WASHINGTON, D.C., USA. Thursday, June 15th 2023 was a super important day for us, as our Executive Director, Ms. R. Evon Benson-Idahosa was honoured by the U.S. government as a 2023 Trafficking in Persons Report ‘Hero,’ alongside 7 other heroes selected from 181 countries and territories.
Since 2001, the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report) has been published by the U.S. Department of State and evaluates the initiatives taken by foreign governments to reduce the incidents of human trafficking in their respective countries. Each year, alongside the launch of the TIP Report in Washington, D.C., the State Department honours individuals from all around the world who have dedicated their lives to the fight against human trafficking by awarding them the ‘TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery Award.’ Until now, this honour has been given to just more than 110 people. Not only was our Executive Director selected as 1 of the 8 2023 global honorees, she was also the only African and Nigerian activist chosen this year. She is also only the third Nigerian activist to receive the award since its inception in 2001.
At the 2023 TIP Report Launch and Award ceremony hosted by U.S. Secretary Blinken on Thursday, Ms. Benson-Idahosa was appointed to give the keynote address on behalf of her fellow honourees. In her speech, she urged world leaders to do for others what they do for themselves. She also used the moment to centre the voices of survivors who are often overlooked. And on a micro level, she challenged everyone to commit to doing the small, daily actions that exemplify love: offering a cup of water to the thirsty, taking only that which we need; abandoning intellectual dishonesty that denies our own complicity in injustice; doing something daily to ease the suffering of another; choosing kindness over indifference and the collective good over individual advancement.
Not only does the award affirm the work we do every day to create a more equitable society for women and girls, it also affirms the brave women we partner with by signifying the fact that their lives matter and that their worth cannot be negotiated. The award further reminds us of the one thing that you’re most proud of- the fact that we have, to date, served 3000+ women and girls who are now on a path to sustainable, economic independence. To watch Ms. Benson-Idahosa’s full remarks at the award ceremony, click here: https://www.youtube.com/live/nSbX-q5kaew?feature=share&t=4250.
For more information on the TIP Heroes, click here: http://www.tipheroes.org/about/.
Some photographs courtesy of the U.S. State Department and CNN.