Bukola Oriola and Monica Habia

Recorded March 16, 2021 Archived March 12, 2021 45:10 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ddv000554


Monica Habia (30) talks to her friend and colleague Bukola Oriola (44) about Bukola's work in the anti-trafficking movement, Bukola's own history with labor trafficking, and her hopes for the anti-trafficking movement.

Subject Log / Time Code

Bukola (B) and Monica (M) talk about how they first met.
B says that as a child she wanted to be a newscaster. She studied mass communication in college.
B explains that she produced a tv show on human trafficking.
B shares that she is naturally strong and joyous; she says she gets it from her father and her faith.
B says that her mom has been her biggest influence.
B describes how she came to writing which she says is a way for her to get therapy.
B talks about her mentors in the anti-trafficking field. She says Alisa Santucci had a big impact on her career, helping B secure grant funding and build capacity to do anti-trafficking work in Minnesota.
B says her work feels like a divine assignment. She reflects on her own experience trying to get help for labor trafficking as an immigrant without status.
B explains what labor trafficking is.
B shares the biggest lesson she's learned: that there are a lot of fake people in the anti-trafficking field.
B says she is in the anti-trafficking movement to fight for the victims because she has been in their shoes. B shares that when she experienced labor trafficking, she almost committed suicide and says that if she died, her autopsy would just say suicide and it would not show how trafficking killed her. B says there are a lot of people who are said to have died from alcohol or drugs or suicide but it is really trafficking that killed them.
B describes some of her successes. She says success is when client gets all that they need to be able to get back on their feet.
B talks about receiving support from the consulate.
B speaks about the gaps in the labor trafficking field that need to be addressed.


  • Bukola Oriola
  • Monica Habia

Recording Location

Virtual Recording

Partnership Type

Fee for Service


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00:07 Hi, my name is Monica habia. I am 30 years old. Today's date is Tuesday, March 16th, 2021. I'm responding from Accra and Anna with my friend, bukola oriola.

00:22 Hello, my name is Carla original. I am 44 years old. This date is Tuesday, March 16th, 2020, 1 a.m. Recordings from Ramsey Minnesota, with my friend and colleague, Monica habia.

00:44 Okay. Bukola. Do you remember how we first met?

00:49 Yes, it wasn't 2016. Actually at the time. I had just been appointed to serve on the advisory Council on human trafficking and the African immigrant Services DJ post.

01:08 On Facebook and I got connected to them and came to the office and that was how

01:16 I met you.

01:18 Yes, I do very well. I don't know what happened before you came. I am thinking, I probably, I send emails with you and you came in to see died at a time. So I was like, what is the traffic in? So that was how I I, I

01:53 What are your hopes for the future? I know you're doing so many things right now, but was younger days of black-and-white TV. TV only came on from 4 p.m. To 10 p.m. Starts with the news and ends with the news. And I just admired the newscaster the way they

02:27 Say the words, the way they read the news was just fascinating to me as a kid and I desired becoming a newscaster. It won't do. I didn't know what the profession was cold. I just knew that that was something I wanted to do. And I went ahead to school when it was time for college and mass communication. I was able to learn about TV, production needs a newspaper. At the time. I got time. There was nothing like

03:10 Lieutenant.

03:13 Online news of stories, so

03:25 End up.

03:27 We did TV station, but I didn't. I ended up in the prince.

03:32 I know I seen the prince medium song.

03:36 Fix. Yes, fry came to the US.

03:43 Oh nice, that's that's good to know and I can see that you use that every day because you have a boys and also with your writing, is that correct?

04:06 Blessing, with the comedian, which was

04:12 I did time.

04:14 At first, it seemed hard, but when I really got into it and learned how to write. I was writing. So well.

04:26 People even back in Nigeria was thinking, I was a guy and some of my colleagues who were not at the escorted out station correspond.

04:39 When did meet with me, the girls? So yes, I mean, go and then it was about, you write like a game. Like, how does IT guy, right? I don't know because I'm free. That is a man profession.

