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CNN to take a closer look at India’s tea industry in 3-part series

MUMBAI: It’s the most popular beverage in the world but the industry behind it bears a dark secret. This week, the CNN Freedom Project will take a closer look at India’s tea industry.

Deep in the Himalayan mountains, CNN found tea workers living in squalor in crumbling mud huts, many with no access to education, and too poor to risk moving away. The results are often horrific – workers are struggling to survive, while others have been trafficked into the sex trade.

The special three-part series includes:

  1. Trafficked For Tea

The CNN Freedom Project treks to Assam, a region that produces more tea than anywhere in the world to meet 18-year-old Manju Gaur. She was just 14 when the traffickers came, promising a better life in the big city.

With no education and making just pennies a day, she thought it would be a way to support her family. Instead, she saw young girls sexually assaulted by a ruthless trafficker, their money confiscated, and unable to leave. Manju managed to escape but now she has another concern. Her 14-year-old sister was still being held by traffickers.

  1. The Raid

In a daring raid on an apartment complex, the CNN Freedom Project embeds with local police on a mission to rescue Manju’s 14-year-old sister being held for more than a year by an alleged trafficker.

CNN confronts the alleged trafficker, a man with a history. As police apprehend him, they demand to know where Manju’s 14-year-old sister has been working. Will there be a final, emotional reunion?

  1. Meet The Traffickers

Why do they do it and what makes tea workers such easy prey for trafficking? The CNN Freedom Project meets a convicted trafficker, who confesses to selling girls for as little as $200. He takes CNN to the railway station to show where he loaded girls on to the train and shipped them off to a life of domestic servitude – and sometimes, worse.


Week of 14 March during CNN’s News Stream from 5.30 pm.