Advocates take on the fight against human trafficking to another level as they hold the first ever Freedom Ride on March 9, 2013 at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Cyclists wearing shirts printed with 1343 Anti-Trafficking hotline shall bike around the cities of Taguig, Manila, Pasay and Makati to spread awareness on human trafficking.
His Excellency Ambassador Ton Boon von Ochssee and Mrs. Martine Boon von Ochssee of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands shall lead the Dutch contingent in the bike ride as combatting human trafficking is an important pillar of the Dutch foreign policy. Artists and celebrity advocates of the campaign will also join them in the ride.
According to musician and cycling enthusiast Nityalila Saulo, “The involvement of the cycling community in the fight against human trafficking is crucial to make people aware of the importance of knowing the red flags of human trafficking like how cyclists are aware of road signs so they can get to where they want to go safely.” She further added, “The participation of cyclists in this campaign will help deliver a strong message that there are always options available for people to avoid being trafficked and get to their destinations.”
The bike tour is organized by Dakila, a group of artists advocating social consciousness formation through creative platforms, in partnership with the Manila Fixed Gear, a group of urban cyclists who has incorporated cycling in their lifestyle, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (DOJ-IACAT).
Ayeen Karunungan, spokesperson of the artist collective Dakila, said “Through this campaign, we want the public to always remember to Stop, Look, and Listen. In order to stop human trafficking, we must always look for the signs to avoid being trafficked and listen to the stories of those who were trafficked and most vulnerable to trafficking so that we may learn from it and contribute on ways to help combat trafficking. “
Every year around 300,000 to 400,000 Filipinos fall prey to human trafficking in their own country and abroad. The Freedom Ride is part of the Project Freedom Campaign of Dakila, which aims to raise public awareness on Human Trafficking and empower advocates and citizens to become watchdogs in their own communities by driving them into action through grassroots involvement and amplified action through mainstream and digital media.
The Freedom Ride is open to the public and will start at the Venice Piazza, McKinley Hill, Taguig. Assembly is at 7:00 am and ride out is at 7:30 am. For more information, visit http://dakila.org.ph/