“THE FIGHTERS”: NEW FEATURE-LENGTH CNN FREEDOM PROJECT DOCUMENTARY
HUMAN RIGHTS PIONEER CECILIA FLORES-OEBANDA, BOXER MANNY PACQUIAO JOIN THE BATTLE AGAINST MODERN-DAY SLAVERY IN THE PHILIPPINES
**Premiere: Friday, 17 May (Part I) & Saturday, 18 May (Part II)**
Following a two-year CNN investigation, the two-hour documentary The Fighters chronicles Philippine human rights pioneer Cecilia Flores-Oebanda in her journey to protect children from the sex trade and convince the Philippines' biggest star, Manny Pacquiao, to join her as a fighter in the battle against modern-day slavery.
It's estimated more than 100,000 children work in the sex trade in the Philippines. Since founding her anti-trafficking organization, Visayan Forum, in 1991, Cecilia Flores-Oebanda has helped more than 70,000 victims or potential victims of human trafficking. She believes if Pacquiao, an elected congressman in the Philippines and the country’s biggest star, champions her cause, it could mean a turning point.
But just when it begins to look like she's winning, allegations of fraud and missing funds threaten to ruin her life's work as she is forced to change her focus from saving children to saving the organization she set up to help them.
“The Fighters is a remarkable film that represents the very core of the CNN Freedom Project, namely a desire to shine a spotlight into the darkness of human trafficking and to champion those who have dedicated their lives to ending it,” said Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director for CNN International. FULL POST
CNN is a multiple winner of the 2012 Investigative Reporters & Editors Awards in the breaking news and multiplatform categories, it was announced today by the IRE. These annual awards, which recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year, selected CNN's coverage of the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi as an IRE Medal winner and CNN Digital's investigation of slavery in Mauritania in 'Slavery's Last Stronghold.'
The Judges highlighted CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon's "courageous reporting" in Benghazi, saying it "provided valuable context about the milieu in which the consulate attack occurred."
For Mauritania, the Judges said 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' upholds "the highest ideals of journalism," recognizing the covert reporting of CNN Digital reporters John D. Sutter and Edythe McNamee.
Full judges' comments after the jump.
Narrated by Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino
**First airs: Friday, 15 February at 1130 US/ET ** 1630 GMT ** 1730 CET**
Coming to CNN International this month, ‘Mozambique or Bust’ is an extraordinary story of how a housewife, Kimba Langas; a truck driver, Rick Youngquist; a businessman, Paul Jarzombek, and a pastor, Dave Terpstra, joined the fight against modern-day slavery in Africa with an unconventional weapon: bras.
In February 2012, the CNN Freedom Project highlighted the efforts of “Free the Girls,” a small Denver-based charity that collected donated bras in the U.S. for sex trafficking survivors to sell in the used clothing markets of Mozambique. Bras are a luxury item there, and selling them provides the survivors with a sustainable income.
When CNN first reported the story, “Free the Girls” had collected more than 20,000 bras but could not afford to ship them to Africa. Paul Jarzombek, COO at LR International, saw the story and took action, his shipping company travelled the bras from Chicago to Maputo for free, triggering a chain reaction of additional kindness and goodwill.
‘Mozambique or Bust’ is narrated by Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking. Through this, she promotes and participates in information and prevention campaigns to educate the general public and target audiences on human trafficking, helping disseminate information to the public about UNODC's work.
Mike McCarthy, senior vice president for programming, CNN International, said: “This is a story about how jobs and entrepreneurship can help keep vulnerable women independent as they continue their journeys away from sex trafficking. These four people demonstrate how anyone can make a difference in the fight against human trafficking – in their own communities, or half a world away. We are especially pleased that Mr. Jarzombek was moved to his extraordinary generosity after seeing our reports on CNN, and we’re extremely pleased that Mira Sorvino has helped us tell this story. Her longtime commitment and understanding of the issues inform her narration in ways we hope will inspire others who see this program.”
CNN senior international correspondent Sara Sidner continues her astonishing and moving reporting about the brutal attack on a seven year old little Bangladeshi boy who was viciously attacked, castrated, and left for dead, allegedly by a criminal gang after he refused to be forced into begging. This latest CNN Freedom Project documentary, Operation Hope chronicles his remarkable journey to recovery against all the odds.
Operation Hope airs on CNN International, globally. The North American airtimes are:
All times Eastern.
A seven year old Bangladeshi boy was viciously attacked, castrated and left for dead, allegedly by a criminal gang in Dhaka after he refused to be forced into begging. The latest CNN Freedom Project documentary, ‘Operation Hope’ chronicles his remarkable journey to recovery against all the odds. FULL POST
Hour-long film reveals boy’s recovery from a brutal attack when he refused to be coerced into begging – and how he was helped from a world away
A seven year old Bangladeshi boy was viciously attacked, castrated and left for dead, allegedly by a criminal gang in Dhaka after he refused to be forced into begging. The latest CNN Freedom Projectdocumentary, Operation Hope chronicles his remarkable journey to recovery against all the odds. In 2011 CNN senior international correspondent Sara Sidner first reported about the brutal attack on the little boy. FULL POST
Over the weekend, CNN Digital won Best Feature at the annual Online Journalism Awards for “Slavery’s Last Stronghold”, a project that investigated modern-day slavery in Mauritania. Spending nearly a year to gain entry into the country and conducting many of their interviews at night and in covert locations, CNN writer John Sutter and digital content producer Edythe McNamee went to great lengths to uncover the tragedy of multigenerational servitude in Mauritania. The project appeared in the form of the network’s first-ever digital magazine, which fuses video, text, photography and interactive components.
