Why I’m racing my bike from Otago to Wellington

This year on April 1st I’ll be on the start line of the 2017 Tour of New Zealand. It’s an 8-stage road race that travels up through the South Island of New Zealand, finishing in Wellington. I’ll be one of 20 teammates from my cycling team (Team Arise Cycling) joining about 400 riders in this event. Over the last year or so, I’ve put hundreds of hours and thousands of kilometres into preparing for this event.

Team Arise has entered for two reasons. Firstly, we love riding our bikes, and this will be an epic race through some of the greatest landscapes in the world with our mates. That’s enough reason in itself, but we also saw a chance to turn our love for cycling into an opportunity to make a real and lasting impact in the world around us. As part of our Tour of New Zealand campaign we have partnered with Tearfund, an internationally respected aid and development organisation, and are committed to raising as much money as we can to assist them in their fight against Human Trafficking and Exploitation.

I was shocked to discover that there are more people trapped in forced labour and forced sexual exploitation, AKA slavery, than at any time in human history. Here are some numbers – they are depressing.

  • Today, 21 million people are slaves.
  • 4.5 million of them (the population of New Zealand) are in forced sexual exploitation.
  • About 98% are women and children.
  • The annual profit of human trafficking and slavery is estimated at US$150 billion
  • Only 1-2% of victims will be rescued.
  • The average age of a trafficked child is 12 years old.

Tearfund undertakes work to:

  • Prevent women and children in vulnerable areas from being trafficked
  • Rescue victims of trafficking
  • Prosecute traffickers
  • Provide aftercare for trafficked people
  • Help to rehabilitate survivors and reintegrate them back into their chosen communities.

Human Trafficking and Exploitation is a massive and growing problem, and me riding my bike through the South Island won’t fix it, but I’m hoping you’ll seize the opportunity to get on board with me as I try and make a contribution to combatting this issue. If you give, here’s what it could do.

  • $50- Prevention and protection of one girl from being trafficked
  • $100- Care package given to a victim upon rescue
  • $500- Prevention education for 10 girls protecting them from the tricks of the traffickers
  • $2,000- Aftercare and social work costs of one rescued victim
  • $3,000 – HIV treatment for infected trafficked girls
  • $5,000- goes towards resourcing a brothel raid proving covert equipment for eight Police investigators to successfully carry out a raid and free girls from brothels
  • $7,000- The cost of training 100 at-risk girls in financial literacy and micro business

We know on average that for every year a trafficker spends in prison 24 people are prevented from being trafficked. They are usually locked away for around 8 years, so that’s 192 people. Even better are the people set free in each operation. Hundreds of people can be freed, or kept free thanks to the contributions we make.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I’ll have a week away with some of my best mates, doing what I love, riding alongside the Southern Alps, over the Crown Range, through Lindis Pass. I’ll visit Lake Tekapo, Methven, the Rakaia River, the Lewis Pass and the inner Marlborough Sounds. Just don’t ask me about it though. I won’t see any of it. I’ll be bleeding from my eyeballs and my heartrate will be at about 95% of threshold.

Please don’t feel any obligation – I do mean that sincerely, but I would love for you to join me in this and give something towards my fundraising goal. I’m ambitious about how much I want to raise because I’m convinced of the worthiness of the cause. If you do give, it’s totally up to you how much. You can do it online and anonymously if you wish – I’ll be super grateful for anything at all.

Thanks so much for reading this far, I’ll leave you with this….

This is just the start of the Crown Range Road between Queenstown and Wanaka. 10.8 kilometers at 6% average gradient. 684 vertical meters. It’ll be like a having a knife fight with a dwarf in a phone box, for about an hour, while being forced to hold my breath.

It’ll probably hurt your bank account a bit if you give to this cause – but it won’t hurt that much.

Thanks!

Give here: https://tonztearfund.everydayhero.com/nz/tour-of-new-zealand-2017

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