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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Mexican Border Insecurity; Injured ABC Journalists Show Signs of Recovery; President Bush Readies State of the Union Address
Aired January 30, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to have much more of this in a moment.
But we are here tonight on the California/Mexican border, where we're going to take you inside a massive tunnel, the largest underground tunnel ever discovered underneath this border, used as by drug cartels to ferry drugs across the border, in this case, underneath the border.
It is the longest tunnel federal authorities have ever found. The's That's a look at it, eight football fields in length. Seven of those football fields are underneath the United States. One of them is under Tijuana, Mexico. And, tonight, we are broadcasting right from the border.
We begin, however, with the latest on Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt. Woodruff, the co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight," and Vogt suffered serious head wounds when the U.S. and Iraqi military convoy they were riding with was hit by an IED, an improvised explosive device.
That's the threat facing every American serving in Iraq every single day. Woodruff and Vogt were airlifted to a U.S. military hospital in Balad and then to Germany, where they continued to be treated.
Now, just a short time ago, we learned from ABC News that they will be -- the two of them will be flown back tomorrow to the U.S. to the Bethesda Naval Hospital near Washington.
ABC News president David Westin said they are both showing signs -- some signs of improvement. And that is encouraging news, indeed. And, as I said, our thoughts and prayers are with their families.
CNN's Randi Kaye has a look at Bob Woodruff and why he's loved and respected by so many.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is how Bob Woodruff's trip to Iraq began.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC)
BOB WOODRUFF, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: There is no way to make it over the land, because the -- the bridge over to Jordan opened up too late. We wouldn't have made our flight. So, we had to charter this one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: And now no one can predict how it will end. A roadside bomb and an ambush -- the ABC anchor and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, in desperate need of medical attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to, you know, recover eventually. It's going to be a long road, but I think he's -- he's a strong guy, and he's going to make it. He's going to -- he's going to do well.
KAYE: ABC News correspondent David Muir calls Woodruff the universal favorite at the network, a natural leader. The two covered Hurricane Katrina together.
DAVID MUIR, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: We were all rattled awake by this explosion. And before I could even open my eyes and try to figure out what had happened, Bob was already on his way to the story. He's always the first one out the door. And he seems to be running a little faster than everyone else.
KAYE: Woodruff graduated Colgate University, where he met his wife. He attended law school, landed a job as a corporate lawyer. But after a stint as a translator for CBS News during the 1989 uprising in Tiananmen Square -- Woodruff speaks fluent Mandarin -- he got the bug for broadcasting.
STEVE SHERMAN, SHEARMAN AND STERLING: I just think the whole culture of journalism and what that contributed to our society is what really turned him on.
KAYE: Steve Sherman practiced law with Woodruff. While watching CNN, he learned his friend had been wounded.
SHERMAN: Now, I have seen him on TV over the years in some fairly dangerous situations. But I didn't connect the dots that way and realize the extent of the danger or risks that he may be incurring.
KAYE: Woodruff and Vogt were embedded with the 4th Infantry. Both in helmets and body armor, they were riding the lead vehicle of the convoy, standing in the open back hatch while filming. That's when the vehicle tripped a roadside bomb.
MUIR: Both of them saw incredible value in telling the story that needed be told.
KAYE: Vogt and Woodruff struggle to find a balance between their passion for the story and their families. Vogt has a wife and three children. Woodruff has four children. Lee Woodruff watches from home as her husband hopscotches the globe. This hello is from Banda Aceh after the tsunami.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA")
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come home soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come home soon.
WOODRUFF: Nora and Claire, sweeties, you're breaking my heart now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Lee Woodruff wrote this article for "Colgate"'s alumni magazine about life with her husband on the front lines: "Foreign correspondents' wives must do what they have always done, shoulder the burden of being both mother and father and blot out the very real chance their husbands might not return."
But Woodruff's passion to report on the world first-hand keeps him on the road. No regrets, as he wrote in his high school yearbook. He quotes Henry David Thoreau: "I wish to live deliberately and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, tonight, ABC News is reporting that Bob Woodruff opened his eyes and responded to stimuli and that Doug Vogt has been sitting up and speaking.
Obviously, both still have a long way to go.
CNN senior Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now from Atlanta for more on their head injuries.
Sanjay, the fact that Woodruff is responding to stimuli to his hands and feet, as a neurosurgeon yourself, what does that tell you?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, these -- these types of things -- and it seems like we have been talking a lot about head injuries lately -- but, you know, when you have certain stimuli response to hands and feet, opening the eyes, that could be some reflex maneuvers. I don't know if it was some sort of painful stimuli or what was actually being given to make him move, or if he was actually doing it to command, you know, saying -- saying, Bob, could you move your hand; could you move your feet?
