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A Sigh of Relief for Civilians in Eastern Ghouta; Lawmakers Laying Out Gun Control Measures; Charity Scandal Compared to Weinstein; No Word If Five Hour Ceasefire Is Holding In Eastern Ghouta; Former South Korean President Facing 30 Years In Prison; 2017 CNN Report Slave Auction In Libya; Tell CNN What Freedom Means To You; The Power Of An AR-15 Rifle; Students Demanding End To Gun Violence In United States; New Bills Anger Christians Leaders In Israel. Aired 3- 4a ET

Aired February 27, 2018 - 03:00   ET



[03:00:00] ROSEMARY CHURCH, HOST, CNN: A few hours of peace in Ghouta, the Damascus suburb gets a breathe but much needed break from punishing regime airstrikes.

A dangerous journey. CNN goes undercover to expose the dangers African migrants face in their quest to make it to Europe.

And the president on guns. Donald Trump doubles down on an idea for more guns at schools, but appears to be backtracking on another one of his policy suggestions.

Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church at CNN headquarters in Atlanta. This is CNN Newsroom.

We are one hour into what's been promised as a daily five-hour ceasefire in eastern Ghouta. For more than a week now, government forces have pounded the rebel held suburb of Damascus. Russia ordered its allies in the Syrian government to stop the fighting so that the civilians, the sick and wounded can leave the war zone.

Hopefully it will be more successful than the 30-day ceasefire put in place by United Nations resolution. It went nowhere, much to the dismay of the U.N. secretary-general.


ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS: Eastern Ghouta cannot wait. It's high time to stop this hell on earth.


CHURCH: I'm joined now by CNN's Jomana Karadshe. She is following the developments from Amman, Jordan. So, Jomana, the pause in fighting is supposed to have been in effect for about an hour now. What are you hearing about that and what's happening on the ground right now in eastern Ghouta. JOMANA KARADSHEH, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Rosemary, we're trying to get clarity, trying to reach people in eastern Ghouta to find out what the situation is one hour into when this pause in fighting is meant to go into effect. But as you can imagine communication are very difficult with that part of the country.

But short time before that 9 a.m. local time start of the pause in fighting was meant to begin, we got reports from the main activist group, that's the opposition link activist group, the Ghouta media center and they were reporting artillery shelling of one part of eastern Ghouta in Duma, and they were saying that there are civilian casualties.

We're going to have to wait and see if the situation changes. As you can imagine people there have been desperately waiting for this lull for a pause in the fighting.

We've heard from people in eastern Ghouta over the past week saying that is all they want. They don't want to leave their homes, they just want the air strikes, the shelling to stop. So people are able to leave these underground shelter where it has been a catastrophic humanitarian situation they just want to be able to leave and for the fighting to stop, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, and it's difficult to know how that's going to work. Because of course, they want to see humanitarian aid get in, we want to see the sick and wounded get out but how can that happen given what is happening on the ground for the most part?

KARADSHEH: Well, we're going to have to wait and see. What we've heard from the Russians is that they're saying that between 9 a.m. local and 2 p.m. local time that there's going to be a pause in fighting. We're going to have and see if everyone, you have different parties involve in the fighting in this area.

If everyone abides on both sides of the front line when it comes to this suggested pause, and then you have the issue with the Russians saying that there's going to be evacuation of the sick and wounded that they say they are going to oversee, and that they are also announcing humanitarian quarters, allowing people.

There are about 400,000 estimated people to be leaving under siege in eastern Ghouta that they will be allowed to leave through this safe passage. But when we talk to people there, Rosemary, there's a lot of skepticism, there really is a lot of mistrust. They don't see the Russians as a neutral party in all of this.

So there's always this fear of whether they will be able to leave safely, whether they'll be arrested by the regime, as we heard from people there. That's on the one side.

And then there is the issue of whether the rebel groups will allow them to leave. Of course the government narrative has always been that it has rebel -- these armed groups, they called terrorist groups that operate in eastern Ghouta and they are holding the civilian population hostage. So there's lots of questions here, we'll have to wait and see how this

all plays out and if people are able to leave. Because there's only one way out, and that is into regime controlled areas. When it comes to the aid going in, aid agencies will need guarantees from all side that they will be able to move in safety, so we'll have to wait and see, Rosemary.

[03:05:01] CHURCH: Indeed. A lot of waiting and seeing. Jomana Karadsheh bringing us up to date from Amman, Jordan. And as you can imagine, difficult to get updates and information from eastern Ghouta. Thank you so much.

