Advocates come together for motorcycle ride against human trafficking
STURGIS, S.D. — Several organizations came together Wednesday to raise awareness and encourage others to fight human trafficking at the “FAST Ride” in Sturgis. FAST stands for “fighting against sex trafficking.”
It’s estimated that 100,000 individuals are trafficked each year in the U.S. Most victims are women and even children.
Fighting Against Trafficking, the Epik Project and Ride My Road came together to set up the ride. The organizations host events all over the country to bring awareness to what they call modern-day slavery.
“You know as motorcyclists we hear so much about freedom and I think it’s unique for us to remember that there are still people living in slavery today. We need to use our passions for a purpose to make a difference and that’s what we’re doing here today,” said Lauren Trantham, the executive director of Ride My Road.
Participants said it’s important to ride during Sturgis not only because it’s one of the largest rallies in the country, but also because large events typically draw traffickers.
“One of the things that I think is most important for people to understand is that trafficking doesn’t happen because of events like Sturgis — it happens wherever large groups of people gather,” said Tom Perez, founder of the Epik Project.
Bikers rode over 100 miles to be a voice for those who are afraid to speak up. Over 30 men and women participated in the ride.
“It’s been a privilege of mine to be here today, with everyone, with all of these bikers, and seeing the support coming from the community is a big deal for me and other survivors that haven’t been able to come over for whatever reason,” said Sally Richardson, a survivor of human trafficking and founder of Fighting Against Human Trafficking.