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Blessing Okoedion

Nigeria , Class of 2018

Blessing Okoedion

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Blessing Okoedion is an inspirational voice in the fight against modern slavery. Ms. Okoedion plays an integral role in pushing Italian authorities to ensure that survivors, especially Nigerian women and girls, receive the services they deserve during their healing process and that law enforcement and service providers engage with survivors in an increasingly culturally informed, victim-centered manner.

She selflessly devotes her time to ensure survivors feel they have a trusted champion who can advocate on their behalf as they go through the process of reintegrating into society, including through her work as a cultural mediator for trafficking victims staying in a local shelter run by a community of Ursuline sisters.

Ms. Okoedion has demonstrated exceptional courage in drawing from her own experiences as a trafficking survivor to raise awareness about human trafficking in Italy, where she was subjected to sex trafficking. Ms. Okoedion also partners with the Catholic Church, particularly women religious, and travels throughout her home country of Nigeria to educate vulnerable women and girls in poor and remote areas to help them detect traffickers’ fraudulent recruitment and employment tactics, including false promises of work and a better life in large cities and other countries. In 2017, she published a book, co-written with an Italian journalist, to tell her story and to shine a light on this abhorrent practice.

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Sex Trafficking