27 million people in the world are slaves with the profits from trafficking victims being upwards of $31.3 billion. 2 million children are exploited in prostitution and pornography every year.
In Thailand alone there are between 150,000 and 200,000 sex workers. 30-40% of these are children. These statistics are shocking every time I see them.
You may ask yourself, "What can I do to help?". Well here is an answer. How about joining in on a 24 hour Ping Pong-A-Thon?
The vision of Ping Pong-A-Thon
The Ping Pong-A-Thon concept is designed to engage the hearts of men on issues of injustice, helping them take action as advocates on behalf of young people who are vulnerable to exploitation.
This is an issue that everyone should obviously be aware of, regardless of gender. However, the event was started as an experiment to engage the hearts of men. Men are a huge part of the problem when it comes to sexual exploitation, but seem to be under-represented when it comes to taking action or being part of the solution.
Ping Pong-A-Thon partners in the work of organisations who are committed to supporting, equipping and nurturing the lives of young people impacted by human trafficking and exploitation.
All Partners that receive funding from this event undergo an all-encompassing application process. They are required to report on a regular basis on use of funds, and have a proven track record in providing holistic, creative and life-impacting support/resources to vulnerable/exploited young people. (pingpongathon.com)
The history of Ping Pong-A-Thon
In 2011, one passionate Aussie bloke gathered 15 mates for the first 24 hour table tennis marathon. They raised $10,000, which supported the work of two organisations in Thailand engaged in prevention and after-care relating to issues of trafficking and sexual exploitation.
The 2012, sixty men raise $25,000. Funds enabled the continued growth and expansion of The Sold Project and Urban Light in Thailand.
In 2013, with five event venues, $56,000 was raised by 260 boys/men (from 9 to 78 years of age) to support the work of seven organisations throughout South East Asia.
In October and November 2014, events will be held in 25 locations around Australia. Planning is also underway for the first international Pong events for 2015 and further expansion in 2015 of venues throughout Australia (with a focus on NSW/QLD).
The 2014 venues
Bowral (Oct 17/18)
Darwin (Oct 24/25)
Glenelg (Oct 17/18), Blair Athol (Oct 24/25), City Salvos (Oct 31/Nov 1), Craigmore (Oct 31/Nov 1) and Victor Harbor (Oct 31/Nov 1)
Devonport (Oct 31/Nov 1) & Hobart (Nov 14/15)
Werribee (Oct 10/11), Cheltenham (Oct 10/11), Mt Waverley (Oct 17/18), Balwyn North (Oct 17/18), Geelong (Oct 17/18), Drouin/Warragul (Oct 17/18), Traralgon (Oct 24/25), Phillip Island (Oct 24/25), Fitzroy North (Oct 24/25), Lilydale (Oct 31/Nov 1) and Blackburn (Nov 14/15).
Canning Vale (Oct 3/4), Mt Pleasant (Oct 17/18) & Bunbury (Oct 17/18)
How to get involved
You can sponsor guys who you know are doing the Ping Pong-A-Thon or you can register and attend yourself (if you are a guy)! Simply go online to pingpongathon.com and you can donate or register. Grab your mens group, your family members or some mates and join in on this extremely worthy cause.
Guys commit to playing table tennis for a three hour period throughout the event and ask their family and friends to sponsor them.
If you're not a bloke please encourage the men in your life to get involved!
For more information go to the Ping Pong-A-Thon website or 'like' them on Facebook (search for '24 HOUR Ping Pong-A-Thon').
Belinda Croft has been writing for Press Service International since 2010. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Russell and their two sons. Her passion for understanding the things of God in simple ways, social justice and news issues influence her writing style.
Belinda Croft's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html