Well, to the United States now and in the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida, nearly two weeks ago now, President Donald Trump suggested a few ways to stop the violence.

In a tweet, he said this, "I will be strongly pushing comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health, raise age to 21, and end sale of bump stocks. Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue. I hope."

But the NRA opposes raising the age to buy rifles. And though President Trump told governors Monday not to worry about the powerful gun lobbyist pressure, sources say he's now backing off raising the age limit. Mr. Trump meets with lawmakers from both parties to talk about gun laws on Wednesday.

And in that meeting with governors, President Trump didn't discuss raising the age limit, but he did bring up reopening mental institutions, and arming teachers or other school personnel. The democratic governor from the State of Washington told the president that idea should be shelved.


JAY INSLEE, GOVERNOR OF WASHINGTON: I've listened to the first grade teachers who don't want to be pistol packing first grade teachers. I've listened to law enforcement who said they don't want to have to train teachers as law enforcement agencies, which takes about six months.

I just think this is a circumstance where we need to listen, that educators should educate, and they should not be foisted upon this responsibility of packing heat in first grade classes.

Now I understand you have suggested this, and we suggest things and sometimes than we listen to people about it. And maybe they don't look so good a little later. So I just suggest we need a little less tweeting here and a little more listening and let's just take that off the table and move forward.


CHURCH: Now Mr. Trump continued his attacks on Florida deputies, saying their failure to respond to the massacre was disgusting. He talked about what he would have done if he had been in Parkland that day.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I really believe, you don't know until you're tested, but I think I really believe I would run in, even if I didn't have a weapon. And I think most of the people in this room would have done that, too. Because I know most of you. But the way they perform was really a disgrace.


CHURCH: And the deputies, the president criticized are now under investigation. One of them was assigned to protect the school and he's defending his response to the massacre.

Our Martin Savidge has the latest now from Parkland, Florida.


MADDY WILFORD, WOUNDED IN SCHOOL SHOOTING: I would just like to say that I'm so grateful to be here.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Less than two weeks after he was shot, at least times, student Maddy Wilford sending her appreciation and love to friends and first responders.


WILFORD: Like my mom says, times like these when I know that we need to stick together and I've seen a lot of like positive posts about what's been going on at the school, and I just -- from the fact that we're sticking together.


SAVIDGE: A contrast to controversy over what armed deputies did or did not do with the first moments after the shooting.


SCOTT PETERSON, FORMER SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICER: I've been school resource officer for 25 years.


SAVIDGE: Former school resource officer Scott Peterson paints a very different picture than this one with the country sheriff.


SCOTT ISRAEL, SHERIFF, BROWARD COUNTY: It makes me sick to my stomach that we had a deputy that didn't go in. Because I know if I was there if I was on that wall, I would have been the first in, along with so many of the other people. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: In a statement from his attorney, Peterson says when the shooting began, he received to call a firecrackers and not gunfire in the area of the 1200 building. Peterson says he ran to the 1200 building and upon arriving heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating outside, from outside of any buildings on school campus.

The statement goes on, "Consistent with his training, Mr. Peterson took up tactical position between the 700 and 800 building corridor corner." The attorney also says his client did take action, saying that he was the first to notify the sheriff's office of shots fire and initiated the code red lockdown of the entire campus.

The attorney also says the former school resource officer had the presence of mind to tell authorities to review the school's security cameras to locate the gunman. "Let there be no mistake, Mr. Peterson wishes that he could have prevented the untimely passing of the 17 victims that day."

Sheriff Israel tells Jake on State of the Union he's investigating reports that other deputies also decline to go in. He was pressed when the sheriff didn't tell families sooner.


JAKE TAPPER, HOST, CNN: The families were at the town hall and you could have disclosed that information.


ISRAEL: That's not -- that's not -- we didn't -- I couldn't disclose it then, because there was no corroboration, Jakes. There was no confirmation.


[03:09:59] SAVIDGE: Peterson's attorney says any talk of his client not meeting the standards of police officers are patently untrue.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was murdered in the attack, says Peterson's statement and the fury over Israel's leadership as sheriff changes nothing.


FRED GUTTENBERG, JAIE GUTTENBERG'S FATHER: I don't have sympathy for anybody right now that, you now, unfortunately didn't do what they need to do to save my kid.


SAVIDGE: Martin Savidge, CNN, Parkland.

CHURCH: A new CNN poll suggests there is a real momentum to reform gun control in the United States. Seventy percent of those surveyed say they support stricter gun laws. That's the highest it's been since 1994 when Congress passed a federal ban on assault weapons. That ban has since expired.

