Human Trafficking Freedom Riders Visit Chattanooga
The pair stopped in Chattanooga to join an awareness committee meeting of the Chattanooga Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
The hour long event was hosted by the Salvation Army of Chattanooga, Friday.
An estimated 800 thousand people Worldwide are forced into Human Trafficking and modern day slavery.
Riders of the "Long Road to Freedom Tour" Nathanial Erb and Sylvester Williams told Channel 3 Eyewitness news they have been on the road since July 5th.
"We started in Seattle, Washington and we're biking all the way to Key West Florida to raise awareness in the United States," said Nathaniel Erb. "Americans think of it as a global issue but not a domestic issue, so we want to bring their attention to that. What is going on with our daughters and even those brought here from other countries... They are slaves"
Torri Wood with Second Life Chattanooga says Human Sex Trafficking happens more often in Tennessee then you might think. A recent TBI study shows 85 Tennessee counties with at least one case of trafficking and 4 other counties investigating 100 cases or more, involving a minor.
"People don't realize it that's why we are here to spread awareness," said Torri Wood."This happens especially with Atlanta being the number 1 hub...we're on I-75 so it's easy for these guys to go through and here we are right down the road from them."
In the 2010 report, 26 to 100 cases of minor sex trafficking were reported in Hamilton County. It's estimated nearly a hundred children are trafficked in Tennessee each month.
These kids, a lot of times they have no choice in the life they have to live," said Erb. "Either they're forced to become slavers in some way or they are sold themselves.This is something that has to stop, I just cant stand it."
Riders on the "The Long Road to Freedom" tour said they are working to collaborate coalition efforts across state lines by teaching preventative methods other communities are trying. The Bikers said it's sharing what they've learned from survivors met along the way that helps them continue their journey.
"There are times where you want to stop for at least that day but then you hear these awesome powerful stories of how people are built with so much strength and fortitude. It makes you want to continue to pedal on," said Williams.
The long road to freedom riders said their next stop will be Atlanta on their way down to Key West, Florida. From there the pair plan to travel to China to raise awareness and funds by walking the Great Wall of China.
To find out ways that you can help visit www.secondlifechattanooga.org or call 423-994-4857.
If you or someone you know needs help:
TN Hotline: 1-855-55-TNHTH
Nat'l Hotline: 1-888-3737-888
Text 'HELP' to 233733 (BEFREE)