Sex Trafficking Survivors Supported by Photographer/Motorcylist, Lauren Trantham, in RIDE MY ROAD 9000 miles
Awesome Aging means many things to me. As a growing ‘elder’ in the tribe of humanity, I seek to passionately support causes that speak to the heart of creating a more compassionate, healthy world. It is an honor to support Lauren Trantham in her RIDE MY ROAD 9000 mile journey to raise awareness about sex trafficking as well as support survivors with her extraordinary talent as The Women’s Photographer. She will provide over 40 photography sessions to help survivors build confidence and take back their bodies and their lives. 9,000 miles, 2 months, 33 days of riding.
Lauren Trantham lends her heart and ear to women of varying ages. Horrific stories are shared with Lauren. One woman shared she was trafficked by her parents as a child until she was 21, never allowed to attend school. Sitting with another survivor recently in a Colorado park after providing a photography session for her, the survivor shared an example of how something very simple is a big adjustment to living a free life. “I am trying to learn how to sit in a park and allow myself to feel beauty around me which I could not do when I was trafficked.”
Shannon Redline, a survivor, is grateful to be building a good life. “I was unknowingly groomed by a boyfriend to desensitize with hyper sexuality. I fell prey to sex trafficing and substance abuse. I am now an optimistic woman. I am a graduate of Rebecca Bender’s Elevate Program, member of ACT, president of ROTARACT club, and empowered and pursuing a career to help people.”
Humbled by the strength of the survivors, Lauren seeks to assist in their journeys to find a life beyond being dehumanized in unimaginable experiences, treated as modern day slaves, trapped inside nightmares, mind shattering fears and the darkness blanketing their own inner lights.
“My back will be sore on long riding days. I will ride 33 out of 60 days and do a lot of camping and spend focused time providing photography sessions for survivors.” Lauren is willing to forego personal comfort to raise awareness and funds. “I want to encourage survivors I meet to pursue their dreams.”
Rebecca Bender who was once trafficked out of Grants Pass and returned to build a mentoring program for sex trafficking survivors has been an important link as she and Lauren have become allied forces for RIDE MY ROAD, bringing about optimal results through networking with survivors and crowd funding beginning Sept. 2. $60,000 is being raised through Generosity.com (branch of Indiegogo) to provide 50 scholarships that will increase opportunities for more survivors. $1200 provides one scholarship. Launching party is at the Schneider Museum, SOU campus, Sept. 2, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Rebecca Bender’s Program is a phenomenal saving grace for survivors. It includes online mentoring, a 16 week intensive course that elevates participants to discover what their gifts are, their passions and dream jobs. They learn to work with triggers from the traffickers which is critical in navigating their new lives they are creating. Job placement staff and one year follow-up support with lifetime exclusive access to continued training programs are included.
Survivors hail Rebecca Bender often with tears. Contact with Lauren is giving them added fuel for success in using their passions for a purpose. Others are jumping on the bandwagon such as TAT (Trucker’s Against Trafficking) and B.A.T. (Bikers Against Trafficking) who work with police and watching for suspicious activity.
Facts on Human trafficking:
*Estimated $32 – $42 billion industry (Human Trafficking Commission)
*Third largest criminal industry in the world (Federal Bureau of Investigation)
*Children exploited doing forced labor, sexual acts or both (F.B.I.)
*24-hour National Human Trafficking Resource Center line at 1-888-373-7888. Training is available. *Men, women, boys and girls are trafficked.
*The International Labor Organization estimated, in 2012, that children represented 26 percent (or 5.5 million) of the 20.9 million victims worldwide. (International Labor Organization)
RIDE MY ROAD is being hailed by many in southern Oregon. Arin Fugate, educator of essential oils at JasmineandJuniper.com states, is a member of a business networking group (Business Networking International) with Lauren in Ashland and has observed Lauren’s process putting this project together. “Lauren Trantham is an amazing gift to our local community and the world at large. Her vision and dedication to the upliftment of women is inspiring. Please share her story to benefit action creating the world we want our children to live in.”
Lauren shares, “This project is self-supporting with assistance from my parents, Terry and James Trantham, who will ride alongside me Sept. 3 to Portland. EPIK (Everyman Protecting Innocent Kids) riders from Portland will meet Lauren in Eugene and escort her to Portland, including Tom Perez, its founder. Giant Proof donated waterproof motorcycle luggage pods. Ducati motorcycle company is providing bike support across the country.“
A crusading torch bearer launches this epic journey. When asked how she will be when the road trip ends, Lauren looks deliberately straight ahead without blinking an eye, “I will be a changed person.”
As published in Ashland Daily Tidings