These women are biking from Seattle to San Diego to raise awareness about sex trafficking in the U.S. via Pedal the Pacific. The 11 college students are spending their summer biking 40-50 miles down the Pacific coastline each day.
“People will ask us, like, well where are the guys on your team? And we’re like, there aren’t any guys on our team,” stated Lizzie Sammons. “We’re women fighting for other women.”
The girls’ goal is to raise $250,000 for the Refuge Ranch, a long-term care center in Austin, Texas for young sex trafficking survivors in the U.S. 79,000 minors and young adults have been sex trafficked in Texas, but Refuge Ranch has only 24 beds available for survivors to rehabilitate.
“There’s a huge deficit in care there,” stated, another rider named Kelly Coles. “Nowhere for all these victims to go. So we’re learning how to identify them, how to rescue them. But we have nowhere to put them right now except those 24 spots.”
This is the 2nd year of Pedal the Pacific. The organization was started by three women with no cycling experience who raised $60,000 for the ranch last year and decided to keep momentum going. The bikers also hope to start a dialogue as they ride. And though they consider themselves “hilariously un-athletic” they have found the experience empowering.