Weavers of hope

Publish date 28-09-2022

by Chiara Vitali

When I realized that I was a victim of human trafficking, my head filled with questions and a great anger, which told me: you can do something ». He has a strong Blessing Okoedion voice, which draws you in with every word. He told his story about him at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, in mid-April. She graduated in computer science and originally from a village in southern Nigeria, in 2013 she was brought to Italy with the promise of working in a computer shop. Instead, once she arrived, she Blessing found herself stuck in the system of trafficking, a criminal activity that involves around 45 million people in the world, 70% of them women and girls, and whose main purpose is sexual exploitation.

"I remember the days I lived on the road, it was hell. Remaining silent meant making a contribution to traffickers and exploiters. Anger reminded me of all the girls and women who die of slavery without falling into any statistics. So, I decided to speak ». Blessing reports her traffickers to the police, with a gesture full of courage, which she attributes "to education and faith in God". She then meets Sister Rita Giaretta of the Rut House in Caserta, whom she defines as "a very difficult person to find, who really cares about the people she meets, to give them a better life". From there, she Blessing knows a new freedom. Her whole story is told in a book, The courage of freedom, published in 2017 and written together with the journalist Anna Pozzi.

But her voice has not remained alone, and in recent years she has founded a non-profit organization called Weavers of Hope, "Weavers of Hope". She was joined by other women who survived trafficking, who now live in Italy and who are originally from Nigeria and other West African countries. They have transformed their lives and every day they return their story for the sake of other women.

Chiara Vitali
NP Maggio 2022

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