Metropolitan State student and human trafficking survivor Bukola Oriola traveled to her native Nigeria to speak out about the problem of human trafficking.
Over 11 days in September, Bukola met with university students and the international media there to tell her story and experience as a victim of human trafficking. She had been in an abusive relationship by a partner who kept her in forced labor.
“It was well received, beyond my expectation. We had the U.S. Consulate behind us, which made it very authentic. It opened an avenue that gave me an opportunity to share the message,” Bukola said.
“The healing process is long. It’s not a wound on the body, it’s a wound on the mind and it can trigger again and again and again.”
– Bukola Oriola
Bukola has spoken about her experience since 2009. But the purpose of her recent trip to Nigeria, a campaign called “Bringing the Story Back Home,” was to bring a different understanding and dialogue about the forms that human trafficking can take.
“When they are talking about human trafficking, they are always talking about sex (trafficking). People need to know about the other forms and how to identify a victim of human trafficking. It was an eye-opener for them,” Bukola says.
Speaking with students from several universities, as well as media from The Economist, Channels Television, TVC Continental and at press conferences, Bukola explained that labor trafficking is the second highest form of human trafficking.
“Most of the time people see domestic abuse, but the perception is that trafficking is not domestic abuse — ‘How was she enslaved?’ They learned they can be vulnerable,” she said.
That is the message that Bukola intends to share, repeating as necessary. She hopes to make an additional trip to Nigeria in March 2016.
Bukola wrote about her experience in “Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim,” which she now hopes to adapt for a movie.
“The healing process is long. It’s not a wound on the body, it’s a wound on the mind and it can trigger again and again and again,” she says. “We can make a change through dialogue. We can have this conversation again and again, until people get it.”
Oriola is in her second year at Metropolitan State, where she is pursuing a personalized degree through the College of Individualized Studies. Follow her Twitter page, which features live stream videos of her speaking engagements. For more information visit http://bukolaoriola.com.
- MinnPost: ‘They can be stopped’: Bukola Oriola takes her story of surviving domestic violence from Minnesota to Nigeria
- Pioneer Press: Metro State student and human trafficking survivor takes action
- Star Tribune: Metro State student takes campaign against human trafficking home to Nigeria
- Catalyst: Human trafficking survivor takes her story home