The United States has awarded a Kenyan human rights activist, Sophie Otiende, for her efforts in the fight against human trafficking.
Otiende received the global recognition from the State Department during this year’s Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) Heroes launch on Thursday, 25th June.
The launch was officiated by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Ivanka Trump, Ambassador John Richmond, among other officials.
Otiende was among nine other people who were recognised globally for the same role.
The TIP Report Heroes are from around the world and recognised by the State Department for their tireless efforts to pursue justice for victims, prosecute traffickers, and educate the public about human trafficking in their countries and abroad.
Addressing guests during the launch of the report, Otiende commended her fellow 2020 TIP Heroes and urged global citizens to advocate a more equal world that doesn’t allow slavery of any kind.
“Looking at the body of work that we’ve done as a group – from prosecuting human trafficking cases to advocating stronger victim protections or raising public consciousness of the crime – this is a reminder that we all have the ability to change the world in our own small but powerful ways,” she said.
“It took me 15 years from when I experienced trafficking personally to when I could properly define and name the crime.
“However, I know being able to name the crime is empowering, and for someone like me, it gave me the language and tools to not only complete my healing process, but to also begin to fight for other survivors like me who are in need of help.”
Otiende is the founder of Awareness Against Human Trafficking in Kenya, which focuses on curbing human trafficking.