Well, unlike the United States, Australia has banned automatic and semiautomatic weapons in most cases. The turning point for that country was the Port Arthur massacre back in 1996 when a 28-year-old man killed 35 people with a semiautomatic rifle.

And now, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is reacting to the gun control debate here in the United States.


KEVIN RUDD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Your gun laws here in this country are nuts. That's what all of us who love America think. There's nowhere in the world you can have domestic justice for anyone having a semiautomatic weapon. It just doesn't add up.

I grew up on a farm in rural Australia. We had a shotgun to deal with foxes and stuff like that. You don't need something with paramilitaries or militaries around the world use. And I think the NRA in this country has far too much power.


CHURCH: And that is the debate here in this country. We'll take a short break right now. But still to come, the top U.S. diplomat in charge of North Korean policy is leaving his post at a critical time. What his decision could mean for potential talks between the two countries. That's still to come.

Plus, the U.K. puts charities on notice. Calling the Oxfam sex abuse scandal a wakeup call. And the dangers for migrants making their way to Europe from Africa.

CNN's Nima Elbagir goes undercover with human smugglers. What they told her she would face.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, the top U.S. diplomat for North Korean policy is retiring this week. Joseph Yun tell CNN it is completely his decision but he is leaving the State Department at a critical time. South Korea has said the North Koreans are now open to dialogue with the United States. President Trump says he will talk under the right conditions, but the U.S. will keep the pressure on Kim Jong-un to get rid of his nuclear and missile programs.

[03:15:00] So let's turn to CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson. He joins us now live from Seoul. Ivan, how significant is the timing of the departure of the ambassador at such a critical moment in relations between the U.S and North Korea, and what might this signal.

IVAN WATSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, again, as you mentioned, the special representative for North Korea is veteran diplomat. He says this is entirely has to do with his own decisions.

But a number of his former colleagues that we've talk to they say that the State Department is losing one of the best of the best at a critical time where you have this incredible tension name-calling, military exercises, nuclear tests, missile launchers over the course of the past year between North Korea and the U.S. and at a time when North Korea is kind of indicated hey, the doors are open for potential dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

And that here you have this 33-year veteran of the State Department now stepping in a way when you need important voices like his and Yun is well known to have a reputation for wanting engagement with North Korea.

He is somebody who last year had very difficult diplomatic assignment of going to retrieve the imprisoned American student Otto Warmbier from Pyongyang onlt to then discover that the young man was comatose and dying after more than a year of imprisonment in North Korea.

So that's one of the reasons why some people are lamenting this. Also, after a candidate for the still empty ambassadorial position here in Seoul. Victor Cha he stepped away or was overlooked to potentially fill that still empty post, and shortly afterwards published a piece in the Washington Post warning his former colleagues in the U.S. government against considering military action against North Korea. Rosemary?

CHURCH: And we will watch to see the consequences of the departure of Yun. But I do want to turn now to another big story coming out of the Korean Peninsula. The trial of disgraced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. What's the latest information you have on that?

WATSON: Yes. The prosecutors now are calling for a conviction and a penalty now of some 30 years in prison for the impeached president and a fine that is equivalent of about US$110 million. They've gone on to say that they should, the judge should consider that she has been refusing to appear in court without justifiable reasons.

For instance, she was not in court today and that she is responsible for a quote, "causing a national crisis" by allowing her confidence without any experience in handling state affairs to run the government.

Now her lawyers have maintained that she is innocent and they, that the judge should take in consideration the things she's done for the country, such as helping to secure the Winter Olympics that just concluded here in Pyeongchang. Of course, Park Geun-hye she was impeached in December 2016 and imprisoned shortly thereafter, and it's weeks away now from the time when the judge would hand down the verdict.

But of course if she gets the maximum penalty she would be well into her 90s before she would be released from prison. Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. Ivan Watson, thanks so much for updating us on that development coming to us live from Seoul where it is nearly 5.20 in the evening. Many thanks.

Well, Nigeria's president is calling the kidnapping of more than 100 girls a national disaster. The government believes Boko Haram militants took the girls when they raided the school in Dapchi last week.

Well, now the president is facing angry accusations that he can't keep people in the Northeast safe.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo joins me now from the Nairobi, Kenya with the very latest on this story. Farai, what's the Nigerian government doing to try to find these 100 kidnapped girls and why does this keep happening.

FARAI SEVENZO, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Good question, Rosemary. I mean, the northeast of Nigeria as you rightly said has been beleaguered and by -- and troubled by the presence of Boko Haram for nine years, 2009 has been this insurgency officially started.

