An inside look at the extraordinary scale of people smuggling in sub-Saharan Africa, which has been described by some as the new 'slave trade'. Are Europe's multibillion-dollar efforts to tackle people smuggling in Africa putting desperate migrants in even more danger? This week on Dateline, reporter Benjamin Zand tracks the journey of migrants as they travel through Africa and attempt to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe - and looks at what Europe is doing to stop them from arriving.
We go behind the scenes of controversial Indian shows which are breaking down cultural barriers by tackling on some of the country's biggest taboos. Can entertainment change traditional attitudes and bring about gender equality? India is alongside the world's top economies, but not long ago it was labelled the worst in which to be a female. Many women are victim to marital rape, acid attacks and forced child marriages, and face educational disadvantages and a steep gender pay gap. These issues are known, though rarely discussed in popular culture. But this might be changing. In this week's Dateline, we meet the producers and writers who are trying to fight entrenched cultural norms through unconventional storylines.
We meet girls in Mozambique, some as young as 13, who are being subjected to horrific sexual abuse and threats by their school teachers. School is supposed to be a place where children feel safe. But what happens when it's the opposite? In this week's Dateline, reporter Kiki King investigates a disturbing phenomenon in Mozambique, where young girls are being violently abused by their teachers - who are demanding sex in return for good grades.
China's live streaming craze is creating a new kind of celebrity and challenging censored media. We go to China to meet these unlikely stars and ask; why are people watching? Live streaming, which barely existed in China a few years ago, is now a multibillion-dollar business with hundreds of millions of viewers tuning in for hours every day. China's internet is highly regulated by the government and most of the popular social media sites used in the west are blocked there - Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, as well as pornography, dating and major international news sites. Audiences are instead on China-based versions of these platforms, such as Weibo, WeChat, Youku Tudou, Yizhibo and Panda TV. Without access to much of the online entertainment available in the rest of the world, Chinese audiences are increasingly watching, and paying for, live streams run out of the homes of average citizens - and a new generation of young Chinese people are making careers out of it.
American Samoa has one of the highest obesity rates in the world and almost one third of the population has diabetes. This week we investigate this epidemic, and ask how it got so bad? For Tavita, losing weight has become a matter of life and death. Tavita is from Apia, the capital of Samoa, where there is an obesity crisis. A former taxi driver, he would drink two litres of sugary soft drinks each day and regularly eat mutton flaps, a cheap cut of fatty meat imported from New Zealand. Poor eating habits are being passed on from generation to generation causing a multitude of related health problems. Many of these health issues are also prevalent in Australia - WHO data shows almost 70 percent of Australian males are overweight and 58 percent of females are. But in Samoa and American Samoa, these issues are amplified.
As Australia decides which way to vote on same-sex marriage, we visit Ireland, where it was legalised by public vote two years ago. What lessons we can learn from their experience? Australia will vote on same-sex marriage with 16 million ballot papers delivered in coming weeks. In the past decade and a half, a growing number of countries have legalised same-sex marriage, most through marriage reform bills. This week Dateline goes to the Republic of Ireland, where in 2015 it became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage by popular vote. Much of the public debate leading up to the referendum in Ireland put traditional views to the test and made many question what they wanted for the future of Ireland, "Are we a forward looking country? Are we a backwards looking country?" Others in the 'No' camp believe the debate was a shutting down of diverse opinions. Alternative title: Same Sex Marriage: Yes or No?
What is the secret to living large in old age? This week Dateline meets a squad of octogenerian Japanese cheerleaders and a famous TV writer challenging assumptions about people in their 90s. Can old age be as exciting as youth? On this week's Dateline we meet people in their 80s and 90s who are looking to the future, not the past - leading fulfilling lives and staying active as they approach their centenary. In Cheerleading Grannies, we meet 86-year-old Fumie Takino, the founder of Japan Pom Pom, a cheerleading squad with an average age of 70. In Not Dead Yet, the writer of The Jeffersons and All in the Family, Norman Lear, lets us into his daily life, which still involves producing TV show - on the day we visit him he's watching auditions for a new sitcom, focused on the lives of elderly people.
