Nigerian Investigative Journalist, Tobore Ovuorie, has been announced the seventh laureate of the Freedom of Speech Award 2021 by Deutsche Welle, Germany.
The award honors journalists’ outstanding commitment to human rights and particularly, freedom of expression in the media.
“I am so honored that my work has been recognized in this way by DW. It means so much to me that the work I am so committed to gives a voice to women without a voice and speaks to others as well.
“I hope that this recognition of my work can serve as an inspiration for girls and women to be more, especially to follow the path of research in journalism,” said Ovuorie upon receiving the award.
After years of research, journalist Tobore Ovuorie went undercover, posing as a would-be sex worker in the human trafficking mafia in Nigeria – a multi-billion dollar business that spans countries and continents.
During her life-threatening research, she witnessed illegal monetary transactions, corruption, violence, abuse and even murder.
Ovuorie has worked as an investigative journalist for leading publications in Nigeria for about ten years. In 2014, her most renowned investigative report to date was published.
The widespread human trafficking ring uncovered by Ovuorie was involved in transnational sex trafficking, as well as organ trafficking.
Following the journalist’s revelations, Nigeria’s authorities launched criminal investigations into those behind it.
In 2016, she published the book “I am not to be sold” as part of the Media Initiative Against Human trafficking and Women’s Rights Abuse (MIAHWRA) for children and youth to educate them about human trafficking and prevent them from becoming victims.
Ovuorie’s research served as a blueprint for the Netflix film “Òlòturé” which follows a young Nigerian journalist who works undercover to expose the dangerous parallel world of human trafficking.
Since 1953, DW has been providing people around the world with access to news and information in numerous languages, promoting dialogue between cultures and communicating democratic values.
DW has been underlining these values since 2015 with its annual Freedom of Speech Award.
The first award winner was Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who is still imprisoned today. In 2016, Sedat Ergin, former editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Hürriyet, received the award.
The following year, the award went to the US-based White House Correspondents’ Association, and in 2018 to Iranian political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam.
In 2019, Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández was honored, and in 2020 the prize was awarded to 17 journalists from 14 countries, representing media professionals worldwide who have disappeared, been arrested or threatened as a result of their reporting on the Corona crisis.