Air Date: Saturday, February 26, 2005
Time Slot: 10:00 PM-11:00 PM EST on CBS
Episode Title: "Rescued from the Shadows"
[NOTE: The following article is a press release issued by the aforementioned network and/or company. Any errors, typos, etc. are attributed to the original author. The release is reproduced solely for the dissemination of the enclosed information.]


CBS News' 48 HOURS investigates the shadowy underworld of human sex slaves and rescues a young woman. Correspondent Peter Van Sant infiltrates the billion dollar business of human trafficking to reveal how easy it is in the 21st century to purchase a human being -- not for an hour, but forever -- and bring her to the United States. 48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Rescued from the Shadows" will be broadcast Saturday, Feb. 26 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Van Sant's international investigation begins in Bucharest, Romania, one of several former Soviet bloc nations that have become hotspots for modern-day slave traders. Many of the girls are lured overseas with the promise of a good job; others are simply abducted. Working with Iana Matei, the director of Reaching Out Romania, a shelter for trafficking victims, 48 HOURS' investigative team sets out with hidden cameras on the streets of Bucharest to try to rescue a girl from the insidious sex slave industry.

In a matter of hours, Van Sant encounters a husband and wife who claim to have a 17-year-old girl for sale. The girl is introduced as "Nicoleta" and touted by her owners as a highly skilled and profitable sex slave. Van Sant makes it clear he does not want to simply rent Nicoleta for the night, "You understand that if we come to terms, the girl is mine. She is mine. I will own her." The trafficker replies, "Yes, and then you can do whatever you want with her."

After extended negotiations, the traffickers agree to sell "Nicoleta" for $1,800. She leaves the filthy apartment where she had been kept with only the clothes on her back. On the road to freedom, she begins to open up about the horrors she's lived through -- the beatings, malnutrition and virtual imprisonment she endured for years. Van Sant reveals to "Nicoleta" that he's actually a journalist who has come to save her. "Nicoleta" accepts his invitation to go to Matei's shelter, where she is given a hot meal, new clothes and a chance to start a new life.

The report also explores the case of a young woman whose destination was the United States. "Olga," not her real name, was trapped in a sex slave trafficking ring run by a Russian named Alexander Rashovsky. For him, it was a million-dollar business of transporting women from Russia to the Los Angeles area via Mexico. "Olga" returns to Tijuana to recount her harrowing tale of escape and survival.

The broadcast also investigates the case of a young girl kidnapped by members of the Carreto family of Tlaxcala, Mexico. The family was recently indicted for trafficking young Mexican girls into Queens, N. Y. and forcing them into prostitution. 48 HOURS goes undercover in Mexico City brothels where the Carretos allegedly "broke in" their new girls, and the broadcast takes hidden cameras to Queens and finds young women still being prostituted in the middle of quiet residential neighborhoods.

48 HOURS MYSTERY: "Rescued from the Shadows" is produced by Miguel Sancho. The editors are Bruce Spiegel, Les Mulkey, and Jason Schmidt. Peter Schweitzer is the senior producer and Susan Zirinsky is the executive producer.

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