How has the Dominican Republic, famed for its Caribbean lifestyle, become a hotbed for sex tourism with underage boys and girls, and what is being done to stop it?
Last year, 138 prison inmates were killed in Brazil's overcrowded and violent system. But could those on the inside be trusted to keep law and order if they were handed the keys?
Tinder has turned the dating game on its head. But for one young woman, a simple swipe right would go on to save her life. A simple swipe on Tinder brings the possibility of love or perhaps heartbreak. But would you expect to find a new kidney? That’s the story for New York couple Alana Duran and Lori Intercello, who started their romance on the online dating app, before realising they were a match in more ways than one. Alana has lupus - a disease triggered by a malfunction in the body’s immune system which causes it to start attacking itself. At only 25 years old she has already had a hip replacement and a pacemaker installed, and had been waiting on the kidney transplant list for years. Despite meeting on Tinder a few months earlier, Lori Interlicchio went through all the necessary tests to find out if her kidney was match for Alana. Hiding her test results at the bottom of a giant box of birthday goodies, she recorded Alana’s emotional reaction to the news. The video has since racked up hundreds of thousands of views, and made headlines around the world. For Lori, watching Alana’s laborious dialysis treatments made the decision a no-brainer.
Do dogs belong on the dinner plate? South Korea is in the middle of a war over a cultural practice as the younger generation defends canines in a battle against customs and tradition.
New Zealand's Maoris are famed the world over for their warrior culture. But in a country with the highest teen suicide rate in the world, why are Maori boys barely holding on?
In Mongolia's capital, people are literally dying to breathe. This episode, we visit a city with some of the dirtiest air in the world.
What happens when the peacekeepers meant to protect people become the most feared? This program follows the trail of sex abuse left behind by UN peacekeepers, and hears from their victims.
How do some of the world's most notorious guerrilla fighters integrate back into society after putting down their guns? Colombia's FARC rebels are attempting to make their hills a tourist haven, and use a YouTube channel to tell their stories. Driving in to the Colombian mountains I really wasn’t sure what to expect of the veteran guerrilla fighters we were about to meet. FARC had a frightening reputation for kidnap, assassination and drug running as part of their 53-year-war against the Colombian State, one of the longest running insurgencies in the world fought by fiercely capable Marxist guerrillas trying to overthrow the governments they fought. They were well entrenched, they knew the territory and fought with merciless discipline. Colombia’s vast cocaine trade had been a big part of their funding but they also became well known for kidnapping as thousands for negotiations and more often cash, often holding people in wire cages for years. Clearly, they were no angels. 5 things you should know about FARC: As part of the peace deal thousands of FARC fighters were now living in 26 “transitional zones” across Colombia. It’s here they were meant to be re-learning how to be normal citizens. They receive a small stipend from the government until the end of this year and after that they are meant to have developed revenue-raising projects to fund themselves. We were heading for one of these camps in the foothills of spectacular mountains running along Colombia’s north-eastern frontier with Venezuela. It was in these Andean peaks that had sustained the FARC for so long, they know every valley and river and it is this knowledge they were now hoping to turn in to post-conflict business for fee-paying tourists. Arriving at Tierra Grata we were first met by Colombian soldiers protecting the one road in to the camp. Once the sworn enemy of FARC they are now protecting the ex-fighters from right wing paramilitaries who do not agree with the peace deal and still want to kill many FARC members. We met the local FARC leaders who explained that many had first taken up arms as teenagers when they were either forced off their land by powerful local farm barons or had relatives killed by right wing paramilitaries working for those same barons or the government. Others such as Tierra Grata Comandante Abelardo Almayda told us they joined left-leading groups seeking basic services like schools and clinics in their often remote and neglected rural areas. Once they were active, he said, they were targeted by death squads and had no choice but to the join FARC and take up arms. How to Keep the FARC Guerrillas Out of the Fight As we talked as group of children ranging in ages from toddlers to 11 or 12 were seated in an open-air classroom. A teacher from the government agency helping the transition was handing out coloured pens and trying to keep some semblance of order. Who were they – I asked – they are all children of ex fighters who had only just be re-united with their parents as a result of the peace deal. Pursuing this, I found that as a matter of FARC policy all children born to FARC mothers during the war had to be left with friends or relatives as it was too dangerous for them to stay in the jungle with their parents who were constantly on the move and at risk of attack from government forces. The teacher told me many of these children were just getting used to the fact that they even had a real mother – and that the mothers were just starting to learn how to be parents with all the issues that come with a parent trying to bond with a child after so many years. Some of the children were rejecting them, some of the parents, understandably, were finding it hard to know what to do. “They are only now paying back to emotional debt they feel they owe the children,” she said. Elsa, now 45 years old, was one