NPR

A Victim Of Sex Trafficking, Blessing Okoedion Now Works To Save Others

The Nigerian activist was honored by the U.S. State Department in June for her efforts to combat human trafficking in Italy and Nigeria.
Nigerian anti-trafficking activist Blessing Okoedion at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., in June. Source: Eslah Attar/NPR

When Blessing Okoedion was 26, she headed to Spain for a job she had been offered at a computer store. In her home country of Nigeria, she had earned a degree in computer science and started her own business repairing computers.

But the job offer was a ruse. Her work visa had been faked by human traffickers. There was no computer store job.

After a brief stop in Spain, her captors sent her to Naples, Italy. They told her

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR6 min readPolitics
'I Want To Go Back': The Yazidi Girls Who Did Not Want To Be Rescued From ISIS
The girls, ages 10 and 11, were held captive for years and remember nothing of their Yazidi heritage. They miss the ISIS woman who looked after them and tell rescuers they want to return to her.
NPR2 min readSociety
NXIVM Leader Keith Raniere Found Guilty Of All Charges In Sex Cult Case
The secretive group espoused a philosophy of self-help but was accused of recruiting women as sex slaves. Charges against Raniere, known as "Vanguard," included sex trafficking and racketeering.
NPR5 min read
Alabama's Africatown Hopes For Revival After Slave Ship Discovery
The Clotilde was discovered last month in the Mobile River, bringing new attention to a small community founded by African captives who were brought to the U.S. on the ship.