Playing Ping Pong In The Fight For Justice - Hope 103.2

Playing Ping Pong In The Fight For Justice

Men are gathering at 24-hour table tennis marathons around Australia, to join the fight against sex trafficking - with the annual Ping-Pong-A-Thon.

By Clare BruceFriday 23 Oct 2015Social JusticeReading Time: 3 minutes

Listen: Adrian Rowse chats to Clare Chate about the Ping-Pong-A-Thon

Guys, if you don’t mind a hit of Ping Pong, this weekend’s a great chance to enjoy a few games, make some new mates, and support a vital cause.

It’s the annual Ping-Pong-A-Thon, where men and boys of all ages around Australia get together for a 24-hour table tennis marathon. It raises funds for eight different organisations fighting sex trafficking in South East Asia.

The founder Adrian Rowse was inspired to raise funds for this cause, while working for Urban Light Ministries – a non-profit organisation that helps teenage boys caught up in sex work in Thailand.

Sex Traffickers Prey On The Most Vulnerable

Adrian told Hope 103.2 that the boys in Thailand who he helped during his two years with Urban Light were highly vulnerable.

“They were mostly homeless, having issues with drugs and alcohol and coming from extremely poor families, being sent to the city to fend for themselves, and resorting to sex work as a means of survival,” he said.

“Any person can be vulnerable to human trafficking or sexual exploitation and often it’s poverty that’s a driver. It cuts off the options for people.”

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Ping-Pong-A-Thon To Raise $200K

Watch: Ping-Pong-A-Thon supporter Pete Davidson prepares to play.

Adrian held his first Ping-Pong-A-Thon in 2011 with 15 mates and raised $10,000. This year, he’s aiming for $200,000.

The funds will be split between eight organisations that fight human trafficking. These include Destiny Rescue, which works to rescue children from sex slavery, and International Justice Mission, which focusses on strengthening the justice system in nations affected by trafficking.

While women are often the biggest supporters of human trafficking justice events, Adrian said he wanted to start an event that specifically got men involved.

“Men are the drivers of demand for human trafficking,” he explained, “but unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, men are pretty absent when it comes to being part of the solution or being advocates on this issue.”

“So we thought, how can we engage men in a fun way, to take a first step in becoming a first step on this issue?

“Anyone can play table tennis and most of us at a camp or at school or on a family holiday have had a hit at one point or another.”

Helping Men To Make New Friendships

He said it’s turned out to be a great way to get men together who are otherwise disconnected.

“We’ve realised a lot of Aussie blokes are pretty isolated in their day to day lives and lacking healthy community experience,” he said, “so we’ve found at our events a lot of guys turn up not knowing anyone, but after playing sport for a few hours you make friends, and you feel like you’re part of changing the world in some small way.”

There are more than 40 Ping-Pong-A-Thon venues all around Australia, with Sydney’s locations including St Stephens Anglican Church, Belrose on October 23 and 24.

Anyway can get involved either by playing, or donating.

For details see the Ping-Pong-A-Thon website.