Morning Update: Slavery Is Alive And Well In 2018

Inside the horrors of modern-day slavery, a father disputes Border Patrol's account of his daughter's death, the rise and fall of Sheryl Sandberg

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Inside the country where you can buy a black man for $400

The word “slavery” conjures up images of the Atlantic slave trade and America’s violent past. But in 2018, slavery is very much alive.

There’s a cruel modern twist: Today, people are selling themselves. Our reporter Monica Mark talked to a man who left his home in Nigeria and gave up his savings to make it to Libya, hoping to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

Instead, he found himself trapped in slavery, tortured, and then sold. His story is harrowing. And he is not alone — thousands of desperate people make the same journey, in hopes of making it to Europe. Many find themselves sold, or sometimes auctioned, in a growing slave trade.

A horror like this doesn’t happen in a vacuum — it’s much harder to make it to Europe now, after the European Union’s “stop the boats” policy. Read Mark’s incredible report on the dark consequences of that approach.

A father’s version of a Guatemalan girl’s journey to the US raises questions about the Border Patrol’s account of her death

Jakelin Caal, a 7-year-old girl from Guatemala, died in the custody of US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This much we know.

The agency says she died of dehydration and shock after days in the desert. A CBP official said the girl had not eaten or drunk water for days. Essentially, Border Patrol absolved itself of Jakelin’s death.

Now, Jakelin’s father is contesting the agency’s account, insisting that she had been eating and drinking water and was healthy before being taken into custody.


A federal judge just ruled that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. The Texas judge ruled the act must be thrown out in its entirety. The administrator for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services tweeted that as the case moves through the courts, current and 2019 coverage will not change.

Trump has named Mick Mulvaney acting White House chief of staff. The president announced his pick on Twitter after several contenders for the job publicly took themselves out of the running.

A priest condemned suicide at the funeral of a teenager who killed himself. The parents of the Michigan teen criticized the Catholic priest who led the service, saying he repeatedly focused on their son’s suicide and said he may not enter heaven because of the way he died.

New York police made contact with Pete Davidson after he posted an alarming message on Instagram. Fans and celebrities alike had been left extremely concerned by the post from the comedian, who said he was feeling suicidal and subsequently deleted his account.

This 4,440-year-old tomb is in great condition and officials in Egypt are stunned. The newly discovered, elaborately carved tomb is considered to be “one of a kind in the last decades” for its pristine state and the fact it hasn't been looted.

Forty-six memes that defined 2018. This was a good year in memes. Here are the best.

The rise, lean, and fall of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg

When Sheryl Sandberg first joined Facebook, her hiring was framed as the company adding “an adult in the room.” She was a star hire, whom some described as a “powerful executive with a soft touch.”

As her influence grew over the company, so did the mythos around her. Her book, Lean In, cemented that legend further.

But Sandberg’s 2018 didn’t exactly go according to plan. In a year riddled with scandal for the company, a series of high-profile stories about Sandberg have shifted the way she’s seen.

You should read Anne Helen Petersen’s excellent deep dive into Sandberg’s image. This stuck with me: “The vast majority of us are not Sandberg’s mentees or her friends. We’re customers, and Sandberg’s most pressing business has always been business itself.”

A woman made a hilarious, viral movie trailer when her boyfriend didn’t text her back. Now she’s getting job offers.

After a text to her boyfriend went unanswered, 21-year-old Paula Ramirez had enough time on her hands to make a movie trailer. It was an epic tale of, well, a woman who is extremely tired of waiting for her boyfriend to respond.

The video was a professional-grade trailer for a movie called Where the Fuck Is George? Ramirez posted it and the video went wildly viral because people could really relate.

She even got a handful of people offering to pay her to edit videos.



A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.