We are in the process of upgrading software and the SDN website will be temporarily unavailable for a few hours on Monday morning EST. Once the software is upgraded, this notice will no longer appear and the site will be back to normal. We apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Image 1 of 12

From the Shadows of Human Trafficking to an Activist

Anna Kuokkanen | Finland

Itohan Okundaye with her son at reception centre in Helsinki in 2014.

Itohan Okundaye has worked since the age of 12. When she was offered work in Europe, she decided to seize the opportunity, even though she knew it might lead to prostitution. At least she would be able to make money and help her siblings to stay at school.

Arriving in Italy, Okundaye was told that she owed a human trafficker EUR 40 000 for the travel arrangements. The only work available was prostitution.

After several years, Okundaye managed to break loose from prostitution. She was pregnant. She left Italy, arrived in Finland, and applied for asylum.

Okundaye’s asylum process was long and eventful. However, she refused to give up. She wanted to raise awareness of human trafficking in Finland and raise funds for young women’s education in Nigeria. She wanted to give others the opportunities that she never had.

Since then, she has put herself at stake to share her experiences and raise awareness of human trafficking. She wants to inspire people with her story, do something meaningful and take back the years— basically her entire youth— spent as a victim of human trafficking.

Anna Kuokkanen is a Helsinki based documentary photographer. Having a background in sociology, she takes interest particularly in societal issues such as social justice, migration and development co-operation. I have worked for various governmental and non-governmental organisations in Finland, Tanzania and Australia as well as Finnish press. Currently, she is working on her personal projects about the life of asylum seekers in Finland and the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.

Content loading...

Make Comment/View Comments