05:00 You know, I'm not sure that we have a lot of females in the media industry as much as we do the Mills. So then I was working with a lot of guys sometimes I'm the only girl in the room with like texting guys covering the story or call me an assignment and I was lucky to have good colleagues who are also willing to help me and I think that was helpful and perhaps that was why people thought I was a guy. Yes. I couldn't do TV production.

05:47 Human trafficking has brought me to.

05:52 TV production. Because when I got here in the US, I was able to produce a TV show at the Public Access TV, where all the way to do like it's raining. Wake up at 6 on how to produce your own TV show. I did used to shoes 1 on Hair Braiding and one human trafficking awareness caught in prison show and its at the website in prison, but the human trafficking one. I continue to do more and more of it. And surprisingly the presentation was documented as one of President Obama's accomplishments.

06:43 In five people in trafficking, in 2018 was 2009.

06:50 It wasn't supposed to remember, what year it was documented, as one of President Obama's accomplishments when I interviewed his fellows who was sponsored by the US Department of State on the shoe.

07:09 Oh wow.

07:18 Your life from where you are right now. I'm kind of a sick kid.

07:32 I am not there yet. I'm still when I'm alright. When?

07:44 Shirley doing TV production.

07:58 Okay, and I'll be there. I'll be the first person to be eaten.

08:07 I agree to do this with me today.

08:23 Oh, you know, I can count on you for so many years old and I have tried and we have tried to keep in touch and I fully aware that you do. It's only fair that I can come on your Facebook so I can but I'm like, oh, I mean because I am always the happiest person start woman. Have you like for you to remember that woman in your life because I'm tired.

09:23 Thank you, a doctor.

09:44 That is just mean naturally. I got that strength.

09:53 My dad and my feet have to grow the strength to move to be able to cope when I'm sad. And yes, I do a human being with emotion and a festive time. You may not know because I carried so, well, I put out the good face and I made a crying infant.

10:28 So things done.

10:39 Sometimes, see people when I'm signed by a whining and complaining about the thing. I'm sorry about was still out and do the work of judicial. I do you make me your dad. I know you must feel. So I was going to ask, did you play a room, who is one of them? So I was just curious to know.

11:26 My mom was my friend, you know, I don't know. My mom and I had those.

11:36 Restaurant Barnes.

11:41 My mom tells me a lot of things.

11:45 Play me some things before. My dad knows I know.

11:50 My mom was also my confidence. I was always telling her everything happening to me, and I'll remember that when I went to college, my first semester. I was talking to someone who was a friend that I met with classmates. And one day, we went to see and I was like, wait, you know what?

12:16 I will ask my mom. Question when I get home and she was like,

12:24 Where you have to get them to go. Ask you a question for my dad's, you know, I think that I'm one of those of your children, YouTube.

12:44 Some traits from both parents.

12:49 Ink from Luke's to the behaviors and everything. So I think I got some of my mom and some of my time with my dad. I link my

13:03 Love for reading from him.

13:10 Before I started speaking. I will pretend to be reading with him. I guess I did time too, you know.

13:25 It didn't know that you could have even be reading books to me along with you and Riley. The first kinds of book. I started reading by myself that I was really interested in werewolves that I speak from his bookshelf. I just love to write and for me writing.

13:56 Eastmont, I'm something of a carrier. One of the ways that I get my own therapy where when I don't have access to lacenterra pissed by writing helps me to get therapy. So I found out that sometimes even when that publish books, I'm getting the installation or writing when I'm going through some not-so-good things going on in my personal life.

14:33 Has been very, very helpful to me.

14:39 Yeah. Wow. Well, that's that's really wonderful to know. I mean

15:03 On the traffic signs, right?

15:09 Trafficking signs. Are we stay?

15:17 Is hard on Charlie to Pig?