Dateline meets the first all-women car racing team in the Middle East, as they swerve through the cities of the West Bank and break down cultural barriers. Marah Zahalka has car racing in her blood. For Marah, the realisation that engines, steering wheels and gear sticks would be a big part of her life came even earlier. But as a Palestinian living in the West Bank city of Jenin, her path to racing glory has involved one barrier after the other. For decades the city has been a centre of violent confrontations between Israeli and Palestinian nationalist groups. During and after the Second Intifada - a Palestinian uprising against Israel in the early 2000s - Jenin became known as the 'suicide bomber capital', due to their disturbing frequency.
Why are so many Syrian refugees dying of treatable diseases? We hear shocking stories from Lebanon's refugee camps where more than a million Syrians live with little or no healthcare. As Syrian families flee the country in search of safety and security, many are finding life as a refugee is just as fraught as living in a war zone. In this week's Dateline, Syrian-born reporter Sarah Abo goes inside Lebanon's refugee camps, which are overflowing with Syrian arrivals and struggling to meet their basic human needs; food, water, medical supplies. The huge influx of refugees has led to an undersupply of medical services, which can be deadly - even for people with treatable illnesses.
Across rural California, more than five years of severe drought turned lakes into dust bowls and made farmland arid. The drought was declared over in April 2017 after heavy rains in January, but it hasn't solved the water crisis across the state. A fierce battle is continuing over who has access to water, and how the resource is managed. It mirrors a similar water usage fight in Australia's Murray-Darling Basin. Here the issue centres around upstream irrigators taking excess water - water that is owned by taxpayers and has been earmarked for environmental use. In California, the hub of the fight is the Owens Valley, three hours north of Los Angeles, which for more than a century has been the centrepiece of a heated conflict between the city and local farmers - after water from the Valley's lake began being piped to LA in 1913.
Can you stop terrorism with empathy? Under a program run by police in Denmark's second largest city, Aarhus, a unique approach is being tested - offering assistance to radicalised youths and adults, rather than treating them as criminals. The police running the program believe helping young extremists is the best way to keep the peace. Treating them harshly and with suspicion only isolates them further - making them more of a danger to society. The program has been referred by some in the media as the 'hug a terrorist' model of deradicalisation. So far, it's been remarkably effective. In this week's Dateline, reporter Evan Williams meets Jamal, who several years ago says he was so angry with society he almost became a terrorist.
Les Murray, recognised by many as the "face of football" in Australia, began his love of the world game as a young boy growing up in communist Hungary. But in 1956, when Murray was just 11 years old, his family fled the country escaping persecution because of his father's anti-regime views. They were smuggled across the border into neighbouring Austria before eventually being settled in Australia. In this special and final episode of Dateline for 2011, host Mark Davis joins Murray as he returns to Hungary.
This week we meet the French farmer rebelling against authorities to help refugees find a better life in Europe. Is he a good Samaritan helping those in desperate need, or a dangerous people smuggler? Olive farmer by day, people smuggler by night. In a small French village nestled in the mountains near the southern border with Italy, Cedric Herrou is operating a makeshift refugee centre from his rural property. In contravention of French laws banning citizens from assisting illegal arrivals, Herrou has found himself the focus of a national debate. Are his actions those of a benevolent outlaw helping people in need, or those of a criminal? Over the past several years he has helped hundreds of mostly young refugees cross the border from Italy to France. Many of the young people he takes in have journeyed across the Mediterranean from Africa, fleeing war, poverty, persecution and dictatorial regimes, looking for a new, safer life in Europe. He feeds and takes care of them at his property - he says he once had 60 people staying there - and helps them seek refuge elsewhere in France, or other countries. But his work has found him in the government's crosshairs. Will the French government imprison someone for helping them make their dreams a reality?
