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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  February 4, 2016 9:30pm-10:01pm EST

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there's a reason people pull back on production, they don't think it will work. >> that's the show for today, i'm ali velshi, thanks for joining us. the news continues here on al jazeera america [ ♪ music ] thanks for joining us for "america tonight", i'm joie chen. there is new terrifying indication that europe's refugee crisis is spiralling out of control, has tone on another frightening dimension. "america tonight" investigates the plight of migrant children,
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somehow navigating their way across europe alone, weeks ago we warned numbers were on the verge of exploiting. now the evidence is that it already has. "america tonight"s sheila macvicar met these most vulnerable migrants on their perilous journey. >> one country left behind. another to cross. one more border. every day there are hundreds, some days thousands. exhausted men, women and children of all ages. persons in wheelchairs, babies. small children struggling for a new life in western europe. for many of these refugees, the border crossing and makeshift center near the mass zonian
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down -- macedonian town marks the halfway point of their journey. >> a few months ago relief agencies say those travelling here were yemen. they say increasingly they see families with children, small children, families with babies, and children travelling alone. >> vladimir is a social worker with a macedonian child protection organization. his job to search out the most vulnerable refugees, the children travelling on their own. >> your specialty is unaccompanied minors, what are you looking for? >> victims of trafficking. >> how would you find people who are victims of tracking? >> it's difficult. boys that travel alone. they have prepared story. they never tell you that they are 13, 14, 16. >> reporter: they lie about their aftening? >> yes.
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>> reporter: euro poll reported last week that they cannot account for the whereabouts of over 10,000 migrant children, raising fears that many are exploited by sex traffickers and other criminal elements. on this morning, vladimir spots several boys that he is certain are under age. finally, there they are, hungered down with a group of men. and unlike most, they boned up to their ages. >> how old are you? >> i'm 14. >> reporter: who are you travelling with. >> my cousin. >> the two of you are together. >> how old is your cousin. >> reporter: ages 14 and 13 - their home is in kaboom. he told us -- kaboom, he told us last time he had a shower was two weeks ago. the men they travelled with
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strangers. who like the boys paid thousands to the same smuggler to take them along this route. >> how long have you travelled. you have a long way to go. >> yes. >> reporter: the cousins said they were going clear across europe to belgium, where they knew no one, but hoped to go to school and be safe. >> reporter: do you think about four family. >> yes. i don't know my family, the situation. >> reporter: does your family know where you are? >> no. >> no phone or way to communicate. bilal says his father was threatened by the taliban, demanding he join them or his family would be killed. >> fleeing, they are two of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children that washed up in
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western europe this year. >> when you have an unaccompanied minor, we are supposed to deal with this e. >> this is a unicef representative in macedonia. >> the guys are determined. they want to go to europe. if you stop them, it would be against their best interests. >> normally that would be part of your job as u.n.i.c.e.f., to gather the kids up, and keep them safe? >> yes. what we want, what we are looking for is to make sure the children are not called. we are making sure they are not smuggled. i can tell you all of the world between here and germany, no one is going to do anything legal. no one had the means. the main objective is to make sure no one stays behind. >> the truth is on the long road many countries like macedonia don't want the burden of caring for the children.
