If you talked to me at all this past summer, you heard about the 11 girls I was meticulously stalking who were riding their bikes down the west coast to fight sex trafficking. Although I knew none of them, I found a way to work Pedal into every-other conversation and give day-by-day, often hour-by-hour, updates on the girls and what they were up to that day.
This slight obsession of the girls behind Pedal combined with the undeniable pull on my heart to know more about sex trafficking led me to where I am now.
My name is Grace Hodo, and I am fighting for justice.
Before becoming interested in Pedal the Pacific, I knew generally nothing about sex trafficking. I had heard about this crime before, but the issue felt so far away from my safe circle. The truth is, it is all around us. It is in our communities, on our highways and in our cities. I am constantly learning about minor sex trafficking, and the more I learn, the harder it is for me to turn away. Reading and understanding sex trafficking on deeper levels is terrifying. It hurts to think about. And it should. Women, men, girls and boys are being stripped of their innocence and dignity every single day. Sex trafficking is real. It is happening, and it is moving quickly.
When it comes down to it, we are the same. The only difference between me, and a survivor of human trafficking is the trafficking itself. That is why I ride. I ride because the girls at The Refuge, and the ones to come, are someone’s daughter. Someone’s sister. Someone’s future mother. These girls are the same as you and I. I ride because I can’t sit and ignore that sex trafficking actually exists and is growing day by day.
I am (somehow by the grace of God) going to bike 1,700 miles this summer. I am scared and nervous and have absolutely no idea how I will make it to San Diego. But, if the simple act of moving my legs over and over for a few weeks can bring light to a dark place, I’m going to do it.
I ride for the girls who have had their innocence stolen. The ones who feel alone. I ride for freedom. I ride because these girls are worth everything and more.
I ride because as humans we should fight HARD for one another.
So, let’s fight.
If not us, then who?