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The CNN Freedom Project - Educator and Parent Guide

  • The CNN Freedom Project will amplify the voices of the victims, highlight success stories and help unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life
  • If you choose to use this material with students, this guide can help address the topics of modern-day slavery and human trafficking

CNN Student News -- Description: This year, CNN will join the fight to end modern-day slavery and shine a spotlight on the horrors of modern-day slavery. The CNN Freedom Project will amplify the voices of the victims, highlight success stories and help unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life. You can find more information and stories at The CNN Freedom Project.

If you choose to use this project with your students, you may want to use these questions and learning activities to help your students understand the problem of modern-day slavery and steps that can be taken to end it.

Teachers and Parents: The themes of the Freedom Project include the sex trade, human trafficking, torture and murder. We urge you to preview all videos and content to make sure that they are appropriate for your students.

Suggested grades: 11-12, College

Suggested subject areas: Social Studies, World History, Sociology, Contemporary Issues, Current Events

General Discussion Questions -- Use these questions to focus students on the topic of modern-day slavery and ways to confront it.

1. What is slavery? Where and in what periods of time has slavery existed? Do you think that it exists anywhere today? Explain.

2. Do you believe that slavery is fundamentally wrong? Explain your reasoning.

3. What is "human trafficking"?

4. What economic, social and other conditions do you think promote human trafficking?

5. What does "exploitation" mean? What are some of the ways in which humans are exploited throughout the world?

6. In what ways are children sometimes the victims of exploitation?

7. What actions do you think that nations can take to stop human trafficking and exploitation?

8. What do you think could be done to raise awareness about the issues of modern-day slavery and human trafficking? What do you think might be the potential impact, if any, of raising awareness about these issues among consumers and policymakers?

9. Do you think that there is anything that individuals can do to stop and prevent human trafficking and exploitation? Explain.

Research and Learning Activities -- Use these activities to expand students' understanding of the topic as they enhance their research and media literacy skills.

Identifying "a Hidden Population"

Point out to students that it is difficult to get an accurate number of enslaved individuals because theirs is "a hidden population." Ask: What credible information exists about modern-day slavery, and how could students go about finding it? Challenge students, working in groups, to seek out the facts behind slavery and human trafficking. Have each group share its findings and sources with the class. What facts or statistics surprised them most or made the greatest impression? Direct students to use what they have learned to create a website on human trafficking that both informs and prompts people to take action.

Freedom as a Basic Right

Throughout history, some countries have addressed the issue of individual freedom in their governing documents. Help your students learn more about the priority that nations put on freedom by assisting them in searching online for copies of national constitutions or laws. As a class, examine some of these documents and identify how each addresses human freedom. Was slavery allowed when this document was first published? Is it allowed now? To what degree, if any, is freedom portrayed as a basic, guaranteed right? Conclude with an examination of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and discuss its focus. Why do students think that slavery still exists, in spite of national and international declarations that promote individual freedom?

Role of Business, Government and Consumers

Ask students to consider the role of child slave labor in the production of goods around the world. Have groups of students conduct research to learn more about the use of child labor in sweat shops and fields. Use these questions to guide students' research:

• How are children being used as slave labor?

• What are some conditions under which these children work?

• What are the long-term effects of this work on childrens' health?

• How might a society suffer in the long-term when children produce its goods?

Have groups present their findings. Present this question for class discussion and debate: Who do you think should be responsible for eradicating the practice of child labor: businesses, governments, consumers or someone/something else?

Taking Action

Lead a class brainstorming session to generate a list of approaches that students can take to help raise awareness about human trafficking and ways to stop it. Have the class vote on one approach and work together to make it happen. That approach might include producing a PSA (Public Service Announcement) or orchestrating an email campaign to business and national leaders. Have students choose roles in the project and be held accountable for that part.

2010 CNN Hero of the Year

Each year, the CNN Heroes initiative celebrates everyday people who are changing the world. The 2010 CNN Hero of the Year was Anuradha Koirala. Anuradha and her group, Maiti Nepal, have helped more than 12,000 victims of Nepal's sex trafficking business. Students can be inspired by this incredible woman and how she protects the powerless by reading and watching her story. (Teachers and parents should preview this content to determine whether it is appropriate for your students.)

Students can also nominate their own heroes on the CNN Heroes website.


The Ten Themes of Social Studies

5. Individuals, Groups and Institutions

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions.

6. Power, Authority and Governance

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create, interact with, and change structures of power, authority, and governance.

7. Production, Distribution and Consumption

Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

The National Curriculum Standards for the Social Studies are produced by the National Council for the Social Studies.