That makes a big difference -- a little bit hard to say. I do know -- I have been hearing the he has been sedated pretty heavily, which is not uncommon after a head injury, not uncommon after a -- a head operation as well. So, you know, it's a little bit hard to say exactly what these responses mean right now -- Anderson.
COOPER: When we hear the ABC team, both of them suffered injuries from an IED, what do doctors worry about most? I mean, what is most critical at this point in the treatment? GUPTA: Yes.
You know, you talk about these -- these explosive devices, and, of course, two things really matter up front. One is how powerful the device was. And two was how close they were to the device.
But a couple of things -- one is that there is a primary wave of -- of blasts, sort of, from the shrapnel and any debris that may have been thrown. The second is what you see here, sort of the concussive injury of just the blast actually moving the brain within the skull. Sometimes, that can cause some bleeding on top of the brain, within the brain, can cause swelling, as you see there.
All three of those things sometimes could need an operation. Sometimes, the operation would be to actually remove part of the skull to allow the brain to swell, with the idea that the brain might actually start to subside at some point.
Over here, you see a brain. You might actually remove some of the bone around this brain and allow the brain to swell. And, then, hopefully, that -- that sub -- that swelling will subside later on. It's hard to know exactly what -- what pattern of injuries he sustained here, though -- either one of them.
COOPER: Why would you allow the brain to swell?
GUPTA: Well, you know, that -- that's the tricky thing.
When -- when you are talking about the skull, you're talking about something that can both be very protective of the brain, but also something that can be very detrimental in the face of swelling. The brain has nowhere to swell. And if it swells with -- with the skull in place, it will just what we call herniate, move down into the spinal canal. And that can cause death.
So, what you want to do is allow a little bit of room for the brain, take away some of the bone, allow the swelling to occur naturally from the injury, just like you get a bruise somewhere else in your body, and, then, subsequently, the swelling will go down over time, as it does, and then you place the bone back -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.
GUPTA: Thank you.
COOPER: Roadside bombs like the one that badly injured Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt are a constant threat, of course, a constant terror for Americans in Iraq.
They are weapons of death and destruction, and, as CNN's Arwa Damon reports, quite simple to make.
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the biggest killer in Iraq today, not bullets, bombs, roadside bombs, often cobbled together with old wire and batteries, the kind of stuff you would pull out of your garage, and rusty artillery shells easily stolen from ammo dumps.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, around the corner.
DAMON: These men know what to look for.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Do you see all the -- all the dirt is a different color over there, and how it's freshly dug? It's a perfect sign there there's an IED, that's one has been planted there recently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't have power to it right now.
DAMON: They are becoming more sophisticated, more deadly, but still absurdly simple, rubber hosing, bits of metal, a power source, cell phone parts, even a timer from a clothes dryer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All they will do is set the desired amount of time on it. And it's about the time your clothes will be dry. It's about the time the explosive would go off.
DAMON: On this day, the Marines arrived in western Iraq expecting resistance. They found no enemy that would confront them face to face. What they did find was that walking these streets is literally like walking through a mine field. Anything can blow at any time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's up? Who is hit?
DAMON: This day, a Marine was unlucky.
(on camera): It was a pressure-plate IED, originally intended for a vehicle run across the road, with the explosive hidden in that hole.
(voice-over): But so sensitive that two to three pounds can set it off. The Marine stepped on it. He was wounded. He could easily have died.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do me a favor and not key your handset while you're (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
DAMON: Meet "Lucky," Staff Sergeant Pete Karr. He earned his nickname the day he was standing over an IED, preparing to disable it.
STAFF SERGEANT PETE KARR, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I found the device that was supposed to fire the IED. And, as I was going to separate it, the device exploded, and I walked out without a scratch.
DAMON: Lucky is one of many men whose job is diffusing IEDs before they can mail and kill troops, civilians or journalists. KARR: The best way to explain it is probably take the most stressful thing you have ever done in your life, like the worst moment you have ever had, whatever that may be, have someone start shooting at you, stuff blowing up all around you, and, then, you have something that's going to explode right down the street.
DAMON: That thing down the street is what Lucky and his colleagues stopped from exploding.
The wounding of Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt has made headlines because of who they are, but the explosions that wounded them are daily events around this country. Hundreds, perhaps more, have died. Thousands have been wounded by such blasts. But the work these men do have saved many others.
DAMON: That's right, Anderson. It's kind of hard to -- to undermine how important the work that these men do is.
And one of the biggest challengers here in Iraq for -- for men like Lucky is to find these IEDs before the IEDs are able to hit their target.
COOPER: Yes. Arwa, how do they do that? I mean, we -- when you and I were traveling in Iraq, you know, they had one of those -- this huge machine. It was a South African vehicle.
But, I mean, not everyone has those machines.
DAMON: No, that's right. They don't.
