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Voicing out their Voice

A survivor's insight into the launch of survivor leader Shivanah's Africa Nalia.

26th of June 2021 marked the breakthrough of voicing out what has been hidden behind fear and misinterpretation. When a survivor is heard, it means the whole community will be sharing in the pain, the bad experiences, embracing them back, and ready to love and protect them eventually. Africa Nalia's launch was breathtaking and a breakthrough not only for talent but for the silenced victims to get hope of someday being free just like everyone else.

My name is Cleopatra, and I am a survivor of sex trafficking; and it took me years to accept it. I have lived in denial, constantly beating myself up, feeling like I should have stopped it from happening; after success, I only wanted to achieve my dream of becoming a world-class model, which only landed me being trafficked. More than three years later, and I can't even talk about it without breaking down. I was so young and naive, I trusted everyone and everything, but I had to get reasons why I should fear this world with everything in it.

My trafficking experience, however, led me to meet amazing people who, time and time again, have proven to me that humanity is still intact. I currently work with a non-governmental organization named Azadi Kenya, which means freedom, a term that, as a survivor, I treasure more every day. Led by a woman is evident that we thrive by pulling other women up.

Azadi Kenya is amongst the reasons, so many of us have smiles on and hope as survivors. It works on empowering survivors economically after getting their professional psychological assistance because we believe survivors are still vulnerable to trafficking if they're not stable enough to take care of themselves. It is also the reason I got the opportunity to attend the launch of Africa Nalia, music that not only brings out dancing moves out of you but talks about how much we as Africans are prone to trafficking but there's still hope because at the end of it we still have hope of getting free.

The launch was such a success that the location flooded with people from different walks of life, not just survivors. Exposure to respect people's decisions with what they decide to do with their lives and understand what it takes to be them is just artwork.

Shivanah, the Africa Nalia artist, is an epitome of beauty both inwards and outwards. She is strong, and nothing can break her most, especially her angelic voice. A great ambassador of speaking on behalf of trafficking survivors unapologetically is something you want to agree with me will impact society positively, and things like victimization will go low if not end ultimately.

She is a hope to so many people out there craving and dreaming of having a life after getting their freedom back. It is only a matter of time, just like a ticking time bomb, and we will have survivors in every profession with their shoulders held high.

Africa Nalia's video launch was something that marked the beginning of survivors being heard. The beginning of people understanding that human trafficking is so real and practised every day, even at this age.

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