SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. – (March 8, 2018) – Bukola Oriola has been an advocate for human trafficked survivors for many years in the North Metro area and all across the country. Her non-profit, The Enitan Story recently received one of the first grants in the state to specifically help survivors of labor trafficking.
“It is something that is deep to my heart,” she said.
As a survivor of human-trafficking, Oriola know firsthand the struggles survivors go through. That’s why five years ago, she started the Enitan Story.
“The Enitan Story is a survivor-lead non-profit organization, and the mission of the organization is to advocate for victims and to empower survivors of human-trafficking and domestic violence,” Oriola said.
Bukola has accomplished a lot in her years for survivors of human trafficking. The Enitan Story has reached a new milestone with a $155,000 grant the non-profit received from the Minnesota Department of Health.
“This grant is specifically targeted towards serving youth victims of labor trafficking, so if the person is age 21 and younger we will serve regardless of their sexual orientation, regardless of their citizenship, or regardless of their race, we’re going to serve them,” she said.
Oriola explained that labor trafficking is a kind of human trafficking that isn’t commonly talked about or isn’t easily identified.
“Those kinds of victims are not seen because there is no money being spent to even identify and this population sometimes don’t know that they are victims because they just think it’s normal pr they’re in a bad situation, they want to get out, they don’t know how to get out of what they’re going through,” she said.
This grant will allow the Enitan Story to do the research and work needed in identifying labor trafficked victims as well.
“We all know that without spending money to do the data, we can’t find the data, so this will help us to start finding that data to know that really there are victims who are labor trafficked victims in Minnesota, I was a labor traffic victim in Minnesota and I know for sure that there are more labor trafficked victims in Minnesota that we’re not identifying because we don’t have funding to be able to do the in depth community outreach,” Oriola explained.
With programs that focus on self empowerment, job and life skills, and even entrepreneurship, Oriola sees a lot for the pages of Enitan Story.
“I see Enitan Story as an organization that will continue to represent the voice of survivors, an organization that will be trauma informed and also the one that will be saying things with the lens of a survivor,” she said.
For Oriola, she knows he pages of the this story will support so many others who needed help just like her.
“For me, it’s about the survivors, it’s about the victims, It’s not about my personal issues or my personal feelings, or what I think, no,” she said. “This is about human beings and human lives and for me to be in that situation once before and saw what I experienced, I have to keep thinking about these people.”
Even though this chapter will provide the necessary support, she knows personally that the money is just the means to continue the story.
“The money is not my driving force, it’s the life, and the gratitude that I’m alive, and my child alive,” she said. ” That means a lot more than money.”
The Grant received by the Enitan Story lasts for two years, and can be reapplied for after each period. It allows the Enitan story to have a project director and two independent contractors to teach classes. Oriola operates community outreach.