And the government's line is this is. Yesterday, President Buhari addressed the three lecturers and nine women that had been kidnapped by ISIS and Boko Haram Islamic insurgence. And he meant a phase to stress that it's also very difficult to negotiate the release of people. And that these groups that have abducted in different groups, in different locations and a great deal of care has to be made to ensure their safety in the long run.

[03:19:54] Of course, he was speaking as you so rightly say the week of 110 girls were abducted from this college of science and technology in Dapchi. But of course, this is to happening because as a force Boko Haram has not been defeated.

We know that the Nigerian government has been a great deal of real money in securing brand new fighter jets and trying to improve their army. But this has protracted in for long program -- problem in the northeast where you have a terrorist insurgency on one side, which is a hard place, and you've got the Nigerian forces on the other, which is the rock and the people are caught between literally a rock and a hard place and consistently it seems that the modus operandi fall the Boko Haram terrorists is to target schools that are properly protected.

And the president went out of his way to ensure that schools and other civilian situations will be kept safe because every life he saves was precious.

CHURCH: Yes. We want to see return of those girls. Farai Sevenzo, thank you so much. Bringing us up-to-date there from Nairobi in Kenya where it is 11.20 in the morning. We appreciate that update.

Well, Britain's aid minister call the sex abuse scandal that have rocked Oxfam and other groups a wake-up call for all aid agencies.

Penny Mordaunt spoke at a development conference in London on Monday after yet another charity got caught in scandal.

Erin McLaughlin has the details.

ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: It's the charity task with finding land mines before children do, saving lives in war- torn countries around the world, supported by Princess Diana and Prince Harry.


PRINCE HENRY, PRINCE OF WALES: My mother would be shocked and appalled by the impacts that landmines were having an incredibly vulnerable people.


MCLAUGHLIN: The Mines Advisory Group or MAG now marred by sexual exploitation allegations. On Sunday, a former employee revealed claims of abuse in the Democratic Republic of Congo writing anonymously for the Sunday Times. "Some staff use constitutes, some had parties with them. Others formed relationships with the local women."

The whistleblower went on to write, "I and others raise the alarm through proper channels. Some individuals were moved to other country programs. Other state but I was always surprised that more was not done to stop this behavior. Here is why. Nobody wants to write about this and be responsible for funding being cut."

MAG responded to the allegations, saying they've investigated what they describe as 11 safeguarding issues over the past 10 years, not detailing what that means but noting that several employees were fired or resigned. Two cases were understand the incidents reported to British authorities.

MAG went on to say in a statement, "We massively regret that things that happened within our organization," adding that it's taken measures to guard against future incidents. The account echoes the Oxfam scandal now accused of covering up sex parties in Haiti in 2011. The charity apologized but denied allegations of a cover-up.

Oxfam Haiti operations suspended because of the scandal. The scandal which triggered a wave of allegations of sexual abuse with other organizations including children's charity Plan International last week confirmed six cases of sexual abuse and exploitation by staff or associates and apologized.

And the international committee of the Red Cross, which admitted since 2015, 21 staff have been dismissed or resigned for paying for sexual services.

Across the sector there is growing acknowledgment that this problem is systemic. Important life-saving work is at risk and donations are down. Now at conferences such as this one trying to figure out what to do about it.


TAMSYN BARTON, CEO, BOND: This is about the root causes and about power imbalances that do go very deep which is why it would have to take concerns of cultural issues by they are very practical in major steps we can say.


MCLAUGHLIN: Steps may include global registry for aid workers so that badly needed aid continues to reach the world's most vulnerable while making sure they are no longer exploited by those send to help.

Erin McLaughlin, CNN, London.

CHURCH: And we're joined now by journalist and author Matthew Green. He has been covering the story and joins us from London. Thank you so much for being with us.

So what can these nongovernmental organizations do to restore some level of trust in the wake of these sex scandals. Will people ever trust them again?

MATTHEW GREEN, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Well, the first thing they need to do is come clean about the allegation or report of abuse that have already occurred and we're seeing a kind of cascade through the industry with different organizations coming forward and saying that they have conducted investigations.

But of course, the question is, is this just the tip of the iceberg. I find it very hard to believe that the small numbers that some of these organizations are reporting really reflect the true scale of this problem.

[03:25:01] A friend of mine who works in the industry who I spoke to while I was writing a piece for the Financial Times on this said this is a systemic program. It's almost like the Harvey Weinstein moment in Hollywood. Everyone in the industry is holding their breath that to see what's going to happen next.

