2024 Blog

Finding Hope

Greetings from the West Coast! We’re now entering week four, and I’ve heard the phrase “notice what makes you weep” several times. Many folks (including myself) enter the fight against sex trafficking on a wave of sadness. A natural outpour of empathy after hearing victim and survivors stories.

I find myself thinking “how do so many people overlook a justice issue of this magnitude?” And “how to we live in a world that creates a demand for this $150 billion industry?”

But I’ve also found hope in our interactions on the ride, much like “relentless hope” that our beneficiary Safety Compass extends to survivors. I first find hope through our host families, offering all they have to support our ride and its cause. They share their homes and their hearts. They are quick to listen, to encourage. They champion us so that we can champion our beneficiaries.

I also find hope in conversations with strangers who are ready to learn, to donate ice, to comp a meal, to give some cash, to follow our journey on social media, to direct traffic on our behalf. Just today we were stopped by a stranger who didn’t realize trafficking happened in his small town of Humboldt County. It gave us a unique opportunity to tell him about an anti-trafficking walk we attended the day before just 20 miles north, with six survivors in attendance. He left in a state of surprise with our business card in tow.

I find hope in our beneficiaries. In the work they’re doing. NCMEC’s work will never fail to impress me. Their prevention and crisis measures are invaluable. They’ve encouraged us along the way with videos and cards from staff, many of which are survivors themselves. We had the amazing opportunity to meet with REST in Seattle to learn about their survivor-informed and culturally sensitive care. Then in Newport we spent three hours chatting with Safety Compass. They offer an open door for survivors to take the first steps of the healing process. In our conversation I discovered that they have on average a four hour turnover rate from survivor arrival at their center to a next step. I learned a lot about persistency through their determined efforts. I look forward to meeting with Rising Worldwide in the coming weeks too!

I find hope through survivors we’ve met along the way too. Their resilience and heart for the anti-trafficking movement moves me. Their voices are valuable, and I feel incredibly honored to have had access to their stories. I ride for them.

July 12, 2024
Chloe Aguilar

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