Batting to stop human trafficking

The 2017 Ping-Pong-A-Thon is hitting Australian shores this October, with the aim to raise $500,000 for human trafficking prevention initiatives.

There will be 100 communities across the country that will host a ping-pong tournament.

Founder of the pong movement, Adrian Rowse said that with an estimated 45.8 million people living in modern day slavery, this event was a way to bat for the underdog.

“That’s twice the population of Australia who are being used daily like products off a supermarket shelf because they’re circumstances make them vulnerable to the greed of others.

“These are the true underdogs of the human community. Each of these people matter. Each deserve the chance to live a life that is free,” said Mr Rowse.

Rowse spent two years working in Thailand with teenage boys who were exploited in the sex industry. He founded The Pong soon after in 2011 as a tangible way for advocates to support South East Asia initiatives dedicated to protect people exploited by human trafficking and slavery. The Pong is partnered with a number of organisations including IJM Australia and The Sold Project .

To be part of the ping-pong-a-thon participants to need to register a team and play a minimum of three hours of table tennis with the support and sponsorship from friends and family to raise money.

“When we support a young person to exit exploitative circumstances via alternative educational or vocational opportunities, it’s not just their life that is change,” explained Rowse on how the raised funds will help.

“Given the opportunity to escape from situations of slavery or exploitation, these young people often courageously go on to change the lives of their families and make their wider communities more resilient in the process,” said Rowse.

It’s not just sporting clubs that will be getting involved but schools, community places, work places and churches.

Founder Adrian Rowse and the youngest pong event organizer Isaak.

At 14, Isaak is the youngest Ping-Pong-a-Thon event organizer, and he’ll be picking up his bat in October to help put an end to human trafficking.

Since organising his first ping-pong event two years ago, with the help of his dad, he has raised around $8,000 to date and is hoping to raise more this year.

“When I heard about the cause, people needing to be freed from sexual slavery, I just needed to do something about it,” said Isaak on why he became involved with this event.

Isaak said his involvement has a significant change on his perspective of the world and his place in it.

“I’m more aware of justice issues than I was before, and I know I can do something about it… no matter how old I am,” said Isaak.

This is an all age’s events and all are encouraged to participate. For those who live in isolated regions without an existing venue or currently living outside of Australia, you can still participate just choose The Global Pong as the venue when registering.

For more information on how to register click here.

 

Melissa Stewart




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