they won't be back to the prior levels, the pre-
pandemic levels before the end of the year. But I think there's a good chance that over the next 12 to 18 months, both in the U.S. and in Europe,
we will see the recovery being very, very robust in both Europe and in North America, and frankly, also across Asia Pacific and Latin America.
QUEST: Sir, thank you. We'll talk -- as the year moves on, we'll have you back of course frequently, to help us understand. I appreciate it. Thank
Now, today is My Freedom Day, the day we shine a light on the scourge that is modern-day slavery, and what you and I can do about it.
For the fifth straight year, CNN's call on young people around the world to lead this day of action and we've asked them to pledge to do what they can
to end modern-day slavery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JULIA: I am Julia from Roseto, Italy, and I'm signing my Freedom Day pledge.
BRITTANY BLIZZARD: My name is Brittany Blizzard. I'm from San Diego, California, and today I sign the My Freedom Day pledge.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: It aims to protect against human trafficking and to make sure we are aware of where we're getting our goods from.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I pledge to spot out anything suspicious about human trafficking and to post it on social media so other people can also raise
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I will take into consideration of a company's business practices when buying things like clothes, chocolate, and electronics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in foreign language).
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I am here to -- I pledge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support My Freedom Day by saying no to slavery.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I feel free when I can skate.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I stand against modern-day slavery in any part of the world.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I pledge to fight human trafficking and modern slavery. I fight. I fight. I fight.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Stop modern-day slavery now.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: If we work together, we can stop slavery forever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pledge to understand online dangers and speak up if I see friends who might be making a bad decision.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm signing the Freedom Pledge and so are my friends.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: What are you doing to help end slavery?
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: I want to live in a free world.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: #MyFreedomDay.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: I support My Freedom Day. Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Freedom is to be happy.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: #MyFreedomDay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: If they can do it, so can you. Share your pledge on social media, #MyFreedomDay, and this weekend, watch for a special My Freedom Day Global
Forum hosted by Becky Anderson. Hear from hundreds of students across five continents on their efforts to spread the awareness.
Those are the times on the screen.
As QUEST MEANS BUSINESS returns, Alexandre de Juniac took the top job at IATA and he didn't know he would end up dealing with the biggest crisis in
aviation history. You'll hear his exit interview with me after the break.
QUEST: Well, the vaccines offer hope that there's light at the end of the tunnel. Italy is a reminder of just how far we still have to go to end the
Shops, restaurants, schools, museums, they're all closed in cities across the country today. And it's amid a strict renewed lockdown.
Our Melissa Bell is in Rome.
MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Italy aiming to slow the spread of COVID-19, once again.
In Rome as in Milan, Venice and half of Italy's regions, authorities began on Monday morning enforcing a new lockdown.
MARCO SAN GIOVANNI, DIRECTOR, ROME POLICE PATROL SQUAD (Through Translator): Essential travel or health reasons, these are the exceptions.
Our job is therefore to verify whether citizens are actually obeying the law.
BELL: For Italians who'd hoped until the last variant driven uptick that a corner had been turned, the new lockdown which will last until April 6th is
a massive blow.
ETTORE TOMASELLI, OWNER, DAL BOLOGNESE RESTAURANT: It's one year later and it feels like it never changed. And we close in March last year and now we
are back again closed and working only with delivery and take away.
BELL: Difficult also for those on the front line, the health care workers who dealt with the first wave and who are now having to deal with a third.
DR. ALESSANDRA SPEDICATO, ANESTHESIOLOGIST: Exhausted. We are -- our feelings are very close to depression. We are not allowed to have holidays
or other leaves during this year.
And we experience the death of our patients, the (inaudible) and our colleagues. So maybe I could say that we are facing the PTSD.
BELL: The pressure is now on Italy's new prime minister. Mario Draghi has made improving the vaccination rollout his priority and wants 80 percent of
Italians vaccinated by September.
Italian authorities are hoping that their new vaccination strategy will be a game-changer. They announced over the weekend that their aim is to get
500,000 injections per day.
Here this vaccination center just outside of Rome airport, they have been delivering the AstraZeneca vaccine. But just as we arrived, officials here
were given the word that they were no longer allowed to distribute it.
One lady who had been turned away told us I was already unsure about it because Germany had stopped it this morning.