15:21 Call people, who are very, very, very supportive for a walk. Just one person that person will be at Lisa Santucci. He's someone I mix through the advisory Council and this was the first time I was also in like fistel face was in San Francisco. When we went for the comes to business called, you know, strategic planning and the Department of State at Hyatt, two people to walk with us at the time. It was the Lord of

16:18 19 and hard work and then Alyssa, she had on his wife stopped. And I was looking for some reason, my eyes contact check, like just right below. Ankle bone, another color area. And I want to see my mom, my, my birth mom.

16:49 You seem like I was looking at my mom and you know what? I looked at their. Look at my mom, then I look at the face in space.

17:13 Reaction going on, I'm feeling. And when it was time for lunch. I went to lunch with time, according to jumpstart IHOP on with them. She didn't know why I helped on with them to go to the laundry there. Cuz I went through this woman to see me because my mom is late 1990s when I was in college.

17:45 So, you know that Alyssa, I kind of got bonded to her. Finally, you know, the kind of shoes did was it called Regional trip to Minnesota? And at least now, you know, cause was here to help us when she came that was when there was a grand opportunity, when they ask questions about the Anita story, right?

18:25 Miss Grant proposal. So you can do the work, you have office because of the council members that came and a lease on a colleague and the promise of a visitor. Office near me some story office. So she said, you know, you just needs capacity and I will help you build capacity into the application. So you can you do you know this walk. I know what are we going to prance? I should walk with me for two years to implement. The project team. Me always have like, that, Dolly connection with me.

19:25 I never need to be paid, you know, you can always call mom because she look like my mom. I don't know why I am so grateful. I feel like

19:42 My mom came to me to Eliza to give me the strength and energy and it may interest you to know that traffic movement without salary.

19:58 David Gates.

20:07 Wow, wow. Wow. Wow, that's good.

20:23 Wow, I don't know what to say. But how how did you how do you stop this? Work buddies are going to be when I sync box. I respect on this walk. I do like it's a it's a Divine assignment. I know. So I know that.

21:08 Doing this work before I started this work. I made a covenant with God and the Covenant was when I was going through my experience of traffic team for two years.

21:23 When I started getting, help the process of getting help was very, very difficult, especially because I was an immigrant, and I didn't have time to Oz.

21:42 My student wasn't like, you know, straightforward story. You find a Girl by the hotel with an old man and then, you know, sex trafficking has happened. What's in my case. It was Labor trafficking and it was all so familiar labor trafficking. So that made you to be more complex of an issue. And I have two or three lifetimes refuse to take my case.

22:12 Musically.

22:15 Somebody took my kids and I remember that when no one was taking my kids. I prayed to God and so please do not let the truth, be known, Dino reveal the truth in this matter and give me help and I promise to help do that to my face to, my story, was to ride the book.

22:56 I need to create a book in prison. The travels of the traffic between

23:07 Then I learned about the TV station the public access, and I went to take the training and start approve using in prison. And I. I, I don't people contacting me for help. It won't some of my own client from Hair Braiding because I used to braid hair.

23:32 We're reaching out for help.

23:35 Where is the Weather Channel for help and connecting them to him and began to see some of the challenges? So I decided that to start an organization called the any songs, Tory. And anytime actually, is in name in My Tribe Beauty Box rain, and it means

24:04 Excuse me. Someone with the story.

24:08 Oh, yeah.

24:11 Wow, you know, what is the name of the advocate for those who do not have? That other organizations will not take because they don't have funding.

24:35 What does it for that specific? Thank you Eve. Do they have a happy Friday. You a victim of human trafficking?

24:56 Do you know why we trying to talk to a potential victims? Are we just cut them off?

25:04 And we don't want to solve them because we're not sure yet.

25:10 Rye Rye.

25:16 I have known you for some years. Now. I know the work you do. I know labor trafficking. I don't know why this what needs to be done this audio 2017 for the name and, like sex trafficking, this time around is just labeled. You are what somebody else is taking your money, but in reality

25:55 He doesn't come as a clean class and now you on the field law enforcement, you know, some of the organizations that looking for used to make news.

