A hundred elephants die every day in Africa killed by poachers, members of the militia or of terrorist organizations like Al Shabab. Their tusks sell for €600 per kilo, and an emerging middle class in China demands ivory as symbol of their new wealth status and International criminal gangs are there to cater to them. The tusks of these poor animals are pulled out while they´re still alive because they´re more valuable that way, and most of those apprehended do not even face a fine. Experts from the UN, ecologist organizations and Interpol warn that Elephants face extinction. In this episode we investigate this brutal industry meeting with every link in the chain from the poachers and sellers to the environmentalist and law enforcement.
Somalia has the perfect ecosystem for endless war: European mercenaries, pirates, Al Qaeda jihadists, weapon smugglers, drought and hunger. We enter an absurd, anarchic reality where warlords will switch allegiances to gain security and stability, again to make profit and perhaps again for religious conviction. We meet with one of ‘good’ warlords whose troop of mercenaries are working for the local government for now. His militia was the only one that could win the Islamists from Al Shabab, but in Somalia, loyalty is with the clan and not with the State. We venture into one of the refugee camps for the internally displaced, the result of an exodus that has displaced almost two million Somalis. With the highest child mortality rate in the world – Islamists prohibited vaccinations as they considered them part of a Western conspiracy – to add to their troubles, alongside war, hunger, disease and the threat of kidnap – Somalia can be considered the most dangerous country in the world.
Honduras: The Mara´s Life
Nineteen people are murdered every day in Honduras, the most violent country without a war in the world. Sistiaga experiences the daily horror of life on the streets in the cities of Honduras. Within three days of arriving he has already witnessed 12 murders: taxi drivers, engineers, drug dealers, gangsters. Killing is not the means but the goal itself, and brutality prevails – beheadings and dismemberment no longer make headlines. Young gangsters will kill each other for a corner to sell their drugs. The Maras control whole neighbourhoods in Honduras, drug dealers impose their law and the police are infiltrated and corrupted.
Half a million Israeli settlers live within the Palestinian territories forming the main barrier to a two-state solution. They do not see themselves as colonists or invaders, but rather pioneers. Some see themselves as the vanguard that will welcome the arrival of the Messiahs to the lands of Abraham, and others consider themselves a barrier against Islamic extremism. Many however, live in the colonies because the houses are cheaper. Living at the ground zero of our ages defining conflict however takes its toll as we see both sides locked in every day conflict and mutual mistrust that permeates every waking minute, and is the prism through which their identity is defined. We travel to this committed and obstinate world, a community suspicious of foreigners and the International press, and that welcomes isolation. They are convinced that anti Semitism govern the world, and that this land was promised to them. We travel to the Holy Land.
No Country for Women
It’s one of the biggest economies in the world and one of the most powerful members of the G-20 club. But India is not a country for women. Every hour a woman is killed. Mothers will abort when they know the gender of the baby, and many women in India will suffer every kind of humiliation and violence. Some will be sold as sex slaves before they are 12 years old, others will be force to marry as soon as they have their first period. More will suffer beatings or will be raped by gangs without consequence, or burnt with acid by their own husbands following brutal cultural traditions. We travel to the most savage and archaic India. The one you can´t find on the touristic guides or at G-20 meetings.
Uganda is a Paradise for European tourists, one of the most Christian countries in Africa and the most homophobic country on the continent. The Parliament debates the Anti Homosexuality Law, also known as the ‘Killing Gay Law’. ‘They are very dangerous, they can finish Humanity’ This is how reverend Simon Lokodo – Minister of Ethics and Integrity – speaks about gays in a deeply Christian country, one of 80 countries in the world where being homosexual is a crime. They contemplate the death penalty for what they call ‘grave homosexuality’ or life sentence for the couples that dare to get married. There have been already assassinations of activists, beatings, intimidation and persecution. This episode uncovers the messianic arguments of the leaders that spread hate, and we give voice to the few gay activists that dare to face them.
Riding the Beast
The Beast is the train running through Mexico that everyday carries Central American migrants who dream of a better life in the United States. The reality is that on this most dangerous of journeys, the threat of kidnap, rape, violence and murder is constant as carrying their worldly belongings makes them an obvious target for gangs. Catastrophic accidents causing amputation and death are commonplace giving ‘the beast’ a second nickname, the ‘migrant mincer’. 20,000 people a year are kidnapped, a further 5,000 ‘missing’ and the route is strewn with shallow graves. In this episode we ride ‘the beast’ and experience the hardships of those who risk everything on its back. We meet with migrants searching for a better life, victims of its brutality and the support industry of kitchens, guides and markets that have grown alongside this arduous track.
Albino: A Story of Fear and Prejudice
In Tanzania, albino´s are feared and hated as many believe they are cursed and bring bad luck. As a result of these terrible superstitions they have become victims of mutilation and murder. To be born as an albino in certain places in Africa continues to be the worst sentence. Black magic rituals use their organs and witch doctors will pay high fees for their limbs. In this episode we meet with the victims of this heartbreaking reality and those who are trying to end these barbaric traditions.
Walking on Bombs
Afghanistan is full of landmines, which emerged as the most lethal weapon used against North American military forces and their allies. We travel to the south of the country – the most dangerous zone – to enter the world of bomb disposal officers; men and women that walk on bombs. None of them match the stereotype seen in The Hurt Locker and none of them are adrenalin junkies. In their own words, this is the quickest way of getting killed in Afghanistan. War is over but the bombs remain. Every day, at least one Afghan is killed or mutilated.
How to Organise a Genocide
Rwanda is a country full of murderers, a fact evidenced by the million people who were killed with machetes over 3 months during the Rwandan genocide. We return twenty years on when many of the killers are starting to be released from prison and return to their homes and villages, and live amongst their victims; those who survived the slaughter hiding in swamps. We meet with both the victims and the perpetrators of a genocide, living side by side, which has not been forgotten..
At Hell´s Gate
In this episode we visit Kawah Ijen´s active volcano in Indonesia to investigate the labour conditions that miners bear everyday in extracting its sulphur. In the mouth of the volcano labourers carry upon their backs over 70 kilos of sulphur blocks, double their own weight. We follow the trail of these men – suffering the worlds worse working conditions – in to ‘the gates of hell’. A strong smell of rotten eggs impregnate everything, the eyes gets irritated, the sulphur makes breathing difficult, the throat burns… This is one of the most toxic places on earth. Few make it past fifty years of age and their bodies are deformed form the heavy loads, for which they are paid €0.01 a kilo or at most €3 a day.