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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Global Connections: Connect Canada and the Ivory Coast?

September 24th, 2010
12:45 PM ET

When you mention two countries as different as Canada and Ivory Coast, you wouldn't naturally think that they have much in common.

But if you stretch your mind a little bit and think a tad bit harder, you would be surprised to learn they're much more similar than you think.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/24/can.art.gi.jpg
caption="What do you know about Canada?"]

We've chosen Canada and the Ivory Coast as our fifth set of countries in a segment on CNN International's "Connect the World," that we're calling "Global Connections."

Canada is renowned for being one of the most multicultural places on earth and having some of the friendliest people. The country is also famed for its love of hockey, frigid temperatures during winter and vast stretches of wilderness.

The country is also well-known for being one of the world's leading economic powers and the cities of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are consistently ranked as some of the most livable cities in the world.

The west African country of the Ivory Coast on the other hand has a much less stellar reputation.

The Ivory Coast, or Republic of Côte d'Ivoire as it is officially known, has just over 20 million people and is unfortunately, more well-known its tumultuous history with civil war.

So what on earth could the connections between these two countries possibly be?

Well, that's why we are relying on YOU.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/09/24/ic.art.gi.jpg
caption="Can you connect Canada with the Ivory Coast?"]

We need you to send in your ideas and comments on what connections exist - whether it be text, video or photos. We'll be choosing the best ones and then airing them on CNN International. This is your chance to appear on the show to share your connections with the world.

The connections can be anything from culture and geography to music and the economy.

We also want to hear your personal stories too. Perhaps you have a family member that moved from one country to the other years ago and you want to get in touch? Maybe you visited one country years ago on holiday and something special happened? Whatever connection you think there is, we want to know.

We will even bear hearing from award winning Canadian singer, Nelly Furtado on a interesting connection she has with Canada and what it means for her to be Canadian.

All you have to do is leave your comments below on what connections you think exist and then one of our team members will be in touch.

Now it's time for you to get involved - get connecting!


Filed under:  Global Connections

"Children covered in dust and filth crashing hammers into stones"

September 24th, 2010
12:31 AM ET

Editor’s Note: Harvard human trafficking fellow Siddharth Kara is undertaking a research trip around South Asia, looking at issues of forced labor, trafficking and child bondage. He will be getting access to the heart of the problem, and telling CNN.com readers what he has discovered every week over the next ten weeks.

During my research in South Asia this summer, I spent several days documenting labour abuses in New Delhi for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, particularly relating to child labour.

In a few short days, I documented thirty-two reliable cases of human trafficking for forced labour and fourteen cases of child labour throughout the city. To do so, I spent several hours speaking with and observing groups of men, women, and children working in construction until I felt the burden of exploitation had been met. Had I spent more time, I have no doubt that I would have documented many more cases than this.

Throughout Delhi, entire families had been trafficked from across north India into the capital to build the stadiums, metro extensions, and road enhancements required to host the Games.

Images of tiny children covered in dust and filth crashing hammers into stones or carting rubble from one side of the road to another right in front of the magnificent Indira Gandhi stadium were among the most difficult for me to observe.

Listening to numerous tales of deception and exploitation were not easy, though they did enlighten me as to how exactly this exploitation had come to pass.

Gurahu, his wife, his three children, his brother, his brother’s wife, and their two children were promised work in construction in Delhi at minimum wages of approximately $4.50 per day, and about half this amount for the children. Illiterate, Gurahu signed a contract with his thumbprint. His family traveled from Bihar, India, and two months later, they say they have only been paid for two weeks of work at approximately $2.20 per day. The contractor/trafficker who recruited them to Delhi on behalf of the construction company evidently keeps the rest. A similar formula was repeated in all cases I documented.

Gurahu’s children, ages five to nine, work with him seven days a week from eight am to seven pm. Scores of other workers toil along side them. They sleep in makeshift plastic tents in the dirt. The contractor arranges two meager meals a day of rice and daal, flies swarming as they eat. There is no running water. They use the toilet behind trees, or in the middle of the construction sites (as was noted in the Athlete’s Village just a few days ago). They work in oppressive heat and humidity. They continue to work because they are promised they will eventually be paid.

“We are dying here,” Gurahu told me. “I wish I had never left Bihar.”

The atrocious working conditions have been perilous for workers and local citizens alike. No one really knows how many injuries and deaths have occurred due to the unsafe conditions, but it is generally regarded to be several times more than any other city’s preparations for a major international sporting event.

Men, women, and children slog in filth and squalor in broad daylight.

Were you to drive through the streets of Delhi even today, you would see men, women, and their children toiling around the clock to try to salvage an event that is fast becoming a national shame.

Time will tell what lessons are learned from these Games, and whether a nation can find a way to protect all its citizens, especially its children – – to educate them and give them space to grow and play as children should.

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Filed under:  General