Olympia human trafficking survivor urges assistance in Nigeria


by Heather Graf

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherGrafK5


Posted on May 5, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 6 at 9:02 AM

The abduction of hundreds of young girls in Nigeria is hitting home for an Olympia woman.  Rani Hong was kidnapped and sold into slavery at the age of seven.

"I was just a piece of property, to be used, to make money off, and to be sold over and over again," she said.  "When a child is used as a commodity and sold into slavery, everything about them is ripped away."

That's why what's currently happening in Nigeria breaks her heart.

On Monday, a Nigerian extremist leader claimed responsibility for the April 15th mass abduction.  Nigerian Police have said more than 300 girls were abducted from a school in the remote northeast section of the country.  Only 53 managed to escape.

"I want to urge the international community to come and rescue these girls," said Hong.  "Put pressure on the government to do something.  We simply cannot sit back and say oh, they're just girls, little girls being sold.  We cannot stand for that."

Hong is using the connections she's made through her nonprofit called The Tronie Foundation to try to draw attention to the Nigerian abductions.  The organization seeks to end slavery and human trafficking.

Hong has served as a special advisor to the United Nations' global initiative to fight human trafficking.  She says she spent much of Monday on the phone, urging people in positions of power to take action.

"The United States has a huge voice in the international community," she said.  "I want answers on what's being done to protect and rescue 276 girls from Nigeria."

She's also supporting the social campaign #bringbackourgirls, which is now trending globally on twitter.

She says that's the best way people in Western Washington and across the country can show their support.

Hong also stresses that human trafficking can happen anywhere, even here at home.