Do you know about The Pong? The Ping Pong A Thon, that is! Ping Pong A Thon has been among our most steadfast and generous sources of support over the past decade. The concept behind The Pong is that they gather people together in a community for a 3 to 24-hour ping pong tournament, and through this fun and interactive event, they help raise awareness about sex trafficking and raise funds to support organizations like us that are working to fight against trafficking. As they’ve grown, they now also equip church and community leaders across Australia and even the US to run these events.
We’d Love to Introduce You To The Pong
The Pong was founded by Adrian Rowse in 2011 on the concept that individuals have a responsibility to step up and own how they and their compatriots might contribute to sexual slavery. It came out of the awareness that much of the sex trade in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia is fueled by demand and consumption by Western tourists–including Australian men, and yet in the Australian landscape, where they are, there wasn’t that much awareness of the issue. Those who run The Pong recognize that as white, Australian men, they are part of a large group of people who fuel the sex trade, and they feel it is incumbent upon them to do something about it. While there are many charities that address poverty or women’s empowerment, Ping Pong A Thon saw a real gap in addressing human trafficking, which they feel–and naturally, we agree–is such a layered, complex, and massive issue, that they could spend their time well by focusing on human trafficking in Southeast Asia and use their platform to engage ethically with organizations working directly to confront it in prevention, intervention, and aftercare.
On Our Partnership
Ping Pong A Thon has been by our side through much of our work in the beginning, through our expansions and growth, and we’ve been so thrilled and honored to enjoy a partnership with them. As David Goode, their CEO, explains, The Freedom Story comprises the lion’s share of the prevention dimension of the work they support. In their view, The Freedom Story represents the best practice in the field, especially with our focus on relationship building, our constant ability to evolve and adapt, and our work to facilitate capacity building and empower other organizations. He says, “It would have been very easy for TFS to continue to focus in on the scholarship program because that is your bread and butter and that is what you do really, really well. And there’s no shame in that. But the fact that you guys are really able to branch out and see other opportunities to widen and deepen your impact–incredible. I can’t say that other organizations are doing that in a way that’s really agile and proactive, because obviously this issue is forever evolving, and the way human trafficking and the way people are moving is always changing. It’s pretty special.”
In turn, we feel that Ping Pong A Thon is really unique in its capacity as a donor organization. Their events represent a really fun, engaging, inclusive way to bring in a wide community of people who otherwise might not often cross paths and to spark a conversation that really opens perspectives around human trafficking. And they’re incredibly effective, having raised more than $3 million since 2011! In their experience, people also frequently ask about how to support the mental health of those working more closely with the issue, which really, just goes to show how deeply people care and how compassionate they are. In their capacity as donors, Ping Pong A Thon gives specifically to support staff care–the only donor we have that does so!
As our partnership continues to thrive, we’re thrilled to support each other. We’re so grateful to be a part of Ping Pong A Thon’s larger hopes to connect the fun, community building of table tennis to the moral compass of ending human trafficking in a sustainable and dignifying way. It’s very inspiring how they witness people’s awareness of the issue grow. Together, we hope that if a young Australian teen engages with The Pong, he’ll become a little more aware of human trafficking and the role of people similar to himself in perpetuating it, and then, when he goes to college and is later invited on a guys’ trip to Thailand, maybe he’ll decide to speak up against doing that and instead encourage his mates to do something more positive, like host a Ping Pong a Thon themselves!
We’re giving a big THANK YOU to Ping Pong A Thon for all their support over the years, and all their efforts to help bring an end to trafficking! We hope you, our community of supporters, have enjoyed learning more about what they do and we hope it inspires you to get involved too!
If you’re interested in hosting a ping pong tournament to help raise awareness about human trafficking, find Ping Pong a Thon at their website or email email@example.com to get connected!