26:17 But most of the time, it is not clean clack, cause it takes time. And a lot of time to actually know that this person is a victim and this is what this person is going through. And we need to provide them with services.

26:43 Yeah.

26:47 It's a hard hard one. And I think also that is why we do not have as many statistics on labor trafficking, as we do sex trafficking and also, we do not have many services for labor trafficking as we do.

27:11 In the United States.

27:14 Do you talk about how you and you've been doing this for? How many years now? What what is a question I wanted to ask you. What is the greatest lesson that you have been enjoying this? What what what is the fake people?

27:52 In the anti-trafficking movement. A lot of thick, you know, what, the lack of a better word to use.

28:01 There are many people who smile at you, will smile with you, but they are just there. Many people walking with you, but they're actually not working with you. You know, that the greatest lesson I have learned. So I want that tells me is to continue to be my own self and continue to trust God to deliver my duties.

28:37 To save lives to continue to use this strength and energy surprises everyone. And the reality is that as much as my life is a surprise to people who are watching me. I am also surprised.

28:57 I don't get energy comes from all done, done. If it's not mine. I don't think I will be able to leave this world because it's a lot of work. And when you are doing a lot of work to find out that those who was supposed to or who I supposed to be collaborating with you will laugh with you, we eat with you. You're not really collaborate with you.

29:32 We isolate, you will, you know, it's just fake the greatest lesson that is just fixed. So I have to rely on how you want to be. Glad we bring whoever you want to bring at a certain time to help me deliver my beauty or the shed that I need to make sure that I trust only God to deliver Mike. And we bring, you know how we brought. It didn't come out to somebody to deliver message.

30:08 Boston, I need at the time.

30:13 I need it. And once I used to always say that.

30:41 I'm kind of unique in doing this job. I didn't come into this field for the salary of the previous salary, to pay your mortgage to pay the car, note to go on vacation and stuff like that. That is why we are in the movement, but that is no. I mean the movement and I swear I could do the work for 9 years without salary.

31:11 Unable to. Now I see how these same conversation with acclaimed.

31:18 Just yesterday. Love prevention, you advocating for you. It's not paid. I don't have any grants specifically to starve you. What that we not make me to start studying you because we're not starving because of money, we are starving because we are writing for those who have been victimized. I want those shoes when I remember how I almost committed suicide. And if I had died, I thought they were just a suicide suicide list.

31:56 Did we not sex trafficking? Kills me?

32:00 Do you know how many people have died as a result of trafficking and they blame me to drunk or suicide. Keeps helping my boots on my vehicle to keep moving? I know. So when I remembered my fragile child.

32:22 I almost lost to.

32:27 Yeah, I got to continue even when I'm so weak.

32:33 Active Green and eyes widen.

32:37 I Rely heavily on God to give me the strength.

32:44 Yeah.

32:45 So, I mean it's it's it's the one asked me like Monica. So, you know, where you at point of town, so, I know you just doing errands and I didn't but we have to talk to celebrate.

33:15 Do we do? We do differently?

33:29 For me, I know for the public. What do we see? Our sources is what on the outside looks glorifying Army. He's working with the complaint.

33:49 To the point where they get all the teams. They need to stand on their feet.

33:55 Faucet, are we reference here is?

34:01 Representing and claim all the way in Colorado and I'm here in Minnesota.

34:10 Who was going through the court system?

34:15 You know, it was a tough battle and at the time also where I wasn't, there was no salary and I say small tiny organization. Sometimes the things we have to do to get the work. Done is crazy. So I remember that, at the time we did, we didn't talk fast machine with you. Do a fast machine. So if you want to go to, like feathers too fat and I got time for, this was what I did. I went to my local church. First of all, I wrote a letter to the court, and I went to my local church and they sent me to print out my liquor.