And, a lot of the times, when -- when the troops are out there, what they're looking for is little telltale signs. They really are relying heavily upon themselves, upon their ability to spot abnormalities that, quite frankly, you or I, or the average eye, would not really be able to -- to spot, things that we would not necessarily catch. But now these men have been here for a while. And they are quite used to -- to trying to find these -- these telltale signs -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Arwa Damon, thanks.
Up next, the tunnel beneath us, how did authorities find it? And, more important, what was sent through the tunnel? How long was it in operation for? How many drugs got through? Later, it's not just drugs. We will take you inside the dark and, frankly, horrifying world of human trafficking across the border, Americans preying on children, Mexicans selling them into sexual slavery, and the good people trying to stop it.
And a special programming note about tomorrow and President Bush's State of the Union address -- join me in Washington after the president's speech. Senator John McCain will join us. Pastor Rick Warren, best-selling author of "The Purpose Driven Life," will as well. So will outspoken New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. I will be covering all the angles, along with Wolf Blitzer and the CNN political team.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: What you're looking at is the scene here.
We are on the -- the U.S.-Mexican border -- or, actually, in sort of a no-man's land. This is actually U.S. territory, between two fences. There are two separate fences.
There's the original fence over here, which -- well, actually, that's the new fence, which is a -- a wire mesh fence, very tightly constructed, very hard to get across.
And, if you pan over, there, you see that is the old fence. We're now in between the -- the -- the two countries, but we are on U.S. territory. We're going to have a lot more from the border here. We're actually in the the -- the Otay Mesa district of San Diego. It's on the far south end of town.
More importantly, we're just north of Tijuana. And just a few feet beneath us was a tunnel. Now, it runs 2,400 feet. It's the length of eight football fields. It goes from a warehouse in Otay Mesa, crossing the border, emerging precisely inside another warehouse in Tijuana. It is the longest tunnel U.S. authorities here, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, have ever ground underneath this border.
They found more than two tons of marijuana inside the tunnel. But who knows how many drugs were brought through since the tunnel was first constructed.
Now, just so you know, what you're about to see is far from unique. Since the attacks on 9/11, agents have uncovered 20 other tunnels, 20 that we know of, but, nothing, they say -- nothing -- like this one.
Take a look.
COOPER: ICE agents will tell you, this is one of the most sophisticated tunnels they have ever discovered underneath the U.S.- Mexican border. It likely took years to build. You can see some of the -- the pick marks used.
And this is a -- this is stone. So, digging through this would take a long time to do. It has also got electricity. They have wired the entire tunnel with these cables that have lightbulbs on them. There's even a -- a pipe that brings in fresh oxygen pumped. It was in from Mexico.
MIKE UNZUETA, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: We came in and removed all the bulbs, and took those to the lab for fingerprint evidence. And then...
COOPER: Oh, really? You...
UNZUETA: And then we replaced them with our own lightbulbs.
COOPER (voice-over): Mike Unzueta is the special agent in charge of immigration and customs enforcement in San Diego.
UNZUETA: Yes. I mean, you can see right here there's a junction box for electricity. They probably used these junction boxes in the construction, if they had some sort of electrical tools that were assisting them in the drilling.
COOPER: This tunnel is just one of several that have been discovered by San Diego's Tunnel Task Force.
(on camera): So, these are maybe tools or something like that?
UNZUETA: Some tools and some buckets -- they may have been scraping. I'm sure there was probably some repair work to some of the piping that they had to do.
And here's where it really starts getting kind of wet.
COOPER: When you're walking in the tunnel, it's -- it's easy to get disoriented. It's hard to get a sense of, really, just how big it is. They say the tunnel is about seven football fields in length underneath the United States and then one about football field in Mexico. It's a total, they say, of about 2,400 feet.
(voice-over): It's the largest tunnel ICE has ever found under the U.S.-Mexican border.
(on camera): I mean, it goes -- it's as far as the eye can see, just a straight shot all the way down.
UNZUETA: Exactly. It's -- it's as far as you can see.
COOPER: And it looks like there's water all the way through.
And, actually, this is one of the shallower parts. I was told that, on Wednesday night, there were parts of the tunnel where people had to wade through up to their chest in water.
COOPER: This -- basically, there's a -- this is like a T.- intersection in the tunnel.
COOPER: What does it tell you? Do you think they made a mistake? Do you think they kept tunneling that way? UNZUETA: Well, we don't know if they were headed for some other intended exit or if they made a mistake and got lost in the digging, and then had to make a course correction, and then dug this portion that's right behind me. And, then, of course, the straight shot is over into Mexico.
COOPER (voice-over): When U.S. and Mexican authorities raided the tunnel last week, they discovered more than two tons of marijuana. Officials don't know, however, how many tons of illegal drugs were brought through the tunnel before it was found.
(on camera): There's no way to tell how long this tunnel was in operation. The ropes are still all around. These were probably used to actually carry the bails of marijuana by the -- the people who were bridging the drugs into the United States.
