Tobore Ovuorie and Kassim Mohamed visited ZAM

In the aftermath of a seminar about African investigative journalism held in Amsterdam, Tobore Ovuorie and Kassim Mohamed visited ZAM. Both are acclaimed for their daring work and we were in awe listening to Kassim about his undercover work amid armed gangs in Nairobi and his investigation into the smuggling of small arms in the East African region. The world was outraged and saddened by the terrorist attack on the Nairobi Westgate shopping mall last year, but how did the arms enter Kenya? Check Mohamed’s work on this here and here.

Tobore Ovuorie is still recovering from trauma after her undercover work in human traffic circles in Nigeria took a turn for the unexpected worst. Prepared to be shipped off for sex work in Europe, Ovuorie found out that the criminals in charge of the human smuggling had merged with organ trade syndicates and witnessed how two young migrants were killed in front of her. She has been plagued by nightmares and other depressive symptoms since. She told us she is now off to receive therapy in a clinic in the USA, made possible through the assistance of various journalism support organisations.

We want to thank all who have come together to support Tobore after her ordeal, but we also want to repeat what Tobore herself told us in conclusion: “This story was important. I would even do something like this again, if it would mean that international human traffic strategies can be reconsidered. Sex work should be allowed and sex workers should be able to travel legally. It is the only way they can be kept out of the clutches of ruthless organised crime.” We stand in silent respect at her courage and determination and wish her a speedy recovery. Find the link to Tobore Ovuorie's undercover report here.

Evelyn Groenink