ECPAT-USA Hosts Bike Ride to Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking, Uplift Voices of Trafficking Survivors on Long Island

The ‘Survivor Solidarity Ride’ will be on May 31 across Suffolk County.


Long Island, NY -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/26/2021 --ECPAT-USA, the nation's leading anti-child sex trafficking organization, is excited to announce that its second annual Survivor Solidarity Ride will take place in Suffolk County on May 31. This is the first time the event will be taking place on Long Island.

The ECPAT-USA Survivor Solidarity Ride brings awareness to the reality that child trafficking is happening in every state in the nation. The event highlights locations where survivors have indicated they were trafficked and where there have been reports of child exploitation as a symbol of those who stand with trafficking survivors across the country.

The ride will begin in the morning in Riverhead and travel east to the Shinnecock Reservation, where participants will meet with leaders and activists at approximately 10:30 a.m. to learn more about the movement addressing and raising awareness of the epidemic of violence and exploitation against Indigenous women and children.

The route for the event then returns to Riverhead, where leaders from the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island (ECLI) and officials will join participants outside the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department at approximately noon EST to speak about what is being done to address this issue specifically on Long Island.

"People often perceive human trafficking as something that cannot be happening in their own communities. The Survivor Solidarity Ride is an opportunity to uplift the voices of survivors and raise awareness of how local the issue of trafficking actually is," said Lori L. Cohen, CEO of ECPAT-USA. "We are incredibly grateful to members of the Shinnecock Nation, ECLI, and the Suffolk County Sheriff's Department for helping to facilitate the second year of this moving event and to all organizations and individuals who are working to protect children and end exploitation on Long Island."

The Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island's Survivor Advisory Board said, "As survivors of human trafficking, we know the deep day-to-day effects it has placed over our lives. We were victimized as children and later on as young adults, we fell victim to traffickers. We had no control over our lives for years and even years later, we still find ourselves struggling to rise above the things that have happened to us. This is why it is so important to be a member of ECLI's Survivor Advisory Board. We have become a support system to each other and have made it our mission to educate the community. We want to provide safe havens for other survivors. We turned our pain into a purpose and passion to help others like us. Human trafficking is a huge problem right here on Long Island and it's in our very own backyards. Our message to survivors that feel stuck in this lifestyle is: have HOPE, Hold On because pain ends, you are not alone and we are here to help you."

"The Suffolk County Anti-Trafficking Initiative (SCATI) is honored to be a part of ECPAT-USA's 2021 Survivor Solidarity Ride," said Molly England, SCATI Task Force Coordinator. "SCATI is dedicated to collaborative work and holistic efforts to raise awareness about addressing human trafficking in our community and together, through community events like this, we can have a huge impact on educating individuals and uplifting our communities. Shining a light on human trafficking is the first step toward supporting survivors of human trafficking."

Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon said, "Human trafficking is a common and under-reported problem in Suffolk County and Long Island and we must work harder as a community to educate people about this heinous crime, the signs of victimization, and aggressively intervene when victims are identified. Victims of sex trafficking are essentially enslaved by violent means and sold to clients in motels and private homes on Long Island and around the world. I have no doubt there are many 'Johns' who are unaware of the devastating and dehumanizing effect of this sex trade on the women and men with whom they are engaging, but it's criminal, traumatic, and it must stop. I applaud ECPAT-USA for their efforts to combat human trafficking and child exploitation and I am honored to have my staff ride along with today's Solidarity Riders."

"The Survivor Solidarity Ride is a great opportunity to show support for victims of human trafficking while also raising awareness on the issue," said Det. Lt. Frank Messana, Commanding Officer of SCPD's Human Trafficking Investigations Unit. "The Suffolk County Police Department continues to work with community agencies to provide victims with stability and assistance while we target the traffickers to end victimization."

"Child trafficking is a horrendous crime, and one which doesn't get enough attention," said Legislator Al Krupski. "Thank you to Sheriff Toulon and to ECPAT USA for raising awareness about this very important issue, and for all your efforts to end child trafficking."

Further details about the Survivor Solidarity Ride can be found on ECPAT-USA's website.

Media Relations Contact

Emily Becker
Director of Communications

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