CHURCH: And why are we seeing this, I mean, why were there are no safeguards put in place to avoid these types of abuses happening at Oxfam. The international committee of the Red Cross Mines Advisory Group, and indeed, others. I mean, that list is growing. It's extraordinary why.

GREEN: Well, I think you touch this on the report that just air in a couple of moments ago and the mention of the imbalance of power. I think that really goes to key, it goes to the heart of this problem. You have aid workers arriving in these countries. They have all the money, they have the vehicles, the villas, they did even have in a completely different universe from the local people they're trying to help.

And for small minority of people because let's not forget that the vast majority of humanitarian certainly that I've come across are noble people of high integrity. But there is a minority, an entrenched minority who essentially lose their moral compass in that kind of environment and succumb to the temptation to exploit that in almost balance -- imbalance of power between the humanitarians and the people they're supposed to be protecting.

CHURCH: That's the problem, isn't it? For most of us looking and we do think of those people who go and help in these various countries as noble as honorable people. So you wonder why alarm bells didn't go off because they would be in the majority, presumably.

GREEN: Well, that's right. It was the U.N. write that attention called they wrote a piece a few years ago in The Atlantic talking about the white savior industrial complex almost costing the aid industry not so much as a humanitarian enterprise but a kind of system designed to almost satisfy the emotional sentimental needs of white people going to help people in these environments.

And I think that's something that come across in some of the conversations I've had with aid workers is that they see some of their colleagues and think they got this sort of sense of entitlement, almost arrogance that comes from having so much power and it's very easy in that context for them to lose their way. But the question is, why haven't the senior leaders of these organizations been taking stronger action for this scandal broke in the pages of the Times newspaper a few weeks ago, why they have been turning a blind eye for so long.

And we need to see really firm credible actions to show that this isn't going to be allowed to continue.

CHURCH: Indeed, we do. Matthew Green, many thanks to you for bringing us some more details on this very disturbing story and hopefully the investigations will continue. We thank you so very much.

GREEN: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, CNN's Nima Elbagir goes undercover on a dangerous journey.


NIMA ELBAGIR, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: This is the most traffic food destination in Africa. It is the main departure point for so much of the smuggling world. And yet, these brokers are able to play their trade so openly.


CHURCH: And those smugglers told Nima she would have to do to get to Europe. We're back with that in just a moment.



[03:30:45] ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN NEWSROOM HOST: A warm welcome back to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Rosemary Church. I want to update you now on the main stories we had been following this hour. For the last couple of hours, those trapped in Syria's eastern Ghouta has been able to leave the war torn area, however there is no proof that the humanitarian corridor has been up and running. For more than a week now, Syrian government forces have pounded the rebel held area near Damascus.

South Korean prosecutors want to put the former President in prison for the next 30 years. They made that demand during the las day of Park's corruption trial. She denies the charges of corruption, corrosion and leaking confidential information, all of which led to her impeachment.

Nigeria's President admitted for the first time Monday that more than 100 girls were abducted from their boarding school in north eastern town of (inaudible). Witnesses say book haram militants kidnapped the girls last week. The President says the government is determined to rescue them.

When CNN went undercover for a report on African migrants in Libya last year, the team expose a shocking reality. Libya's traffickers conducting a modern day slave auction. Here is a reminder of that report.


NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Big strong boys for farm work, he says. 400. 700, 700? 800. The numbers roll in. This men are sold for 1200 Libyan pounds, $400 apiece.


CHURCH: That was Nima Elbagir, reporting on the horrors some African migrant face on their quest to reach Europe. They often begin their journey by linking up with smuggler gangs. And Nima and the team went undercover in Nigeria to find out just how this networks operate. Here is her exclusive report.

(BEGIN VIDEO) ELBAGIR: An unfriendly neighborhood in the Edo state. Edo is

Nigeria's main smuggling hub, where they trade openly. We're hoping this man will agree to traffic us to Europe.

Ebaki as he calls himself as a broker. Known locally as pusher man, he is one of an army of traffickers working with smugglers on the Nigeria end of the migrant route to Europe. He tells our producer he can do it for 500,000 Nirae that is just under $1400 each. The money is due on arrival in Libya. He warns us not to waste his time. We're told to go back to the hotel. We test our undercover cameras and wait. Finally, we're told to move to the location in the north of Edo state. Tonight, he is working out of the local hotel that doubles as a brothel. Inside the brothel we're told to wait. We don't know what we are waiting for. Utterly unprepared, but all of a sudden we are on the move. Our journey to Europe is underway. We move to a local bus depot where we will be put on a bus heading north, but first Ebaki wants to know if I have everything I need.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like what do you call it? Nigerians say here they have a cold circle here meaning condom. We have kiss, you know kiss. We have kiss here. You just have it in your bag for the journey. In your bag.