UNKNOWN (Speaking in Foreign Language):
BELL: AstraZeneca she said, I won't do it.
UNKNOWN (Speaking in Foreign Language):
BELL: I have a pacemaker so I wasn't too sure about it and now even less.
A fresh blow to the vaccination campaign of a country that has so far only fully inoculated three percent of its population.
BELL (Voice Over): Melissa Bell, CNN, Rome.
QUEST: As you heard earlier on our program tonight, today's My Freedom Day. For the fifth year, CNN's partnering with young people across the globe.
A student-led day of action against modern-day slavery.
These students are in Kosovo pledging to change the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULTIPLE VOICES: Let's end modern day slavery.
MULTIPLE VOICES: Let's end child trafficking.
UNKNOWN: I want to be an artist.
UNKNOWN: Me too.
UNKNOWN: Me too.
UNKNOWN: Me too.
UNKNOWN: I want to be a Youtuber (ph).
UNKNOWN: Me too.
UNKNOWN: Me too.
UNKNOWN: I want to be an astronaut.
UNKNOWN: I want to be the police.
UNKNOWN: Dr. Martin Luther King is my idol because he defended freedom.
MULTIPLE VOICES: Freedom is the choice to follow our dreams.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: CNN's Kristie Lu Stout spoke to students across Asia about their efforts to spread awareness of modern-day slavery.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Say hello to Asia's next generation of freedom fighters. We are excited to have with us scores of students joining
us via video chat from schools across Asia.
We've got Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Bangkok, (inaudible) in India.
Joining us, we have two modern-day abolitionists who are based here in Asia.
MATT FRIEDMAN, ACTIVIST, THE MEKONG CLUB: We, as human beings, buy things. And a certain percentage of what we buy is tainted by modern slavery. We
don't know which items are tainted.
But the relevance of this is that, kind of global warming, it's kind of like the carbon footprint. It demonstrates that we are a part of the issue.
And as a result of that, we also have to be part of the solution.
VICTORIA AHN, EDUCATOR, FAIR EMPLOYMENT FOUNDATION: What's even more surprising is that businesses and brands themselves also have a hard time
knowing this information.
We need to learn more about the journey and stories of migrant workers themselves and hear about their experiences because that's also what's
going to change peoples' minds and hearts and attention to this issue.
STOUT: Let's open it up to Q&A, to all of you out there. This is your chance, your chance to raise a question.
EMILY, SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Do victims of human trafficking self-identify as a victim of a crime?
FRIEDMAN: Many people that I've met who are victims of human trafficking don't even realize that they are victims of anything.
They just realize they are in this bad circumstance, they're being threatened, they made choices, the choices resulted in them being there.
And they're often surprised if you go and say you want to go and say you want to help them.
KATIA, HONG KONG: What role does education play in the alleviating this issue?
AHN: When people are aware what it takes to get the products we have, we're going to want our brands to hold themselves accountable to better
ARSHIYA, INDIA: What are some of the ways that we as students can highlight the issues that are pertaining to human trafficking so that the government
is compelled to take action and not ignore them?
FRIEDMAN: There's a point at which we, as human beings, just have to say enough is enough. We have to step up, we have to take a stand. And it's
often students that lead this. This is what is going to bring the change about. And that's why this day is so important.
PREM, BANGKOK, THAILAND: What are some ways we can make people and motivate them to be more conscious about their spending habits?
AHN: You choose something because of the stories behind that product. And if you think about the fish you ate was caught by someone on a slave boat,
I think would become much less appetizing. If you could buy something that was ethically made, wouldn't you love that more?
STOUT: Victoria, thank you. OK, everyone.
Now is the time to decide on a solution. What is the best way to convince the largest number of people to commit to stopping forced labor? There's no
right or wrong answer here.
The poll result is in. Become more aware of how goods are made and take into consideration a company's business practices before making a purchase.
That's going to be part of the action plan from Asia. It's going to contribute to the 2021 Freedom Pledge that's going to be available online
for students and educators around the world to sign.
So let's continue to work together to deliver the freedom for people across the world and across here in the Asia Pacific region.
QUEST: And that's QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for the moment. I'll be back at the top of the hour.
We're going to make a dash for the closing bell.
Now, CNN BUSINESS TRAVELER.