of those parents. She joined the FARC at 15 after relatives were killed by the death squads. A few years later she fell pregnant. “Some people say FARC forced us to have abortions,” she said. “But that’s not true, my son is proof.” At 18 months old she made a dangerous journey from the jungle back to her village and left her son with a friend. “I remember the day, he was playing with some toys when I turned and left him, I was immediately worried – would he get his bottle, would he be ok, but thanks God she was wonderful.” Why not just leave the jungle and stay with your son? I asked. “I couldn’t, once you were in FARC the paramilitaries could arrest you, disappear and kill you and your child. It happened to people. I had to return and I had to leave him for his safety.” For this reason, she had no contact with her son, Fernando, for 25 years. As we chatted an elderly lady with regal high cheek bones and thick grey hair sat quietly. “This is my mum, Mercedes,” said Elsa, “I walked out on them and joined FARC when I was 15. It was very dangerous for them, relatives and family members of FARC fighters were often killed and disappeared, so I had no contact with my parents …. for 30 years.” I sat for a moment and thought about that. This wasn’t something we had really come looking for and I wasn’t really prepared for the full impact of what I had just heard. “I thought she was dead that I wasn’t going to see her anymore,” said Mercedes quietly with a far-away stare, “Her father kept telling me that she was still alive, walking somewhere but I wasn’t so sure.” Then as a result of the peace deal, Mercedes was told that her daughter was, in fact, alive and looking for her. “I still don’t really believe it,” she told me “I thought it was a lie.” In the decades of conflict 250,000 people lost their lives, Colombian society was torn apart. There were victims, separations and terror on all sides. Suspicions, concerns and major challenges remain especially under a new President who’s no fan of the peace deal with FARC. But in this one moment a family of three generations sitting together after decades of separation seemed to embody what the peace deal could do for Colombia. Elsa was now hugging her sobbing mother - “I am still thinking that it’s not real but thank God we are together”. “Don’t cry mum, you found me, we are fine.”
All aboard the Lifeline Express, the hospital train using India's railway network to deliver medical care and life-changing operations to the country's most vulnerable. Across India, there is less than one doctor for every 1000 people according to the World Bank. In the face of overwhelming need, crisscrossing the Indian railway network, is a hospital on wheels that brings hope to many in India’s rural pockets – the Lifeline Express. This week on Dateline, we board the train and follow its volunteer doctors on their journey to deliver healthcare to some of the country’s neediest. Latur, Maharashtra is brought to life as people flock to the town from the far flung corners of the region for an opportunity to consult with the visiting doctors. They all share the same hope – to receive a simple medical procedure that has potential to change their lives forever. Children with cleft lips, cataracts, and orthopedic impairments are all assessed in a crowded function hall converted into a medical screening facility for the occasion. Only those with ailments that can be easily operate on board the train are approved - many are turned away. While India has a world-class private healthcare sector, it’s prohibitively expensive and urban centric. And even though the constitution enshrines free healthcare for all, in reality, millions slip through the cracks. Close to a staggering 70% of people still live in these rural areas where they have no or limited access to hospitals and clinics. Cut off by poverty or distance or both, even the most basic health checks are, for many, unimaginable. In a landscape where health care seems to be a privilege, not a right, how will the Lifeline Express leave its mark on Latur’s locals?
Dateline travels to Kenya to meet an intersex preacher making ripples among a conservative Christian population. How has he overcome the stigma surrounding his sex to give voice to the 'third gender'? He’s on a mission to protect Kenya’s intersex community by fighting against the stigma and speaking candidly about his experience. His mother saved him as an infant - a time when other intersex babies are often starved to death. While growing up, he was still an outcast for many years.
Is Trump's 'zero-tolerance' immigration policy violating human rights? In the days following Trump's U-turn, this program follows one family's fight to get their seven-year-old son back, after he was taken away at the border. “Hug your son because you’re not going to see him anymore,” Ludy Garcia was told at the U.S. Border. Under President Trump’s Zero Tolerance Policy which took effect in April this year, immigrant children were housed in shelters, separated from their families, for an average of 41 days. Ludy’s 7-year-old son, Osmin, spent 51 days in detention between May and July this year. Ludy and Osmin are just two of the many victims of family separation at the U.S. border, who fled their homes under threats of gang violence and extortion. On April 6 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy for an "escalated effort to prosecute those who choose to illegally cross our border." Trump’s administration has directed federal prosecutors to prioritise immigration cases. Athough the policy does not explicitly call for the separation of parent and child, in practice, it does precisely that: While parents are taken to be prosecuted, their children are left with a sponsor or at a shelter. Back home in Guatemala, mother Lesbia is at the family’s hut, eagerly awaiting her weekly phone call with Osmin – all she knows is that he has been taken to a shelter in Arizona. “Every time I go to sleep, I pray for you,” Osmin sobs into the phone.
