“Hidden America” is a division-wide series of reports, launched by ABC News earlier this year, aimed at shining a light on the people, places and stories of struggle and hope that are not well known or apparent to many Americans. The reports also spotlight the creative and innovative things some extraordinary Americans are doing to help people in their communities. This long-term commitment grows from Diane Sawyer’s remarkable and award-winning “Hidden America” documentaries on Camden, Appalachia, and Pine Ridge.
Below is a round-up of some of the reports that have aired across ABC’s broadcasts:
- “Hidden America: Invisible Health Crisis” – aired Tuesday, April 24 on “World News” – Chris Cuomo examines a shocking statistic — 16 million low-income children received no dental care in 2009, and the consequences can be dire. Cuomo went deep inside this crisis, taking viewers to a clinic in Florida, where children go for treatment of last resort. He followed a dentist in Lafayette, LA discovering an innovative approach to help these underserved children gain access to dental care.
- “Hidden America: Dreaming Off the Grid” – aired Wednesday, April 25 on “Nightline” – John Quinones returned to the Texas-Mexico border, where an estimated 100,000 American children live in isolation and poverty in thousands of communities in Texas called Las Colonias. Basic services and health care are hard to come by yet every day more people put down stakes hoping for a piece of the American Dream. These young U.S. citizens and their families often live without electricity and running water, which leads to higher rates of diseases like tuberculosis, cholera and hepatitis. Despite a daily struggle for survival, the children of more than 2000 communities known as Las Colonias have an indomitable belief in a better life in America.
- “Hidden America: The Pimp Hunters” – aired June 25 on “World News” and “Nightline” – Hidden among the nation’s leafy suburban streets is an epidemic of sex trafficking especially of underage girls and boys lured into the life by pimps. ABC’s Clayton Sandell gained exclusive access inside Operation Cross Country, journeying deep inside a hidden world of cat and mouse between law enforcement and those who traffic young women. The sting operation lead to the arrest of 107 suspected pimps busted in a three-day weekend sweep in 57 cities. In all, 79 underage children were rescued, more than ever before in a nationwide sweep.
- “Hidden America: The Innocent Addicts” – aired July 11 on “Nightline” – Juju Chang went inside the neo-natal intensive care unit at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville, where nurses give baby Grayson morphine every three hours to help ease his painful withdrawal symptoms. Other newborn babies shake and scream as nurses rush to administer care around the clock. Nearly half of the infants in the hospital’s NICU are suffering from opiate withdrawal — most from prescription painkillers.