Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Jessica Sewall (The Women’s Consortium of Nigeria - WOCON): Jessica completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied abroad in both Ecuador and Chile. In Ecuador, she was a part of a team that conducted a needs assessment and census survey of a small village outside of Quito, with a focus on potable water and sanitation and infrastructure. Jessica worked for the City of Milwaukee on an outreach campaign for work support benefits for low-income families. She then returned to university. At the time of her fellowship, Jessica was studying for a Master’s degree in International Policy and Development at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, and a Certificate in Humanitarian and Refugee Emergencies.

Hope for Trafficking Survivors

20 Jun

She was 15 years old, and she was taken on her way to school in Ibo State by a woman to Abuja. There she lived for a year with 12 other girls in the home of a man, his wife, and children. The girls were there for the pleasure of the man, and for entertainment of his professionally prominent friends. While the man was away on business she was able to escape the house and call for help, also allowing two other girls to be rescued.

Another girl, now 19 and having lived in shelters for almost a year, was kidnapped in Ibo State and driven through Nigeria across to Libya. She did not know where her end destination was, only that her captor would sell her into prostitution. She escaped him in Libya and spent three days without food in the desert until she found help.

A third girl is now 16; her and her sister were taken from Benin where a woman promised them and their mother a better education abroad. At immigration the girls were told to lie about their ages to make them appear older. Savvy immigration officers recognized the reality of the situation on the Nigerian border with Libya and rescued the girls from being trafficked.

These three girls are just a few of many that are staying in safe houses in Nigeria, receiving a safe home with other girls, counseling and health services, along with education and job training. These girls are courageous, and they tell their stories quietly but firmly, all of them aspiring to complete their secondary education and go on to university to become a doctor, a musician, and a singer. They smile, they are hopeful, and they give a bright and hopeful future as trafficking survivors.

Posted By Jessica Sewall (Nigeria)

Posted Jun 20th, 2006

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