And, gradually, as the -- the tunnel rises up toward the -- the exit point in San Diego, they have actually poured concrete here to build steps to make it easier for people walk -- to walk on.
How would the drug operation work? Do -- do you know?
UNZUETA: Well, we think it would be kind of like a series of ants. There would be a number of people that would be starting in Mexico, either carrying boxes or bundles across, or maybe backpacks, making their way all the way across the tunnel to this side, probably depositing them at the entrance, and then backtracking again.
COOPER: Does a -- a cartel, or whomever it is that built this tunnel, would they specialize just in marijuana, or do most of them -- are they pretty diverse in terms of the drugs they try to move?
UNZUETA: No. My guess is that they would be probably be a poly- narcotic organization. They would be moving cocaine, marijuana. It just so happens that, when we got in here, we found a load of marijuana.
From a Department of Homeland Security perspective, I mean, we're looking at this as a vulnerability to our nation's security. So, whether it was drugs or aliens or who knows what else, you know, tunnels are paramount importance.
COOPER (voice-over): ICE has put out a warning to anyone who took part in the tunnel construction, informing them that their lives may now be in danger.
UNZUETA: What we have seen in the past is, with some of these very sophisticated tunnels, we have received information that the people that were actually involved in the construction of the tunnel or may have worked in the tunnel, carrying narcotics, were later killed by cartel members.
So, this is really a warning to anybody that was involved in the construction to -- to come in and talk to us.
COOPER (on camera): In Mexico the entrance to the tunnel drops about 90 feet. But, here, on the San Diego side, the exit is just below the surface of the ground. And you would emerge from the tunnel and you're in an industrial warehouse in San Diego.
UNZUETA: This is the exit. It's not really elaborate, but it gets the job done. It's certainly more sophisticated down below.
COOPER: For me, what -- what makes this so surreal is, then, you come out of the tunnel and you're in this industrial warehouse in San Diego.
I mean, you're in a warehouse that, really, you would see in any industrial park anywhere. It's pretty nondescript once you're in it.
COOPER: Yes. There's a sign outside that says V&F Distributors. What -- who are they?
UNZUETA: Well, that's something that we're still looking at, you know, the people that -- we're interviewing the owner of the warehouse. We are talking to people that may have leased the warehouse or has a history with the warehouse. That is a legitimate company. It's registered. And that's one of the things that we're running down right now.
COOPER: Well, over the weekend, the investigation swept up a suspect. He is Carlos Cardenas Calvillo, a Mexican. He was arrested on Saturday, arraigned today in federal court in San Diego. He's charged with conspiracy to smuggle drugs.
Joining us now is Mike Unzueta, special agent in charge of ICE in San Diego, who you just saw a moment ago in my report.
First of all, congratulations on finding this tunnel. You guys have done an amazing job on this.
UNZUETA: Thank you.
COOPER: How significant is this arrest?
UNZUETA: The arrest is significant to us. We are hoping that it has a real snowball effect, in terms of other people coming forward, other arrests and investigative leads that we're pursuing right now.
COOPER: It's amazing how many tunnels you have found. We're actually standing on another, a little gopher tunnel, that was found about two weeks ago by this task force that you guys set up. What is the task force?
UNZUETA: We have a Tunnel Task Force here in San Diego that's specifically looking at the issue of tunnels, because we have had so many of them. And the task force is made up of ICE agents, DEA agents, and Border Patrol agents, all working collaboratively, and, of course, with our counterparts in Tijuana as well. COOPER: There would be some who say, well, can't you just put, like, ground radar and see if they're digging a tunnel?
UNZUETA: Well, you know, I don't think the technology is where it needs to be yet.
We are using some technology to assist us, but it's still in development. And I think it still has a ways to go before it really pinpoints tunnels for us.
COOPER: And do you have any idea how many drugs were brought through that tunnel?
UNZUETA: That's the million-dollar question. Obviously, we seized a couple of hundred pounds of marijuana in the U.S. and two tons in Mexico.
What will be key for us is determining how long that exit point has been in the United States.
COOPER: Well, it's amazing that you guys found this tunnel. And just -- I mean, it's the -- the -- just the length of it, everything, the -- it's so -- it's -- it's extraordinary, going down in there.
UNZUETA: Yes. Not only is it huge, but it's sophisticated. And it's the largest tunnel we have ever seen on the southwest border.
And, of course, it's a vulnerability for the security of our nation.
UNZUETA: So, for DHS, it's a very important find.
COOPER: Well, I appreciate you joining us, Mike. Thanks very much.
UNZUETA: Thank you.
COOPER: Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.
More than drug flows across the border, of course. So, do American predators looking for sex with children in Mexico. Every night, this happens, Mexican children sold into human slavery in the states.
