City Desk

Slavery in Our Own Backyard: The Omilara Aribisala Story

For this week's Cheap Seats I wrote about Omilara Aribisala of the D.C. Divas. Her story is unlike any I've ever encountered in my years of typing.

I'd never talked to a former slave before.

In 1986, Aribisala was brought to America from her native Nigeria as a 12 year old. She spent the next eight years as an unpaid laborer for a family of Nigerians living in Prince George's County.

Human trafficking experts I talked to for the story say these forced laborer cases are found in immigrant communities all across the country; slavery is alive and well in America.

Aribisala, "Lara" to her friends, escaped when she was 20 years old, with the help of an ad hoc underground railroad of neighbors and strangers.

She was at last able to start chasing the life that her captors promised her parents when they lured her here as a child.

Aribisala didn't get back to Nigeria or see her parents again until she was 35 years old.

She admits still having scars from all the fear and physical abuse she lived through before gaining her freedom in the early 1990s.

But the pain and wounds are not obvious at all. Friends and Divas teammates describe Aribisala as the happiest person they've ever met.

Read her story and tell me there's not a movie there. Aribisala is already living the happy ending. She says she's found the American Dream.

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  • IMGoph

    overall, it's a very uplifting story. gives you hope in humanity. great job, dave.

  • gina a

    Yes, another great article Dave. I think it would make a great movie-

  • seDCdude

    Yeah, it's an OK story but this is in no, way, shape or form SLAVERY as defined or experienced by the middle passage, sugar crops, the cotton gin and/or the Transatlantic Slave Trade!!!

    It would behoove you WCP journalists to use another term to describe this chick's light, because SLAVERY ain't it!

    What bothers me even more is the fact that in this day and age of MISANDRY, this story gets attention based on what exactly, considering Dave McKenna's previous story where this crap is only RELEVANT if "stamped" by WHITE reporters!!

    Adrian Peterson stated that the NFL was modern day slavery, which I concur with, but somehow in comparison to this young lady's WESTERNIZED upbringing is marginalized, PLEASE!

    She gets no sympathy from me because it's Nigerian's culture to do and treat her just as she was and is.....but now she's had her OON FOO FOO moment, she now wants "half" so to speak!

    Tough times we are living in when the irrelevant are RELEVANT!

  • Typical DC BS

    Adrian Peterson is a SLAVE? What world do you live in seDCdude? That's got to be one of the stupidest things I've read on the CityPaper blog, and that's saying something.

    Adrian Peterson can go work at Popeye's, cause that's all he's qualified to do other than run with a football in tights.

  • seDCdude


    is that all you could come up with, n*gga please!