The Online Journalism Awards celebrate innovation and cross-platform storytelling and honor excellence in digital journalism around the world.
As CNN Worldwide marks the first year of the CNN Freedom Project, the network today announced a sweeping slate of new digital and television journalism for the project for the second half of 2012. Launched in mid-2011, the CNN Freedom Project shines light on the efforts of individuals and organizations working to fight the injustices of forced labor, sex trafficking, unauthorized organ harvesting, and other forms of human trafficking in the United States and around the world.
“The CNN Freedom Project marked a decision by our news organization to take a stand on an issue,” said Tony Maddox, executive vice president and managing director of CNN International. “As journalists, we have resisted taking positions, but with our global resources, how could CNN not be involved in raising awareness to these horrible injustices? And, through our collaborations with heroic NGOs working in these areas, we have pushed for change and are seeing tangible results: more than 1,000 people found freedom following a CNN Freedom Project story.”
TX: Friday 21 September at 2130 BST
African refugees, mostly from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, face a dangerous journey crossing Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as they seek a better life in Israel.
As reported in last year’s award-winning CNN Freedom Project documentary ‘Death in the Desert’, the reality that awaits these migrants is often slavery, rape, imprisonment and torture.
In ‘Death in the Desert’, CNN correspondent Fred Pleitgen uncovered evidence that many of these refugees trying to reach Israel had fallen into the hands of human traffickers in the Sinai. These traffickers then tortured the refugees, and in some cases harvested their organs for sale on the black market, leaving many of their victims to die.
In 2012, in ‘A Stand in the Sinai: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary’, Pleitgen returns to the Sinai and finds a different reality now awaits the constant flow of African refugees. He speaks to Bedouin tribal leaders who say they are now working to battle human trafficking in the region, offering medical support and safe havens for these refugees.
Bedouin Sheikh Mohammed Abu Billal tells Pleitgen these refugees usually come to him with “signs of torture and rape, dressed in rags and starved…methods of oppression to exploit them for money. The burden is heavy on me, but it is a responsibility called upon us by Islam…that is why I spend my money to harbour them and bring happiness to their hearts at any cost,” says Sheikh Mohammed.
“When the CNN Freedom Project first discovered the atrocities taking place in the Sinai, it was not enough to do a standalone report,” says Tony Maddox, Executive vice president and managing director of CNN International. “Fred’s continued commitment to this story speaks to the Freedom Project’s core mission: that is to uncover stories of modern-day slavery, bring them to light, raise awareness and hopefully contribute to effective change.”
Earlier this year, the U.S.-based Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. recognised ‘Death in the Desert’ with the prestigious Tom Renner Award for its investigative coverage of organised crime or other criminal acts, citing the CNN team’s “great personal risk in crossing the dangerous badlands of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula to expose a network of human trafficking and organ sales.”
About The CNN Freedom Project
In 2011, CNN Worldwide launched ‘The CNN Freedom Project: Ending Modern-Day Slavery,’ a multi-platform initiative aimed at exposing the horrors of modern-day slavery, highlighting the growing efforts to stop the trade and exploitation of human beings and amplifying the voices of the victims. From debt bondage in India to sex trafficking rings in Southern California, the CNN Freedom Project has generated more than 250 stories of modern-day slavery. Many notable figures have partnered with the Freedom Project since its launch including Anil Kapoor, Demi Moore, COMMON, Mira Sorvino and Emmanuel Jal.
CNN.com’s Freedom Project blog on www.cnn.com/freedom serves as the platform where users can participate in the global discussion and debate around modern-day slavery. The CNN Freedom Project is on Twitter – @CNNFreedom – and Facebook at www.facebook.com/CNNFreedom. Through these channels, users can connect directly with CNN about this cause, learn more about the organisations standing on the frontlines and see how they are affecting change.
Full air times for ‘A Stand in the Sinai’
Friday 21 September at 16:30 and 21:30 BST
Saturday 22 September at 14:00 and 21:30 BST
Sunday 23 September at 10:30 BST
Monday 24 September at 04:30 BST
For more information, please contact:
Senior Press Officer
CNN Europe, Middle East & Africa
+ 44 20 7693 0967
CNN garnered nine nominations for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards, the most of any cable network except for HBO. CNN has received a total of 70 honors this year, including three Peabody Awards.
News and Documentary Emmy Nominations 2012
CNN swept the Outstanding Live Coverage Of A Current News Story – Long Form category with three nominations. In the Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis category, CNN had three nominations. Overall, these nominations represent CNN's international, digital and domestic programming as well as on-air promotions.
Full list after the jump.