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Human trafficking survivor: We think it can never happen to us

Blessing Okoeyedon says religious persecution in Nigeria makes it easier for traffickers to ensnare internally displaced people.

Blessing Okoeyedon, a Nigerian human trafficking survivor. She has lived in Italy since 2013, when she was deceived into leaving Nigeria by a promising job opportunity in Europe.

BLESSING OKOEYEDON
Human Trafficking Survivor
“When I arrived here, I realized the job didn’t exist. It was all a lie. I realized I was in the hands of traffickers when they told me I had to pay 65 thousand euros.”

She says this phenomenon of trafficking, which affects many Nigerian women, is fueled in part by religious persecution, which forces many people out of their homes.

BLESSING OKOEYEDON
Human Trafficking Survivor
“These internally displaced people are especially vulnerable to trafficking because they find themselves in this situation. So they often fall for the promise of a better life and are taken to foreign developed and industrialized countries, especially in the Middle East.”

Despite the extent of the problem, Blessing says many people remain ignorant or indifferent to the situation. She explains that before she became a victim, she never imagined it could happen to her.

BLESSING OKOEYEDON
Human Trafficking Survivor
“We close our eyes to this dramatic phenomenon because we think it can never happen to us. Why? Because we think we live in a beautiful world, but unfortunately that’s not the case. Human trafficking is a really evident, current phenomenon.”

That’s why, as a survivor, Blessing now dedicates herself to raising awareness of human trafficking and of religious persecution. She says all of society must work together to end this tragedy.