The U.S. State Department has honoured several Anti-Human Trafficking Heroes from around the world – who have dedicated themselves selflessly into rescuing victims of sex slave trade.
The activists were honored in Washington, D.C., this month at an event marking the release of the State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons report.
Each of the Heroes carried a photograph of the victims they’ve rescued from human trafficking – on their mobile phones.
Oluremi Kehinde, a Nigerian activist, who works with Africans who have been trafficked for sex work in Russia – shared a photo of an 18-year-old Nigerian girl who was brought to Russia with what she thought was a student visa – and then forced into prostitution.
According to him: “victims brought for prostitution have their passports taken away from them. She would have to work to pay up the $50,000 to $60,000 [to her captors] before she could earn back her freedom. This girl only paid $15,000, so she was locked up in an apartment where she had to serve customers. Many victims are threatened that if they run away, their family in Nigeria would have to pay up — or be harmed.
“In the process of working as a prostitute, she had to have anal intercourse with men. Many times, if the victims refuse, they are humiliated, beaten up, some are even thrown out a window or killed. So most victims agree.
“The girl’s large intestine became twisted and blocked. She could not go to the toilet and became weak with a serious stomachache. She was dying. But the traffickers didn’t help her. I found out about this case and I got the police involved. We got her out of there and into the hospital for surgery. She was crying, “I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die.
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“Four weeks ago, we returned her to Nigeria and [we are now] working to arrest the people who brought her to Russia. She is better now, with her parents,” Kehinde said.