Evon Benson-Idahosa, an English Barrister and founder of the Pathfinders Initiative started by sharing a childhood story of how her mum will shop abroad for shoes for her and her siblings but hers would never fit. Her shoes were either too big or small for her, and so never had much of a choice but to fit into her sisters shoes.
She narrated a bit about her background as a law graduate who previously was practicing law at a prestigious law firm in the United States. She says as a successful lawyer, she was respected by her partners, colleagues and junior associates at the Law firm. She was the envy of her colleagues, and was commonly referred to by her clients as a Classy bulldog.
But with all her achievements, the current activist Evon wasn’t satisfied with her life. She says “Until you step into what God has called you to do, there will always be a misalignment”. She reiterated that nothing should prevent us from achieving our dreams irrespective of external pressures.
While speaking on the purpose of the Pathfinders she shared following statistics;
- There are over 40 million people trapped in human trafficking. More people are currently enslaved than ever before.
- Sex trafficking is a 150 billion dollar industry in the world, third most profiting industry after drugs and arms.
- Nigeria ranks 32nd playing in this space, and has more than 1.3 million sex slaves within the country.
“We must look within and know the lies we told ourselves. It’s only by debunking these lies we’d only emancipate from mental slavery.”
She pointed out that Nigerian girls embrace prostitution because they have believed the lie that their value as women is tied to their sexuality, and ability to provide sexual pleasure. And the solution to this, is for every Nigerian fighting actively in their own way to remove the price tags of our girls and convincing their impoverished mothers of the importance of their daughters in schools.
Her two experiences on a flight and in a market in Italy was saddening considering the perception people have about girls from Edo state. 80% of homes in Edo state are affiliated to human and sex trafficking. Statistics showed that 2000 Nigerian girls are trafficked daily” she exclaimed.
She narrated the story of a recent victim who died recently of kidney failure in 2016, born and bred in Edo. “The unfortunate lady was trafficked to Libya as a young uneducated girl. She was sold and indebted to her madam for over 5 years to the tune of 50,000 dollars.”
“Our women must moved from poverty reduction to wealth creation. The lie THIS IS NIGERIA, EVERYBODY IS A CRIMINAL has to be untold”
“Political will is created by the people attacking the system that has ruined rather than build them.” Mrs Evon concluded by saying “Your voice will never count if they are not heard. Your intention will never be known if they are not expressed. Let’s commit to creating the change by using our social media platforms. Will you say something and speak up for the oppressed? Every minute we waste, someone dies!. We must debunk the lies by speaking up.
Finally, “If we listen closely we will hear the voice of our children crying “Free People! Free people!”