ELBAGIR: So we can't travel without the contraception.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can get that for you. You are not paying.

ELBAGIR: As part of...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes as part of the journey.

[03:35:00] ELBAGIR: As part of the journey, because women are abused?


ELBAGIR: In Libya, what happens? They get pregnant.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: that is why I am telling you to have those things. It is not guarantee, sometimes we have to meet one of them. I would like to assist you. You know what that means. Don't tell me you don't know what I am saying.

ELBAGIR: Making me aside, Ebeki repeats again. Condoms, don't struggle if you are raped and ultimately trust in god. With that, we board the overnight bus to the north. The doors lock behind us. From here begins the journey into the unknown. A journey that promises horrors, rape, trafficking, slavery. Once we're sure the bus has move off. So if we had stayed on that bus we would be on our way to (inaudible) north of Nigeria. Sometime in the middle of the day 2:00 to 3:00 in the afternoon tomorrow, we would be arriving in Kano. From Kano somebody would be waiting to take us on the next leg of the journey to (inaudible) and from (inaudible) to Libya and theory, on arrival in Libya, that is when the brokers get paid. It is incredible that it is so public. It's incredible that it's so brazen that they're using public transport to start this leg of the journey, this is the most traffic filled destination in Africae the main departure point for so much of these smuggling routes. And yet these brokers are able to ply their trade so openly. And to think that as a woman, they would expect me behind contraception they would expect me to have made my piece with the fact almost every leg of this journey I will be assaulted and rape and abused. It is unimaginable that people are willing to take this risks to make it to Europe.

In the end it was easier than we could possibly have imagined. CNN has passed on the evidence that we had under covered to the Nigerian authorities. What we experienced was just the beginning of the nightmare. Hopefully, the Nigerian government will be able to stop any more young women from being lured with the false dream of a new life. Nima Elbagir CNN Edo State, Nigeria.


CHURCH: Extraordinary report there. And in response to CNN's investigation, the state Attorney General told CNN, we are actively involved in investigations and have commenced several prosecutions. We will actively investigate and prosecute any trafficker. Trafficking in Edo is not solely about economic issues, nor under development but has deep cultural roots that must be exposed, examined and pulled out.

CNN is partnering with young people around the world for a student-led day of action against modern day slavery, on March 14th. We're asking people from all walks of life to share what freedom means to them.


ASHLEY JUDD, ACTRESS AND ACTIVIST: Hi I'm Ashley Judd and I believe that all human being have dignity and serve to be free. Freedom means freedom from harmed, emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. I am a sex and labor slavery abolitionist. I believe all folks are everywhere are entitled to their bodily integrity and sexual autonomy. That is why I am an abolitionist.


CHURCH: We want to hear from you. What does freedom mean to you? Share your story using the #myfreedomday. We'll take a short break. Still to come students are taking action against gun violence in the United States. A 15-year-old is organizing a national walk-out in April. And I will talk with her. Next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen soldiers hit by this weapon and enemies hit by this weapon it will literally tear out the inside of the body.


CHURCH: An up-close look at the power of a form of weapon of war used by the gunman in the Florida school shooting, the ar-15 rifle.


[03:42:08] CHURCH: A high school shooting that claims 17 lives have had an impact far beyond Parkland Florida. It left this country stunned, but students across the nation are taking action now they protested against gun violence online and on the streets. A 15-year- old from Connecticut has made it her mission to have students from around the country come together on April 20 for one big national protest and her name is Lane Murdock and she joins me now via Skype Lane, so good to have you with us and to talk with you about this. Wanted to start by asking why did you decide to organize this national high school walkout on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting and will only hoping to achieve with this?

LANE MURDOCK, 15-YEAR-OLD, NATIONAL PROTEST WALK-OUT: I decided to found the walk-out because I was brilliant happy about my nation and how I personally was dealing with the tragedy in Florida, I think we are all quite in to it and the fact that is a norm is not OK, so I kind want to bring attention to the fact that students are underrepresented and we need a voice. I really hope it will give a platform for kids all around the nation.

CHURCH: And you and all the other high school students are demanding increase safety in schools and an end to this gun violence the president thinks arming teachers is the answer or one of the answers, what you think of that idea?