Sexual slavery, suicide bombings and forced killings. For many young children in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria, this is what they're exposed to daily. Earlier this year the Iraqi army, Kurdish militia and Western forces retook control of most of the city of Mosul, after more than two years of IS rule. Once parts of the city were liberated, survivors of the IS regime told of methods leaders of the self-proclaimed caliphate used to indoctrinate the city's people and in particular, its young people. One disturbing report details training camps for kids, where children as young as 12 - so-called "cubs of the caliphate" - are tutored to become soldiers. They're taught how to plant explosives and use firearms, made to appear in propaganda videos and forced to adhere to strict daily routines. In this week's Dateline we enter what's left of the IS caliphate in Mosul and talk to children once trained to kill or trafficked by jihadis for sex.
Bangkok is known as much for its smell as its sights. For decades the noisy bustle of street vendors selling papaya salad, braised duck, grilled chicken, fish, noodles and other local delicacies, has been a constant presence across the city. Many sidewalks are densely crowded with stalls selling food and drink, clothes and jewellery, toys and lottery tickets - an energetic constant the city has become known for. But soon this could become the Bangkok of years past. In a bid to "clean up" the city, the authorities have already cleared away thousands of vendors. At the same time a major riverfront development will see whole communities evicted. In one small community on the Chao Phraya River, local families are preparing for the day they'll be moved away, to be replaced by a concrete promenade. "It's like they want to wipe out the poor," one woman tells Dateline reporter Amos Roberts. On the streets, there is a growing sense of emptiness - many popular markets have already been shut down and previously busy sections of the city are now noticeably quiet. Thai-American food writer Chawadee 'Chow' Nualkhair takes Dateline to Thong Lor road, where the sidewalks have been cleared.
The mayor of Los Angeles has declared a homelessness crisis. As the city struggles to respond, one man has his own unique solution. But can he evade authorities to get people off the streets? Los Angeles is one of the richest cities in the richest country in the world. But underneath its sprawling highways, in the shadows of the bright lights of Hollywood, a large homeless community is struggling to survive, and given little support by local government. While hope is difficult to come by, one man is trying to put a roof over the heads of people and give them a new life. For several years Elvis Summers has been building 'tiny homes' - essentially single-room, portable cabins - and providing them to homeless people. His work is part of a broader tiny homes movement that has been adopted by NGOs and charities in other cities and countries, as a cheap way of providing short-term shelter to people living on the streets. Elvis has brought the idea to LA through his own enterprise and a successful crowd funding campaign.
Filipino kids as young as seven are being sexually abused by their parents and sold for sex to paedophiles from the West. We follow an undercover team trying to infiltrate this murky world and stop the abuse of children. In the Philippines, primary school-aged children are being sold for sex to travelling paedophiles, in a black market facilitated by secret online chat rooms. This week on Dateline, reporter Stacey Dooley follows a team made up of local authorities and investigators from the US, as they try to take down families who are illegally offering sexual acts with their children in return for money. Many of these families are selling their children's bodies as a response to impoverishment - almost a quarter of Filipinos are living in poverty, according to government statistics. Our film crew embeds with a team who has spent two years deep undercover trying to catch a pair of sisters, who advertised sex with their own children to foreign paedophiles. To infiltrate the families a special agent for the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arm of US Customs poses as a paedophile online. This case is one of 64 that his team is currently working on involving child sexual exploitation in the Philippines.
In the slums of Delhi, a group of impoverished Indian children are making their voices heard and their stories told. They're publishing their own newspaper, which is now being read around the globe. Print media around the world is suffering from declining readership and revenues, and journalists and editors continue to be laid off. But in Delhi, a group of kids from the city's sprawling slums are proving how to buck the trend - making a niche publication, and doing it successfully. Balaknama has grown in circulation in more than the decade and a half of its existence. More importantly it is giving young kids, such as 16-year-old reporter Jyoti, a chance to tell the stories of those around them. While many of these kids know little of life in the rest of the world, their articles are making headlines that reach from their local communities all the way to Britain and the US.
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