Also ahead, we will take a look at smugglers who prey on ordinary Mexicans looking for a better life in the U.S. They're called coyotes. And, as bad as they are, people pay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to put their lives in their hands just to get across the border and from the border.
This is 360.
COOPER: And welcome back.
We are in Southern California, on the Mexican border. We will have a look at another kind of traffic between this country and Mexico, human traffic, in a moment.
But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we are following tonight.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
Claiming that abducted journalist Jill Carroll was appealing to her fellow Americans to press for the release of Iraqi women being held by U.S.-led forces, Al-Jazeera television today aired a video showing the freelance reporter wearing a head scarf and crying. Now, her voice wasn't heard on the tape. It was date-stamped January 28.
In Washington today, the Senate all but guaranteed Samuel Alito's confirmation as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice, shutting down a last-minute attempt by Democrats to block the conservative judge's nomination with a filibuster. In a 72-25 vote, senators agreed to end their debate, setting up a vote tomorrow morning on Alito's confirmation to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Eight women and four men will sit on the Houston jury for the case against former Enron corporation chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. They are accused of orchestrating the massive fraud that came to symbolize an era of corporate scandals.
And, you know, at a ball game, maybe you sit a little too close, you get beaned? Well, really, that's nothing compared to what can happen to you at the Mexican national pastime. Imagine a 1,000-pound bull named Pajarito, although, really that's inconsequential. Just think about the 1,000-pound bull -- his name means "Little Bird," by the way -- leaping over the barricade into the seats at a bullfight in Mexico city on Sunday.
One woman was hospitalized. Pajarito was finally stopped by a matador with a sword, who, well, stabbed him and killed him.
But can you imagine?
COOPER: Oh, my God.
HILL: You're sitting in those seats, and the bull comes over?
COOPER: That is unbelievable.
HILL: Here's comes Little Bird flying.
COOPER: Yikes. I -- I didn't hear -- I couldn't actually even hear what you were saying. I was looking at that video. Were people badly injured?
HILL: There was one woman was hospitalized.
HILL: And, really, it all ended, which was amazing, was, one of the -- one of the matadors jumped into the stands, grabbed a knife and -- or sword, rather -- and -- and stabbed the bull to kill it, basically, to stop it from running through the -- the stands and -- and going after people.
COOPER: That is unbelievable.
HILL: Scary stuff.
COOPER: And then I read -- and then I read that the bullfights continued on, like half-an-hour later. So, I guess the -- the sport continues.
In a -- in a moment, from here on the border, serious stuff, the sex trade with children at the dark center of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I have had guys ask me to go with them. I would like to leave here, if I could. Some people have even tried to take me to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, welcome back. We are right on the border with Mexico. That is one part of the border fence. There are actually two fences here, runs for about a 30-mile stretch. Two fences here, just south of San Diego.
The border where I'm standing tonight serves as a gateway for billions of dollars in trade and commerce. Most of it is legal. But as you've seen, it's also a waypoint for illegal drugs into this country and, as you're about to see, for the flow of predators from the U.S. into Mexico, American citizens looking for sex, sex with children. And they find it in Tijuana.
CNN's Thelma Gutierrez investigates.
THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His voice echoes through this neighborhood in Tijuana, Mexico. It is a song without words, only melancholy haunting sounds from a child who was once bought and sold. Tijuana sits on the U.S.-Mexican border. On the weekend, Americans flock here to party. Just five blocks away is a dark side few outsiders have seen. This is what police call the tolerant zone. It is a maze of dark alleys lined with small bars and young prostitutes. In this zone, prostitution is legal, but sex workers must be at least 18. Many don't look a day over 15, and some may be even younger than that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I don't like it. But what can I do? I started this a year ago when I was 17.
GUTIERREZ: It's hard to know just how old this teenage prostitute really is because they all say they're at least 18. We can't show you her face because she'd be in danger from the men who control this zone and who enforce strict discipline on the young prostitutes who work for them.
The teenager says she was lured to the border from another state in Mexico and that she's doing this to earn money to send to her family. Trafficking experts say young women like her would be even more profitable commodities in the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): I've had guys ask me to go with them. I would like to leave here if I could. Some people have even tried to take me to the United States.
GUTIERREZ: This is how international traffickers lure young women into the underground world of sex slavery where they might disappear forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People will be promised different jobs or different opportunities to come here to the United States or they'll actually be literally kidnapped and forced to come over here.
GUTIERREZ: Federal authorities say Mexico is predominantly a source country where human beings are found, bought and sold by traffickers. According to CIA estimates, nearly 18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year. A third are from Latin America, and no one knows how many are minors.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They range from ages 14 to 18, and many younger. They've got a lot of makeup on. They're being surveilled by their pimps.
GUTIERREZ: Marisa Bava is a human rights activist who works with other groups to protect the most vulnerable, street children who work in the sex trade.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have no place to go, so they roam the streets, they do survival sex. They do other things that are, you know, want to mention because they don't do them because they're bad, but because it's a need.
