American LMP2 driver competing in European Le Mans Series calls on motorsport fans to join the ‘race to end human trafficking’
A few days before the 4 Hours of Imola in Italy, Rob Hodes, LMP3 driver who is joining the LMP2 ranks for the first time this year, is using his platform to raise awareness of the fight against human trafficking around the world. Hodes decided to donate advertising space in his car to the anti-trafficking association, The road of exodus. After visiting Thailand several years ago and seeing children and young women on the streets being offered to tourists for sex, Hodes felt deeply disturbed, he said. He finally connected to The Exodus Road in 2020.
“To think of any human being, let alone a woman or a child, being enslaved and raped crushes my soul,” Hodes said. Her cousin found The Exodus Road online while helping her research anti-trafficking nonprofits. The Exodus Road fights human trafficking in Thailand and five other countries through on-the-ground search and rescue with local police, training and education, and aftercare services for survivors .
After bonding with the organization’s founders, Hodes quickly became a financial backer. And now he’s using his running rig to raise movement awareness. Team Virage joined him.
“Awareness raising at all levels can only accelerate intolerance of human trafficking and lead to freedom for victims,” Hodes said. “I’ve felt the urgency to do something to stop human trafficking for a very long time, and I’m thrilled to help advance the essential work of The Exodus Road.”
“We are deeply grateful for Team Virage’s advocacy work this season. It’s an innovative and exciting move to leverage a race car on the world stage in the name of this issue,” said Laura Parker, CEO of The Exodus Road. “The first step to combating human trafficking is for people to understand it, and that is exactly what this type of project will take forward.”
Hodes races as an LMP2 entry in the Pro/Am division of the Le Mans European Series (ELMS); LMP2 is the top class. He races with two other riders, Gabriel Aubry and Jazeman Jaafar, for Team Virage. The second race of the series will take place on May 15 in Imola, Italy.
“The Exodus Road, Rob Hodes and Team Virage are at the birth of a whole new type of challenge,” said Julien Gerbi, team manager of Virage Racing Group. “We share common values of perseverance, discipline and a drive for progress, and having the LMP2 European Le Mans Series car as a platform to promote the great work of The Exodus Road will certainly raise awareness of the terrible situation of human trafficking. human beings that all countries face today.
The European Le Mans Series comprises six races which take place in five different countries – France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Portugal – from April to June. The races are broadcast live on Youtube and Facebook. At the end of the ELMS title race, six invitations are awarded to drivers giving them the opportunity to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, according to the ELMS Instagram page.
When asked why the racing community should care about this global crisis, Hodes said:
Racing is the ultimate freedom. It’s a high-octane, high-octane, fast-paced lifestyle fueled by creativity and ingenuity that reaches communities around the world as we travel from track to track. It makes sense for the racing community to take a stand. Collectively, we have immense influence, resources and networks to end this atrocity. I hope that every time someone sees the message on the Team Virage car, the speed of the car symbolizes the urgency to quickly free the most vulnerable people trapped in the dark prison of human trafficking. Human being. If we choose to ignore the suffering of more than 40 million victims – the majority of whom are women and children – we devalue humanity as a whole.
The car not only features the Exodus Road logo and ‘Race to End Human Trafficking’, it also contains a QR code that leads directly to a page full of educational resources for visitors. The Virage team hopes racing fans will visit the page, learn more about the issue, and be inspired to take action to help create a free world.