ow in its seventh year, #MyFreedomDay, CNN’s one-day, student-driven social media event to raise awareness of modern-day slavery, returned on the 16th of March. The driving force behind this year’s event is a call on students and communities worldwide to “Know the Signs” of modern-day slavery, as a key tool to identify and stamp out human trafficking in their communities.
Thousands of students from more than 100 countries have accepted this year’s call to action, with students organizing online discussions, book clubs, art exhibitions, video campaigns, live music performances, and other planned activities.
On Saturday the 18th of March, CNN International will broadcast Fighting for Mercy: A CNN Freedom Project Documentary. This film follows Mercy Esther, a survivor who at just 8 years old was taken from her village in rural Tanzania and forced into domestic servitude in a faraway city. At 16, she made a daring escape to find her family and reclaim her life. Working with the Kulczyk Foundation, the CNN Freedom Project investigates this common reality in Tanzania and highlights one brave Tanzanian woman, a survivor of domestic servitude herself, who has devoted her life to saving girls like Mercy Esther and changing the mindset of people who have allowed this abuse to become a part of the culture.
In Kenya, Georgia Fernandes, a 21-year-old student of architecture wrote the script for the film “Mercy”. The film represents the perseverance that thousands of young girls demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which statistics of gender-based violence reached appalling heights in Kenya. She hopes that the short film’s viewers will recognise the ripple effect of a single wrong decision on multiple lives and the film will push men to “Think Twice” before they even touch a girl. Mercy will be launched officially for public viewing in the month of March 2023.
CNN’s #MyFreedomDay microsite, CNN.com/MyFreedomDay will offer interactive content to “Know the Signs” of modern-day slavery in all its different forms and serve as educational tools for students and broader audiences worldwide. CNN is encouraging students to share their responses to the question ‘What does freedom mean to you?’ using the #MyFreedomDay hashtag, which will be showcased on the microsite.
Leif Coorlim, the executive editor of the CNN Freedom Project, said: “Year after year, we are amazed by the response of students from around the world, who, inspired by the remarkable stories of survivors of human trafficking, turn their alarm into action. This year, we are honoured to offer them practical tools to know the signs of modern-day slavery so that they may amplify this message and help put an end to it wherever it occurs.”
#MyFreedomDay coverage will kick off at 12amET on CNN International, with correspondents contributing throughout the day from Atlanta, Hong Kong, and London among others. CNN correspondents will also highlight remarkable stories of survivors of human trafficking from such diverse places as Bolivia, Cambodia and San Diego, California.