GUTIERREZ: The main thing children need is a place where they can feel safe.
JORGE BEDOYA, SHELTER DIRECTOR: This is the sleeping area. We have three sleeping area.
GUTIERREZ: We were granted rare access to this government-run shelter in Tijuana, where sexually-exploited boys are counseled, educated and given a second chance at childhood. Jorge Bedoya is the director.
BEDOYA: We are most of the time full, because we have the problem of the street children.
GUTIERREZ: It was here at this shelter where I first met the boy with the voice who since songs that only have meaning to him. We'll call him Tomas.
"TOMAS," FORMER CHILD PROSTITUTE (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): When I sing, I forget everything, all the hurt, the rejection and the abuse. I express my feelings by singing.
GUTIERREZ: Tomas also expresses his feelings by writing. He showed me his journal, inside the tragic story of a mother who did not want him and a life of abuse that led him to the streets when he was only 11.
"TOMAS": My mother and stepfather threw me out of the house. I was crying on the street, and a man came and took me home.
GUTIERREZ: Tomas ran away from a series of child molesters until one day he says he met a woman with whom he thought he'd be safe.
"TOMAS": The woman took me home with her and fed me. Within a week, I learned it was a brothel. I had nowhere to go so I stayed there. The woman gave me things. In exchange, I had to prostitute myself.
GUTIERREZ: Tomas says he was forced to wear makeup and dress as a girl for clients, some of whom were American men. He says he lived this twisted existence for four years as a child prostitute until he learned he was about to be trafficked.
"TOMAS": I found out they wanted to sell me to a person. He offered to buy me, but I said no.
GUTIERREZ: This time when he ran away, he managed to find his way to Jorge's shelter.
SISTER DORA, SHELTERS ABUSED CHILDREN: Buenas tardes. Como estan?
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Bien, gracias.
GUTIERREZ: Sister Dora says there's no shortage of exploited children in her shelter, either. She bought it and runs it with money she made in California real estate. This was a socialite who once owned beachfront property in San Diego and 120 pairs of designer shoes...
SISTER DORA: In here, we're going to show you the bedrooms. GUTIERREZ: ... a far cry from how she lives now.
SISTER DORA: In here, we have three beds, sort of crammed together, as you can see.
GUTIERREZ: She has space for six kids, but 16 live here.
SISTER DORA: We actually are hoping and started praying for a center that would house as many as 80 to 100 children.
GUTIERREZ: Sister Dora says it was a calling from above that compelled her to dedicate her life to the children. From her own money, she pays tuition so that each one can go to school. For many here, it's the first time in a classroom. She says every boy and girl here has a story of heartache and stolen innocence, stories she's heard for 10 years.
SISTER DORA: And I cannot fathom or even understand how any man, whether it's your child or your present wife or what, that you would violate her. I cannot understand that.
And it just breaks me up terribly how horrible, how unjust, and what it does to their lives. They're just absolutely in shambles. And this is why we have so many that do attend, going to prostitution for that reason. They say, "Well, I'm not worth anything."
GUTIERREZ: In the tolerant zone, child prostitutes learn the tragic lesson, that the value of their lives is ultimately measured in the desires and wallets of strangers.
Thelma Gutierrez, CNN.
COOPER: This is a problem that is hiding in plain sight just miles from here, just across the border. In a moment, we'll go back across the border into the heart of Tijuana's red light district, the last place any child should be, what we found in just one visit. We'll show you that ahead.
Also, the $25 million target that got away. He is alive and well and defiant as ever, coming up on 360.
COOPER: Welcome back. We are live on the U.S.-Mexican border.
The idea that men and women can buy and sell boys and girls is bad enough. The fact that it is going on as we speak just down the road, just across the border in Mexico, is something else yet again.
You know it happens. Bad things do, of course. But to see it up close as we did last night, well, that is very different, indeed.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): It is just a short drive from San Diego over the Mexican border to Tijuana, the city some tourists come to because here, they say, anything goes.
(on-screen): Just about everywhere you go in Tijuana you see these billboards. It's got a picture of a child's face and it says, "I'm not a tourist attraction. It's a crime to make me one. Stop child sex tourism."
It's a reminder of the Protect Act, an American law passed in 2003 and just upheld last week by an appeals court. The law makes it illegal for an American citizen to travel overseas with the intent of having sex with a minor.
(voice-over): That means Americans traveling to Tijuana for underage prostitution can be arrested when they return to the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has made more than a dozen arrests since the Protect Act was passed.
(on-screen): Despite the Protect Act, business at the zona rosa, Tijuana's red light district, appears to be booming. Prostitution is still legal here in Tijuana, but the sex workers are supposed to be 18 or over. You talk to social workers though, and they'll tell you, at the zona rosa, it's not uncommon to find girls as young as 15, sometimes even 14, working as prostitutes.
