Pedal the Pacific is a team of 13 women who cycle in their hometowns to raise awareness about the serious issue of sex trafficking in the United States.
Usually, the organization would entail a 1,700-mile bike ride along the Pacific Coast, however due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s ride was cancelled.
However they found a way to continue the fight through a six-week community movement in which each of the riders set a goal to walk, cycle, swim or run 50,000 miles in the six-week period.
Now, there are over 300 participants from all over the world, including Sweden and the United Kingdom. One of the riders is Sophia Nottoli from Carrollton. Nottoli is a philosophy major set to graduate from the University of Oklahoma in the spring and is part of Pedal the Pacific’s 2020 team.
“I’ve always been interested in social justice, and this seemed like a really cool opportunity for me to get involved,” Nottoli said.
She described how sex trafficking minors is a big issue here in Texas and that many of the nation’s children exploited children live in the state.
“We want to take care of them,” she said.
On June 27 Pedal the Pacific held one of three virtual events in which community team participants were invited to join a virtual webinar to learn about the fight against domestic sex trafficking.
During this webinar, Tina Bigdeli of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) spoke to the participants about how to prevent online exploitation.
According to their website, Pedal the Pacific’s goal is to “equip riders to move from learners to teachers” and “bridge the gap between awareness and action and offer a space for everyone to learn what’s next in the fight.”
The COVID-19 pandemic did not stop this organization’s dedication to end sex trafficking, and with participants like Nottoli using their voices to spread awareness, the fight continues.