In the last several weeks, the plight of over 200 girls and young women kidnapped in Nigeria has gained much needed international attention. Stolen from their school by armed terrorists, they are now being used as pawns to further the interests of the terrorist organization Boko Haram. Statements by one of Boko Haram's leaders indicate intentions to sell the girls as a commodity, or trade their freedom for the release of imprisoned members of their group. The boldness with which this leader has spoken regarding these plans may have helped increase the strength of the international outcry for more aggressive movements to find and free these girls. #BringBackOurGirls is now trending globally on multiple social media outlets. Despite this attention, the fact remains that one month after their kidnapping, the location of these young women is still not known. Their families still grieve their absence. Their fear and uncertainty is new every morning.
These current events call to mind my own past nightmare of being kidnapped from a school in India and sold into slavery by a child broker. In those days, Twitter and Facebook did not exist. When my mother came to visit me and found me missing, there were no major media outlets clamoring for something to be done. My family was left to their own limited resources to search for me, all to no avail. Two decades passed before we would be reunited, through a remarkable series of events. This is why I am passionate about not just the plight of these Nigerian young women, but about fighting the travesty of human slavery that still thrives worldwide today. I am passionate about educating others about the crimes that usually take place under the radar of all media scrutiny. I am passionate about educating at-risk children and families to prevent their potential victimization.
There is consistent evidence that educating girls brings reams of positive outcomes in a community, from economic well being to overall stability. In as much sense as can be found in a situation like that of these Nigerian girls, the fact that educated girls were targeted makes perfect sense from a terrorist's point of view. Terrorists know that educating girls and women is a tremendous threat to their power.
For these reasons and a host of others, I will continue to do everything possible through the Tronie Foundation to promote the education of girls worldwide, and fight against human slavery. These bright, brave girls and young women from Nigeria have been shining examples within their communities of the belief that their education is important. My plea is that the world not let their courage be in vain. That all those with the power to bring them home would work together to accomplish this swiftly, and bring equally swift justice to those responsible. It is long past time that terrorists understand not only that the world is watching, but the world is taking action.