MURDOCK: Personally, lots of teachers have shown no interest in that idea. I think it would be publicly unsafe and unwise. This movement isn't just about me or my opinion, it is about making sure everyone nationally has an opinion, but I know that the vast majority is a good idea.

CHURCH: And the marches there are a couple of marches planned for next month and a course that is the national walk-out that you're planning now and April 20. What happens after that? How do you plan to keep the momentum going on this issue, because that's what it's going to take to make changes right after the midterm elections in November can the students sustain that momentum do you think?

MURDOCK: I think we had and especially on the 20th early voter registration also important not just in solidarity, but in empowering use, I mean you have seen as there are a lot of young voters and people that could vote don't so it is really about making sure that you understand their needed, they are wanted and their voices and as far as the momentum, we are going to make sure that even after April 20th our platform is still being used. And our interacting with kids all around the country.

CHURCH: And a course it's worth mentioning that this country is witnessed so many school shootings and each time people talk about it and then people forget about it and then another shooting occurs we have the same cycle the difference here, appears to be your generation and you access to social media the way you use it the way you connect with others, do you see, because of that, this is why we could be witnessing a turning point in historic turning point perhaps.

[03:45:28] MURDOCK: Totally be a turning point as you said we have a wonderful access to social media and we are motivated, so I think if you put this thing together you can see a lot of change. I mean just in the time that I had been in school, we have the cause, Las Vegas and Florida shooting. So I think stuff like this that surrounds my generation and we are definitely motivated to get something done.

CHURCH: Lane Murdock, it is such a pleasure to an honor to talk with you it is extraordinary for my generation to watch your generation take a stand like this and it truly if you if you can work toward this and maintain that momentum, you may very well witnesses this change you are looking for, thank you so much.

MURDOCK: Thank you.

CHURCH: And so far more than 223,000 people and counting have signed on to Lane Murdock's petition to take part in the national high school walkout scheduled for April 20th. The focus is only on Congress to do something, major companies are feeling the pressure from their customers to cut ties with the NRA. Christine Romans reports now the companies are responding.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, EARLY START SHOW CO-HOST: A growing number of companies are breaking up with the NRA, because their customers demand it using social media to voice their outrage. They are not targeting weapons makers the companies that offer discounts to NRA Members and for some the pressures is working, Symantec MetLife, multiple car rental agencies all ending their relationship with the NRA. One of the first, First National Bank of Omaha tweeted that customer feedback cause it to cancel NRA credit card. The latest here Delta Airlines and United Airlines both of them ending discounted flights for NRA members and they ask the gun lobby to remove their information from its website. Now the NRA is calling this a shameful display of political and civic cowardice these brands will be replaced by others that want customers that value constitutional freedoms. This companies are responding to customers for years Corporate America stayed away from politically charged issues like gun violence, but now companies are taking a stand, like climate change, immigration, gay- rights and that is actually good for business. According to a recent poll the most important thing to consumers to buy from companies that do the right thing. Christine Romans CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Well Delta is facing a backlash here in the state of Georgia where the airline is one of the state's largest employers some state Republican leaders of threatening to block a proposed tax break could that could save Delta the tens of millions of dollars Georgia's Lieutenant Governor tweeted this I will kill any tax legislation that benefits Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstate its relationship with the NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back.

The massacre in Parkland Florida has renewed calls for a ban on AR 15 style guns like the one used by the shooter in Florida. CNN's Gary Tuchman went to a shooting range with a retired lieutenant general who is also a CNN military analyst and he got a closer a look at this weapon.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is what an AR-15 sounds like.


General Marker served in the U.S. Army for 37 years so he knows what the AR-15 which used to be a weapon of war to do in his strong feelings about the semiautomatic assault style rifle which is the precursor to a weapon currently used by the military, the M-4.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The truth of the matter is they look almost exactly the same.

TUCHMAN: So this is the M-4 military rifle.


TUCHMAN: This is the AR-15.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. TUCHMAN: A lot of people will buy this just because it's cool and

they want to appear like soldiers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As a gun collector, gun aficionado and you want an AR-15 you can certainly buy one and you should be able to buy one. The problem is when it gets in the hands of the wrong people.


TUCHMAN: Originally gut to the battlefield, a defining characteristic of the AR-15 is the speed and power of the bullet.


Those are single shots if I wanted to fire this on full semi-automatic all I do is keep firing, I won't probably hit the target when I do this when we look at the target later on, but I am going to fire about five shots.



