Nigerian immigrant escapes modern-day slavery in KC, returns home

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Enslaved and abused in the United States since 2005, a Nigerian man will return to his native country on Thursday. Afolabi Idowu has been seeking refuge at Kansas City Rescue Mission since January.

Idowu was taken to the Kansas City Rescue Mission by police who intervened when a neighbor reported they had seen him beaten with a garden hose, forced to do manual labor, deprived of food and water and made to sleep in the garage. Idowu, who speaks very little English and suffers from moderate hearing loss and a developmental delay, had been victimized and passed around to various homes since the disappearance of his step-brother who brought him to the US. Many of the homes involved in this "slave trade" were abusive.

Vivica Snype, a case manager at KCRM, found Idowu's visa had expired and he had no way to call his family in Nigeria. Snype contacted the Refugee Resettlement department at Jewish Vocational Services who provided an interpreter and partnered with Snype to help Idowu get his papers in order. After Immigration Services denied the request for an emergency travel permit, Snype contacted the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C., and the Nigerian Consul in Atlanta, Georgia, and was able to get an emergency travel permit approved. Idowu's family was also contacted and they paid for his plane ticket home.

"I was so concerned Idowu would be further victimized if we couldn't get him out of the country," said Snype. "I knew we didn't have much time to pull things together for him."

With only a one-week window for travel, KCRM staff worked quickly to get Idowu a new hearing aid (provided at no cost by the health department) and luggage to pack his few belongings for the journey home.

Kansas City Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered community offering freedom and hope to the poor and homeless, empowering them to reach their full potential.

[Press Release]

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