Local anti-human trafficking advocate and North Metro TV public access television producer Bukola Oriola was invited to the White House Jan. 14 to speak as part of a special survivor forum.
A journalist in her native Nigeria, Bukola first came to America to cover a session of the United Nations in 2005.
While here, she fell under the spell of a man who would become her captor, imprisoning her and, eventually, her son in his home for nearly two years. During that time, she was subjected to torture, starvation, physical, psychological and emotional abuse. She was only allowed to leave the house to work, but was not allowed to keep any of her earnings.
Bukola eventually escaped her captor and has since become an advocate for victims of human trafficking, speaking to groups across the nation, penning a memoir of her experiences entitled “Imprisoned: The Travails of a Trafficked Victim,” and producing nearly 20 episodes of “Imprisoned Show” as a volunteer television producer with North Metro TV public access.
She currently lives in Anoka and operates a hair braiding studio in Spring Lake Park.
This past September, Bukola heard about an opportunity to speak in Washington, D.C. as part of The Office for Victims of Crime’s Human Trafficking Survivor Forum and Listening Session hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
She applied and was eventually selected as one of only 20 survivors to be a participant in the special forum held at the White House.
“It was a dream come true when I could voice my message to the United States government in person,” says Bukola. “As a victim of labor trafficking, I have survived all odds in an unknown land to be able to lend a voice to the voiceless, advocate for other victims and empower survivors.”
She found her fellow survivors, “energetic, intelligent, resilient and very engaging.”
“Meeting them felt like meeting missing or separated siblings,” Bukola said. “We all connected because we had all survived one form of torture or the other as a result of various forms of human trafficking.”
About North Metro TV
North Metro TV is a public access and community television station serving the cities of Blaine, Centerville, Circle Pines, Lexington, Lino Lakes and Spring Lake Park. It provides free training, equipment and television airtime to anyone who lives or works in our seven cities and who would like to make their own television show.