COMPASSION and a desire to effect change will help Kim Shirono of Taree to push through the physical and emotional challenges that will come with her 600 kilometre cycling expedition in Cambodia.
Kim is one of 18 women from the Manning, Great Lakes, Port Macquarie, Central Coast and Newcastle regions who this week flew to Cambodia to support Cycle4Cambodia and deliver around $20,000 raised during the past six months.
Kim and the group of cyclists will begin their journey at Siem Reap, cycle south following the Mekong River to Phnom Penh and then on to Kep. It's 600km including the return to Phnom Penh. It will be a physical trip that will be charged with important emotional and practical interactions with Cambodian women and children who have been rescued from human trafficking and sex slavery.
The confronting facts of human trafficking shocked Kim into action.
"What I'm doing is only small, but I believe that if my efforts can save just one girl from a life of sexual slavery then it is absolutely worth it," Kim said.
"Cambodia is the sex trafficking capital of the world. We need to be aware of what is happening to women and children outside of Australia and then act to help."
Cycle4Cambodia shares information about the facts of human trafficking and sexual slavery on its Facebook page and it is keen to increase the number of local people supporting the page, and ultimately the organisation. It can be found at www.facebook.com/Cycle4Cambodia
On September 10 a post revealed the horrific reality of what thousands of children endure in Cambodia - "Children in Cambodia as young as three or four can be sold for as little as $100 and forced to serve up to 30 clients per day. - Somaly Mam Foundation."
It is for those children, young girls and women that Kim will ride and raise funds. She said the money they raised would be directed to a variety of organisations that help children and women who have been rescued from slavery or programs to help vulnerable families.
Those organisations include Daughters of Cambodia, SHE Rescue Home, Open Arms Cambodia and Empowering Cambodia and they will all be visited by Kim and the other women on the Cycle4Cambodia tour.
Kim is keen for the community to continue supporting Cycle4Cambodia and said donations could always be made via a link to International Needs Australia on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/Cycle4Cambodia