A group of 11 women are preparing for a ride of a lifetime. Traveling about 1,700 miles from Seattle to San Diego. It’s all a part of Pedal the Pacific an organization aimed at raising awareness against sex trafficking.
According to the Attorney General of Texas, there are about 79,000 minors sex trafficked in Texas at any given time.
Grace Pfeffer a co-founder of Pedal the Pacific said college aged women from all over the country apply. Saturday the girls went to Cycle East to train how to endure the long strenuous rides and preparing them for the long journey ahead.
" We are so un-athletic people have to say you are doing what? What are you doing and why are you doing it?” Pfeffer said. “They have to ask why and the more they ask why the more we get to talk about sex trafficking and the more we get to tell them about the hope that's found in the refuge."
Last year the group raised $150,000 that went towards Refuge Ranch, a non-profit that opened its doors in August to victims of sex trafficking. The ranch currently has four survivors undergoing long term healing treatment. Mary Mote, one of the participants this year, said girls helping girls is what it’s all about.
"Why not? Like if you can fight for those who cannot fight for themselves it's like why not do that?" Mote said. “Mentally I feel prepared but there’s a lot of physical training that will have to take place.”
Veterans of the program were present to mentor the women. Mattie Carranza said it was mentally and physically exhausting but if given the chance they'd do it all over again.
"It was one of the most hardest, most beautiful things I'll ever do in my life,” Carranza said. "Riding for them and knowing that we are girls riding for girls it was something that was far bigger than ourselves."
Each participant will be training for months, biking up to 60 miles a day till their big ride in June.
Audrey Fleenor’s biggest piece of advice was for the girls to lean on one another.
"You can do it it's hard and you'll want to quit sometimes but it is so worth it," Fleenor said.
The group hopes to raise at least $250,000 dollars. You can get more information by going to the group's website.