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Kenyan trafficking survivor, Sophie Otiende hopes to inspire in new global role

By Seth Emmanuel

Sophie Otiende, Director of Consulting with Survivor Alliance and US Trafficking in Persons Report Hero 2020, has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery.

Sophie defines herself as an advocate against all forms of inequality, a teacher, and survivor leader. Sophie has worked within the human trafficking field for a number of years revolutionizing the ways in which survivors are supported, protected, and involved within the counter-trafficking movement. She will continue to pursue this work as CEO at the Global Fund.

“I am thrilled and honored to be CEO of GFEMS. I view this as an opportunity to re-energize the anti-trafficking movement. As a survivor leader, I hope to bring fresh voices to this fight. We must get back to our roots. We are not here to fit in with the status quo. We are here to build a global fund and end modern slavery,” Sophie shared.

Having worked for many years with grassroots organisations in Kenya to support victims, Otiende has joined the board of directors at The Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS).

Launched in 2015, the public-private partnership seeks to end modern slavery by making it economically unprofitable.

Otiende was enslaved at 13 by an uncle who offered to look out for her when she joined a new school. Instead he forced her to work as a housemaid and she was sexually abused in his home.

After nine months of exploitation, Otiende’s mother took her home. She eventually finished her education before going on to university and volunteering with local NGOs during the holidays.

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