MARISA UGARTE, BILATERAL SAFETY CORRIDOR COALITION: It's a big business. The (INAUDIBLE) demand for sex with kids is a big business. And the pedophiles pay a lot of money for little children.
COOPER: Marisa Ugarte is the director of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition, a nonprofit focused on stopping predators from harming children.
UGARTE: What needs to be known out there is we're going to get you. We are going to get you, and we're not going to stop.
COOPER: The problem of child trafficking extends well beyond Tijuana. Sex tourists often travel to Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, and they're not easy to catch or to spot.
Authorities point to Richard Schmidt as an example. A 61-year- old unassuming middle-class man, Schmidt was convicted of traveling to Cambodia and molesting a 13-year-old boy.
In Tijuana, right now the Safety Corridor Coalition estimates there are at least 8,000 underage prostitutes. The problem hasn't gone away. The problem is hiding in plain sight.
COOPER: Well, on either side, the north and south of this border, it is a magnet for those who crave what is beyond it. Immigration officials say they don't think people were smuggled in the tunnel that was discovered last week, the tunnel that we showed you earlier tonight, though they can't be absolutely sure. What is certain: The business of smuggling humans into the U.S. across this very border is thriving.
CNN's Rick Sanchez investigates.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far from America's big cities, in the heart of border towns like Tijuana, Mexico, there are tens of thousands of people wanting and trying to get into the U.S., people like Ramon, who prefers we don't use his last name.
The man friends call "Money" lives just two blocks from where the money is: the U.S. border.
(on-screen): You can't find enough money here? No hay suficiente dinero aqui en Mexico para ti?
RAMON, WANTS TO COME TO AMERICA ILLEGALLY: Para me, there's no.
SANCHEZ: I'm literally walking on the yellow line that separates the United States, San Ysidro, California, on this side, from Tijuana, Mexico, on this side.
There are an estimated 700,000 undocumented immigrants that enter into the United States each year. This is one of their points of entry.
(voice-over): It's a point of entry that Ramon sees as an opportunity. His wife and four children live 17 hours away by car. That's why he chooses to live here alone so he can more easily sneak into the U.S.
(on-screen): (Speaking Spanish) How often do you go in?
RAMON: (Speaking Spanish) Tres veces.
SANCHEZ: Three times, you've tried to get in.
(voice-over): All three attempts have resulted with his being caught and sent back across the border.
(on-screen): (Speaking Spanish)
RAMON: (Speaking Spanish)
SANCHEZ: You're going to go in again?
RAMON: (Speaking Spanish)
SANCHEZ: Porque? Why?
(voice-over): He answers that, if he doesn't keep crossing, he wouldn't be able to take care of his family.
(on-screen): What do you say to Americans who are -- who criticize people like you, who say you're breaking the law? (Speaking Spanish) (voice-over): The gringos, as he says, are not willing to do the work. And he adds that, as long as there is work, there will be reason for him and others to cross over.
The resistance, meanwhile, on the other side of the border has been stepped up. So also up is the money smugglers are charging to, quote, "guide" people across.
(on-screen): About 15 years ago, the going rate was $200. (Speaking Spanish)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish)
SANCHEZ: And $250 if you want to go above Los Angeles. Well, how much do they charge now? (Speaking Spanish)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish)
(voice-over): The man in the silhouette who doesn't want you to see what he looks like helps people across the border. He compares the people-smuggling business to the narcotics trade.
(on-screen): So it's like a drug deal? (Speaking Spanish)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish)
SANCHEZ: A chain.
(voice-over): A chain, he explains, because the smugglers, or "coyotes," as they're often called, pass off the immigrants at different steps along the way.
(on-screen): How do they avoid being detected or arrested? (Speaking Spanish)
(voice-over): The answer, he explains, has to do with corruption.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking Spanish)
SANCHEZ (on-screen): You pay the Mexican police? (Speaking Spanish)
(voice-over): Paid monthly, he says, to look the other way. If Mexican authorities are profiting, so are smugglers who know there will always be plenty of people like Ramon who want to reach the other side.
SANCHEZ: Anderson, I want to show you something now. This is something I bring you from across the border. This is getting a lot of play over there in Mexico.
COOPER: The tunnel?
SANCHEZ: The tunnel. Tunnel marca chopo (ph) on one side. And the other one they say narco tunnel, which means it was used for narcotics.
It says in the article, interestingly enough, that it's changed ownership many times over the years. But one thing is certain: This information, everything that's going on over here with ICE, its stepped up patrols, and the Minuteman Project, it's getting a lot of play over there. And a lot of people are talking about it. And some of the people that I talk to say they're a little less apt to try and make the border cross because of it.
COOPER: Interesting. Fascinating report. Thanks, Rick.