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so it's not until they get to destinations in austria, germany and beyond, that they come forward and ask for help. last year alone germany registered 60,000 unaccompanied minors, a huge increase from the previous year when 24,000 were reported for all of europe. like this 16-year-old sarah, we met her in berlin. can i ask why did your parents agree that you could make this difficult journey on your own? >> at first my parents were against it. i threatened to commit suicide if i didn't agree to leave. it's my future and my family's future. >> reporter: sarah is in legal limbo. the german system is overwhelmed. it takes months to process the
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cases. chin alone like sarah. >> i don't have a bus cart or health insurance or a court appointment. how much money do you have? >> nothing at all. >> sarah gets seven euros a week to live on, less than $10. more than the money, the delay is about a permanent home leaving them vulnerable. like the boys fearing war and subscription into the army. we blurred their faces in accordance with law. >> why would you want to come to germany? >> they respect people. >> reporter: why was it hard. >> there's a lot of adults there. there's a lot of bad people
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there. >> what do you mean when you say bad adults. >> like drugs, alcohol. >> you didn't me feel safe. >> reporter: we heard stories of children sleeping rough in the woods. thousands vanished. german police reported 5,000 children and teens are missing. euro poll says over 5,000 children in italy disappeared. and another 1,000 in sweden. >> no one knows where they are or if they are safe. at the main refugee processing center in berlin, a speaks woman is asked how the kids could be left to fend for themselves for months. >> normally it's not the case, it can be only extreme mistake or error.
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miners have a special status. i have to see the case, because it's a special case. she admitted the system is overwhelmed. >> we need more stuff, more stuff because we have got already, but we need more. not enough staff means those waiting times are getting longer and for those in the system, but not fully settled, it means less supervision and more opportunity for predators. for the children like sarah, after such a journey, the wait is so hard. >> i miss my family. my life is about a person who is lonely by myself. she has no one around. >> if you had known it would be this hard, would you have done this, to make this journey all alone. >> i still would have come for my sisters, mother and family.
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it may be many years before i could see them again. >> many years, and a difficult road ahead. >> "america tonight" sheila macvicar is here now. so in the weeks since she started doing this report, this situation is out of control. >> yes. when we first reported this, that were reports, concern expressed that some of these children were disappearing after they had been counted into the system. what euro poll is saying is that not only have those children appeared and not resurfaced anywhere else, but there had been thousands of children across europe that have been known to refugee authorities, have been in the system who have vanished and are not reappearing. >> what does that mean disappeared. certainly if they have taken them into the system, there's some effort to keep them under
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control, keep tabs on them. after all, they have been through so much to get to europe. >> not only that, there's motivation for the kith to stay in the system -- kids to stay in the system. they get fast-tracked. they have the opportunity to go to school. there are benefits, places to live. there's a system in place for the kids. that system is overwhelmed. and kids are ending up in places where they are not properly supervised or there are not enough people to supervise them. in italy alone, 5,000 migrant children are missing. children under the age of 18 who were unaccompanied, not with family, not with anyone they were related to. the italians don't know what happened to them. we know from other reporting that in recent weeks there have been reports of children who have been found, forced into prostitution around some of
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roam's train stations and bus stations. we know that there is some of that going on. where the rest of the kids go, it's unclear. >> frightening. "america tonight"s sheila macvicar next - a spirited defense, the street level, and why women will not stand down. later - half a world away, women defying the rules to learn.
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now about those who have freedom, but reason to fear. life on the streets. threats against muslims have been an intimidating part of the political season and translated to some communities. facing that kind of pressure, some of the faithful have ten it upon themselves to find a way to fight back. >> one, boom, extend. two, three. >> i have a fear of walking outside with my head scarf. and i thought i would do something to someone or someone would do something for me. >> after the unfortunate paris attacks, and leading up to the californian attacks, we started to feel paranoid about the subway platforms and things like that. >> we just felt like, you know, a little more paranoid than
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normally what we would do. and we thought okay, what will we do. you know, we can't live like that. >> the practice in sport, going to about 10, between 10 and 111. my dad taught me how to box. >> i wasn't expecting to use skills that i learnt when i was little. i refused to give in to the cycle of hate that happens after certain event, and that feeling definitely led into doing something about it in terms of defense. >> i don't care how hard it is against the wall. there's a 5 inch stiletto. one of the incidents that i have
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experienced was grocery shopping in the produce section. i had two individual men come up to me and make fun of me, calling me a terrorist in front of my face, out loud in front of people. i thought i am not going to walk away. so i went up to them and told them what you are doing is wrong, i'm not a terrorist and you should not be doing that. it wasn't so much as i was afraid of identifying myself about what might happen to me. or who might attack me today, answer for the things that happen around the world. it really was to get together and create an alternative that was safe and powered and allow a
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support group for women to come together. and i think it's safe to say we are assuming they may have 10-15 women including ourselves. and we had sold out. >> the feeling is diverse. the feeling was diverse. we had women without a head scarfing. >> and our classes are open to anybody who identifies themselves as a woman. not necessarily. you just have to identify yourself as a woman. . >> you have to get out of the
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comfort zone. the most valuable thing i learnt from the self-defence classes, allow yourself not to be a victim. it's important to understand that most hate attacks come from people that are not looking for an opponent. they are looking for a victim. >> when you are able to carry yourself in a way that says yoiment afraid -- says i'm not afraid, it comes to situations where you have to be ready. it's not that you don't have fear, it's just that you are more aware of your surroundings and able to observe and understand if something is to happen, you need to be ready next, a muslim woman and a different sort of rebellion. in afghanistan. the differences they'll go to beat the odds.
