Ryan Russell wrote -
The Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic...An annual two day cycling event where 10,000 crazy people trade in a perfectly good relaxing weekend to put on awkward spandex suits and furiously pedal their bikes on a never ending jaunt from one city to another. Yep - that's what my fearless team is doing this coming July. And while it's acceptable to do this ride for the pure joy of feeling awesome and potentially making it to Portand for the beer festival on the second day, we actually have a greater purpose in mind.
The team consists of 4 incredibly strong & dedicated men - Kyle, Grant, Deven & Ryan – who have recently become aware of a crime that can't go unnoticed any longer.
This is a grassroots effort by our Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic riding team to raise funds & awareness about one of the most terrible crimes that exists on the planet today – Sex Trafficking. In case you aren’t aware (and I was pretty much oblivious to this until recently), Sex Trafficking by definition is a modern-day form of slavery, in which victims are recruited, harbored, transported, or obtained for the purpose of a commercial sex act through force, fraud, coercion, etc. If it’s still not clear, I am basically saying that little girls and boys are being stolen, held captive, and forced to have sex with people that are willing to pay for it.
The first time I was asked if I knew what sex trafficking was, I wrote it off as something that happens in other countries, especially the third world. But this isn’t the whole truth, because I am now aware that this is huge domestic problem. It’s estimated that around 300,000 children suffer from this real form of modern day slavery at the hands of captors and abusers in the United States.
Those are the basic facts, but I want to make this real now. This is a domestic problem, but you have realize that this stuff is happening in our own backyards – along Interstate 5. Young people are literally being held captive, traded, and sexually & physically abused along the major freeway that connects the cities we know best – Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, & San Diego. It’s happening right in front of us – at gas stations & rest stops off I-5 exits, specific types of business & homes that are disguised to be “normal”, and through Craigslist, to name a few – but we are pretty much oblivious to it. It’s sick. It’s crazy. But it’s real.
With all this in mind, what I’m asking for is your support in two ways:
1. Help me raise funds to support a Sacramento-based nonprofit called RUN FOR COURAGE which specifically seeks to raise awareness in men and women of this crime and shed more light on the darkness around this issue. The money you provide will go directly to safe houses that exist in the Sacramento area that are intentional about pulling known victims out of the slavery they are in and helping to rebuild & restore their lives.
2. Be aware of the issue, talk about it with people, get involved, and know the signs of identifying potential issues in your city & neighborhood. For more in depth related information, check out RunforCourage.org
I know what you’re thinking… “I don’t feel like filling out a payment form right now – I’m busy stalking people on facebook.” Or maybe, “Other people will give money, so it’s cool if I just skip out on giving.” Or maybe, “I could probably give 5 bucks, but that’s actually worth a #2 meal at In-n-Out and that's more important.”
Here’s the deal – if you took a few minutes right now to give $5, $10, $25, $50, or whatever (feel free to add multiple zeroes on the end of any amount) and so did everyone else? Not only would you most likely eat at In-N-Out for dinner regardless, but you would be donating to one of the biggest and most invisible problems in the west coast of the USA. But it takes everyone to give that small amount. So we need you to jump in.