35:05 Then luckily, there was a Community Bank, Anoka Hennepin Credit Union at the time and their marketing manager was a very nice man to me. He was just interested in helping organization to add a run to him. I said, please, I need your help. It's not money. I need the money. I need today is for you guys to help me fax this thing to Colorado today because there's a court hearing at 1 p.m.

35:40 I'm the guy just called to one of his Tabitha, please. Can you help out with this this thing right away and the stuff said yes, and that's it doesn't change the outcome.

35:57 Wow, I was so happy. They claimed was released and she started guessing services and today. She's doing well. And you know, I went to Colorado for cancel business.

36:15 Was it 2 years ago, 3 years ago? And that was the first time. Are we meeting this lady face-to-face? She was leaving, was far away from Colorado from Denver, but she drove to Denver with a friend. Oh, my, goodness. The whole she gave me. We were both crying because that was

36:47 It case.

36:51 I don't believe that it was a miracle.

36:56 And she brought me a gift a handbag. If I was scared to ask her how much she paid for that? It will. When I brought it home. I was planning to take it to a playground for them to actually make acrylic paint to put it in the act like this, so that I can as a testimonial because it will, when I brought it back home, my son, my young son was like, wow, I'm wasted you pick for this, but I said, well, it was a gift for my client and he said it looks really expensive like the back of a celebrated.

37:56 I want to talk. So I feel it must have cost a lot of money and I am not.

38:07 What's the enough to be? Just turning their back? And you anyhow, I think that is a bag of Hope.

38:22 Call Rocks. I mean, I wouldn't think so, too. I would do it. There's a saying that the massage.

39:11 You know.

39:14 I'm grateful. I took my story back home. And yeah, just like it said in my vagina is not easy, losing their home town, but luckily for me because I go to u.s. Consulate in Vault the US government in Nigeria because I go there and go to Boxing Day really, really

39:42 Midnight Green Room, very rewarding. It was unbelievably successful in a week. I reached over 25 million people drivers in love because they invited the local media, the national and international media, you know, almost every day. I was grunting. Media interviews, interviews. I couldn't plans because I had to come back to the US. So are we saying that I'm really grateful for that trip and also, for the US Consulate? Public affairs office in Lagos and they're making it a sausage. I know it'd be the advisor. We have for other survivors willing to take their story to their home country.

40:39 Connect closely and let them give you the support. Wendy consulate, support you the other people including the government of your country weeks. We supplied by fuss.

40:55 So. That was that was very very helpful, and I'm really grateful for it.

41:04 Okay, so a few minutes before I ask a question. I'm posing to be in my heart. I tell you. No questions asked.

41:20 That's amazing. I am Joe, Biden. You know who Joe Biden? Is Joe Biden? Call meeting.

41:35 How about the guy in the world that you want to be safe ASAP? President? What does he say? Your mother?

41:54 Please. I beg you with my papa and my mama said in the law when it comes with Deborah and sex trafficking, please, first of all, you do not need to prove false of coercion. If you're experiencing labor trafficking, you have to prove fraud first equation. That is don't say that needs to be changed. Another is dumb.

42:36 Most of the time with things that only foreign Nationals and even when I say, stop falling National document from people who said they were fighting for victims and survivors calling on a national illegal alien or illegal immigrants.

42:59 You know, the only affect foreign Nationals is also affect us born citizen. So we need treats, everybody equally. We need to treat everybody with dignity and provide services to every one of them soon. I'm begging you to, please your insurance to labor trafficking as you do of Labor trafficking.

43:40 Find Services. I know that right now. The service is actually being funded for labor trafficking is provided mostly by the federal government. So, the next step for that, I would like the federal government. Do. We be to encourage estate partners?

44:01 Provide money to phone labor trafficking.

44:08 Oh, man.

44:15 Remember at 4, I mean, of course, that's always the last question that I want to hear from you. How would you like to do?

44:50 Creative ability. Yes. Thank you. Thank you. I love you too. To do this with you and thank you. Thank you so much. I'm really, really great.

45:07 You're welcome, anytime.