This week on Dateline, we meet the young journalists trying to unite Rio de Janeiro’s favelas through a news site, started by a local when he was just 11 years old. When the police come ‘pow, pow, pow’. You get down. Everyone runs into the corridors!” It’s a tough pill to swallow, but this is the every day reality for children who go to school in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. With members from rival drug gangs manning every street corner, and a military campaign adamant on stamping out drug related violence, navigating these slums has become a matter of life and death for most residents. In 2017 alone, 6,731 people lost their lives to violent crimes in Rio. 13 years ago, Rene Silva founded his community newspaper, Voz das Comunidades (VOZ). Once a small-time paper operating from Rene’s home, the young journalists working for VOZ now have deep ties in local communities, and often serve as a point of reference for the larger Brazilian press. Kitted out in VOZ polos, the reporters use their smartphones and social media to give voice to parents like Fabio and Paloma Morre, who lost their son, Benjamin, to the crossfire between local police and drug traffickers. He was just shy of two years old. His father, Fabio, waves his phone – with a video of a toddler laughing playing on the screen - at the young journalist interviewing him. “This is one of the last pictures I took with him – this is a video of him dancing!” It’s a scene journalist Luana Melo has seen all too many times before. “It’s important for us to tell the story of the day Benjamin died. So these incidents won’t happen inside the favelas, with such violence.”
You might not have picked it, but reporter Steve Chao has never been more excited about poo. Panda poo that is. It’s a sign one of China's rare wild pandas could be close by. Few animals have become as synonymous with wildlife conservation as the giant panda, also becoming one of China’s most famous symbols for peace and diplomacy along the way. Despite this, wildlife experts are saying the country’s approach to these furry animals is heading in the wrong direction. On Dateline, we head both into the wild and zoos to see how their future looks. At the Yabuli Ski Resort in Northern China, the animals walk on concrete floors, and entertain themselves amongst fake trees and plastic playgrounds. Cameras flash away at them from the other side of their glass enclosures – a far cry from their natural homes. Zookeeper Yan Yongbin says the exhibits play a vital part in educating visitors on the lifestyles of these elusive creatures. While time and effort is being put into captive breeding, conservationists believe more emphasis should be placed on protecting the natural habitats of wild pandas. Acres of forest are dwindling rapidly, with both housing and mining developments encroaching on pandas’ natural territories. Today, just under 2000 pandas remain in the wild. Dateline met Hi Liwen, one man dedicating his life to staying on the trail of wild pandas to ensure they thrive in their natural environment.
For the past nine years, Iceland has ranked first in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Equality Index. Australia is ranked 35th. The Viking nation of Iceland has become a feminist utopia. We look at how the island country became the best place on earth to be a woman, and why that also means it’s the best place to be a man. In part two, SBS World News presenter Janice Petersen travels to the island country to explore how it became world capital of gender equality, and looks at what impact this is having on the idea of masculinity in society.
The past year has seen a seismic shift in gender politics and a global debate around gender equality. Over the next two weeks, Dateline travels to two continents to explore gender in a two-part special. In part one of Dateline’s two-part gender special meet the Proud Boys, a group of men who say they are speaking up for a new class of minority: the disenfranchised young male. The group believe masculinity is in danger - and they’re not alone. Dateline reporter Dean Cornish travels to the USA to see why the Proud Boy’s controversial views are speaking to thousands of young men. Reclaiming manhood is one of the central pillars of the Proud Boys. The group’s founder Gavin McInnes says there’s a war on masculinity.
All eyes are on the men’s football World Cup, but what about women who play the game? We go to three continents, and hear first hand stories of their passion and struggle for the beautiful game. “It's a boys' game,” is a refrain that is often repeated to young sportswomen. But what happens when a girl feels passionate about football? This week on Dateline, we tell three unique stories from Brazil, Denmark and The Gambia, that illustrate the challenges women footballers face.
An estimated 100,000 children in the Philippines are involved in prostitution. We go undercover with an Australian investigator Tony Kirwan who's working with local police to track down the underground pimps of this criminal world. Watch this weeks episode of dateline to find out how Tony Tackles child sex trade in Manila.
Made in China Until 1989, the village of Dafen in Shenzhen, China was little more than a hamlet - it now has a population of 10,000, including hundreds of peasants turned oil painters. In the many studios, and even in the alleyways, Dafen’s painters turn out thousands of replicas of world-famous Western paintings. To meet their deadlines, painters sleep on the floor between clotheslines strung with masterpieces. In 2015, the turnover in painting sales was more than $65 million. Zhao Xiaoyong lives and works in Dafen - he and his family have painted around 100,000 van Goghs. After all these years, Zhao feels a deep affinity with van Gogh. So what happens when he goes to the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands, to visit the works of a painter who has consumed his life?
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