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the latestest of the u.s. investment. it's grim, dispute the is million in aid, afghanistan's economy is fragile. and worsening. the power of the taliban is growing. against reality, signs of hope, led by afghanistan's women. al jazeera's jennifer glasse and a grandmother taking steps forward despite the odds. six days a week. anetha gets an early start. >> alone, she leaves her home before dawn. not normal for an afghan woman.
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56-year-old is on her way to university, where she studies law. this morning, she's in a hurry. there are still many in afghanistan who disappearing of women in school, as a girl, her father said no to a formal. at age 16 when she married, her father-in-law objected to school. school would wait until a few years ago after her youngest child turned 18. she walks a mile through the early morning traffic. on this bitter cold day, it takes about 20 minutes. she is proud she has not missed
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a single day. it's exam time. the subject today is islamic studies, university classmates are young enough to be her children. when she started, that's who her professor thought she was, the mother of a new student checking out the university. she earnt the respect of classmates and has become an example for some parents.
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this is her second year at university, and eighth in school overall. she got to university by attending a private high school, one whose mission is to educate and empower. she started her education here, one of the 13 schools teaching women and girls and a few men who couldn't get an education when they were children. >> this school was the brain child of a senior person who moved to the united states in 1978 when the soviet afghan war was imminent. she returned to afghanistan in 2001. we realized 17 and 18-year-olds
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were sitting at third and fourth grade. there was a serious need for an abbing sell rated programme to -- accelerated programme to help the students to catch up with their high school as soon as they can. many barriers kept afghan winners from getting an education. lack of schools. the taliban and the government. >> that is where the private school comes in. providing an accelerated level of education. they have opened schools in eight of 34 provinces, and says the need is great. >> not only during the years of taliban that women were banned. but previously, during the 10 years of the factional war, there was no schools. people couldn't move out of their houses. sop we have really, three
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generations in fact suffered. not having access to education, and now we have to recover will take 30 years. >> everyone here says the challenge is to come back to the school. it is remembered as one of the best students. >> one of the teachers says she was the first to arrive and volunteered in glass. she is confident she'll make a good lawyer. training to be a lawyer means
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that she studies every chance she gets. she makes plenty of time for her family. their support means helping her to recognise her dream. every one has a college degree. four are doctors. fatima says her father made sure all the siblings got an education, despite the bias against women. >> if i could not give you good food. but a good education. not everyone has to be supportive. some of the the distant relatives criticised her decision to go back to school.
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the studies have not slowed her at home. this friday she spent hours preparing this lunch, but doesn't believe her home life should interfere with her dreams of one day being a lawyer. >> that is "america tonight". tell us what you think at we'll have more of "america
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tonight" tomorrow. thousands flee the syrian government offensive in aleppo, while world leaders gathered promising billions in aid. >> it will enable humanitarian walkers to help people with live saving aid. >> planning for peace. >> just as the united states has been a partner in the time of