COOPER: Rick Sanchez.
Al Qaeda's number two is back on the airwaves less than three weeks after the CIA tried to kill him. Coming up, Ayman al-Zawahiri's new message, what it says and what it reveals about one of the world's most wanted terrorists.
Plus, President Bush touches up his State of the Union address. And there's a lot at stake. We'll look at how this speech could make or break his party's chances in November. And we'll a lot more from the border. Across America and around the world, and right on the border, this is 360.
COOPER: Another message from a terrorist. That is coming up. But first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following right now.
ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Hey, Anderson. We begin in Iraq. The trial of Saddam Hussein resumed this weekend with a new chief judge in charge. But that wasn't the only change. Instead of strolling in last so that his lawyers and co-defendants could snap to attention when he appeared, the former Iraqi dictator was made to enter the courtroom first, ahead of everyone else.
Speaking to the so-called quartet of would-be Middle East peacemakers, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today tried to persuade other nations to follow the U.S. lead in cutting off assistance to a Palestinian government led by the hard-line Hamas group. Secretary Rice said, quote, "You cannot be on one hand dedicated to peace and on the other dedicated to violence. Those two things are irreconcilable."
Documents obtained by CNN show the Department of Interior offered critically-needed resources to officials at FEMA in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but the offers were never accepted. The available resources included shallow-bottom boats, personnel experience in water rescues, helicopters, and heavy equipment.
All 72 miners trapped for 24 hours by a fire deep below the Earth's surface are now back above ground from a Saskatchewan potash mine. They are safe and sound. Mine officials say thankfully none of the men were exposed to smoke -- Anderson?
COOPER: All right. That's good news there. Erica, thanks.
Al Qaeda's second-in-command speaks out, taunts President Bush. We'll show you what he said and what it really means. We'll examine the tape, next on 360.
COOPER: Well, tonight there is no doubt that a CIA strike in Pakistan earlier this month missed its intended target: Ayman al- Zawahiri. Al Qaeda's number-two man re-emerged today through a videotaped broadcast on the Arabic network Al-Jazeera. In it, the terrorist tauntingly shows off that he is still alive, and he had some words for President Bush.
CNN senior international correspondent Nic Robertson examines the tape.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): It has been 17 days since the U.S. tried to kill him in a missile attack in Pakistan. Now Ayman al-Zawahiri has fired back. His response delivered to the Arab-language channel Al-Jazeera.
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI, AL QAEDA LEADER (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Their claim was to target this poor man and four of my brothers. The whole world discovered the lies as the Americans fight Islam and the Muslims.
ROBERTSON: The message: You missed me. You can't find me, clearly targeting President Bush. He adds taunts to what has become a diatribe against this administration.
AL-ZAWAHIRI: Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses enjoying their care with God's blessing and sharing with them their holy war against you until we defeat you, God willing.
ROBERTSON: By far the quickest video to market yet for Al Qaeda, complete with English subtitles. It's only been 11 days since Usama bin Laden's audio message, offering a truce in Iraq and Afghanistan to the American public aired on Al-Jazeera. Zawahiri not only talked about that but the U.S. government's rejection of the offer.
AL-ZAWAHIRI: Osama bin Laden offered you a decent exit from your dilemma, but your leaders, who are keen to accumulate wealth, insist on throwing you in battles and killing your souls in Iraq and Afghanistan and, God willing, on your own land.
ROBERTSON: The White House response: Al Qaeda is on the run. But such a quick turnaround shows Zawahiri appears confident he's not about to be caught. Ending his run may be the only way to silence Al Qaeda's most prolific spokesman.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Atlanta.
COOPER: Well, we want to thank our international viewers for watching 360, but we have a lot more coming up here in the U.S., right on the U.S.-Mexican border. We'll have the latest on the condition of ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, seriously wounded yesterday in a bombing in Iraq and now being treated at an American military hospital in Germany.
And a look at the Mexican drug underground. And we mean underground, literally. We'll take you inside one of the most sophisticated and the longest smuggler's tunnel ever discovered right underneath this border where I'm standing. That's when 360 continues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All throughout the tunnel, you find these ropes, which were likely used to carry bails of marijuana. When Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents discovered the tunnel last week, they found more than two tons of marijuana inside.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And good evening again, live from the U.S.-Mexican border. If your papers are in order and you've got nothing to hide, it's a simple matter to step lightly over the border. Otherwise, without papers and with a lot to hide, some have found another way, by going under the border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: A 360 exclusive. A half-mile long, 90 feet deep in some places, Anderson tours one of the largest and most sophisticated smuggling tunnels ever discovered.
COOPER: When Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents discovered this tunnel last week, they found more than two tons of marijuana.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, how the tunnel was used for huge drug shipments, human trafficking, and the sex trade.
Also tonight, the latest details on ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, critically injured in that roadside blast and ambush in Iraq.
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