TUCHMAN: It is a weapon designed to inflict maximum damage, I've seen soldiers who'd been hit by this weapon and enemies that had been hit by these weapon were it will literally tear out the inside of the body. I saw one soldier who was hit in the fratricide incident in the shoulder and the round him on his ass. The general shares the prevailing opinion of his Tampa gun shop were visiting shooting sports firearms range of the Second Amendment's is sacred, but there is also agreement this weapon is definitely not for every gun owner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my personal opinion you have to receive a lot of training to use this weapon. And this weapon in the wrong hands can be more dangerous than most weapons, because of its capability to do a lot of damage in a short period of time and irreversible.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman CNN, Tampa.



CHURCH: The holiest site in Christianity is closed at issue is a new law that imposes new restrictions on how the church can sell its land until it's resolved the doors at the church of the Holy Sepulchre will remain shut. Ian Lee explains.

IAN LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just behind these wooden doors is the holiest site in Christianity. The church of the Holy Sepulchre where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Millions of pilgrims flock here each year, but for the second day this door remains closed. Jerusalem, church leaders, shutting them in protest saying they feel persecuted by two new proposed laws. One they say would make it harder for them to sell their land which they need to do to raise funds. The other was starting to pay taxes on buildings that serve as more than just places of worshipped, like schools, hotels it prompted a rare show of unity and anger.

Rachel Azaria is the Israeli lawmaker who sponsored the property she says it's not about targeting Christians, it is about providing security to people living in homes previously sold off by the church to private investors.

RACHEL AZARIA, ISREALI LAWMAKER: There has nothing to do with the church. It is all about land that was sold by the church. We are very happy when the church own the land that was fine with us, we get along with them very, very well. It is only about taking care of this thousands of families that we don't want them to lose their homes.

LEE: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who's driving the new taxation law says it's about correcting the imbalance that has unfairly favor the church to the tune of nearly $200 million. He tweeted will no longer require Jerusalem's residence to bear or subsidize this huge debt. The normal times the church of the holy sepulcher is one of Jerusalem's most visited spots, today with the doors closed pilgrims worship outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In general I support Israel, but not in this case my politics are changing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they are just being sober about it, I mean the church is a church and you should be able to go into it, no matter what.

LEE: Pilgrims pray for resolution, politicians and church leaders are talking, but if they fail, Jesus is to once again to be close. Ian Lee CNN, Jerusalem.


[03:55:09] CHURCH: Well parts of Europe are getting a taste of what some are calling the beast from the East from London to Rome, cold winds weeping out of Siberia of bringing frigid temperatures and even snow, at the Vatican the rare snow fore had people taking part in a snow ball fight. Schools were closed in Rome and public transportation was largely had a stand still. Pedram Javaheri joins us now to talk a little more about this so how long you have to put up with these sort of temperatures?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, just a few more days, so they had to deal with it for about three days and I think two more days is all we can take, pretty incredible pattern if you ask me, because if you look at the top of your screen the Arctic Circle the Arctic placement, storm really comes in from the southern portion from the lower latitudes brings with it incredibly warm air effect has now crossed Arctic circle running 25 degrees above average among the warmest ever seen what that displays all that cold air back to its ease, respected of course Russia and eventually spilled it back towards Western Europe. I want to break down exactly how this all played out, because even as of this morning we are talking about these temperatures, the warmest places, about six below it feels like in London the fact in places across the U.K. they actually had to cancel the operation of their train services and we know some of the tracks, joining tracks have heaters place on them so they don't freeze the places where the tracks come together to allow trains to switch tracks, but now as heater elements in place across that region, but the cold air going right over the North Sea what was seen here with the course effects notification on the eastern coast there of the U.K. Storm areas are on the Midlands works their way towards Yorkshire region into Edinburgh heating significant circulation is not out of the question in fact, look at these forecast total some of them literally pushing you out of charts 40-50 cm of fresh snow possible. Even London get this in on some snow showers over the next couple of days the first also unusual snow even down towards Rome coming down and places there pretty impressive. But notice in the immediate coast of Portugal on sustain there, we have a severe weather threat that is pretty much the only spot where we don't have a chance for any snow in the forecast. Notice out the south coming down in Blue, the Coastal White and also yellow for the heavy amount of rainfall that can store class that region, as we are talking about you can see the trend Frigidaire gradually lift as we go Saturday, Sunday and eventually early next week. It will just be cold.

CHURCH: OK we will go for that. The cold, right. Thank you so much Pedram I appreciate it. Thanks so much for your company this hour, I am Rosemary Church, remember to connect with me anytime on twitter. The news continues now with Max Foster in London have yourself a great day.