ECPAT Athletes

ECPAT-USA Supporters: Cyclist Dorothea Calabrese Puts Her Helmet Back On To Ride With ECPAT-USA In The Five Boro Bike Tour

This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families, and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.


After a break from a life that used to include cycling regularly, Dorothea Calabrese is hopping back on the bike as a member of the ECPAT-USA charity team in this year’s Five Boro Bike Tour. A travel buyer for Maritz Travel - a Maritz Global Events company, who is also sponsoring her slot on the team, Calabrese is slightly nervous (but excited) about the 40-mile ride, and she has an unrivaled cheering section in her two kids.

We talked to Calabrese about her 25 years in the travel and tourism industry, how she’s seen the awareness of sex trafficking increase over time and why her training is a family affair.

How long have you been cycling?

I used to be a big cyclist and then I had kids. I jumped on anything with anyone who was cycling. Now, though, I’m older so this is going to be interesting. In the past couple days, I’ve ridden 26 miles. I’m trying to get myself back in gear - no pun intended.

Why did you chose to join the ECPAT-USA charity team?

It was a good opportunity. It was an amazing cause. There was a little lightbulb that said, this is one of your passions now.  I’m excited. It’s lit a little fire.

Why do you think sex trafficking is an important issue?

I’ve been on the hotel side for over 25 years. It’s only recently been in the past few years that it’s really gotten a name and recognition. Having the information of the statistics of where things are happening where people can no longer say, “it’s not in my backyard.” it really hit home in an industry that I’ve been in all my life.

And then, your kids come to a certain age. You’re like oh my gosh, if that ever happened to my kids. Now you’re passionate because it hits so close to home.

How have you seen the discussion around the issue change in the past 25 years?

Once you name it, you can create a path of awareness and all things that go for that. This now has a name. This now has a program. This is now how we can help. No one can just only volunteer. To add something else, you have to be able to take off enough bites that you can chew and still be helpful.

You have two kids. Have they been helping at all with your training?

My 13-year-old daughter said, “I’m going to start going on a treadmill and let’s do that side-by-side. Last night, we went to the gym at 7:30 and she was on the treadmill and I was next to her on the bike. At one point, I was like, I don’t want to do this anymore, and I reached over and held her hand. It’s actually creating a great bonding experience.

How has your training been going?

My daughter asked when the ride was and I told her May 7th. And she said, May 7th! You have plenty of time. I told her that she didn’t realize how old her mom is. I told her I should have started training in December.

To learn more about upcoming ECPAT-USA's athletes events, click here.

 

ECPAT-USA Supporters: Marathoner Annie Ugurlayan Uses 26.2 Miles to Fight Sex Trafficking

This is part of a series of blog posts about individuals, families and corporations who use their time and talents to benefit of ECPAT-USA and to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking. These people have taken it upon themselves to educate others in their own ways and have allowed us to grow our network more than we could on our own. We do not take credit for their actions, but we are endlessly thankful for their support.

Name: Annie Ugurlayan

Age: 41

Occupation: Lawyer

Annie Ugurlayan is a runner. After her first marathon, she was hooked, and when she and her friends wanted to run 26.2 miles abroad, they signed up for the Edinburgh marathon. Annie chose to also use the event to raise $1000 for ECPAT-USA.

To educate others about the issue, this September, Annie is hosting a screening in New York of the film SOLD, which tells the story of Lakshmi, a girl who journeys from a pastoral, rural village in Nepal to a gritty brothel in Kolkata, India. Read on to learn how you can attend the screening, what the issue of sex trafficking means to Annie and why running a marathon is mostly a mental game.

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Why did you first start running marathons?

I’ve been a runner for a long time. Not a long distance runner, but short distances.  I would watch the New York City marathons on TV and thought it would be really cool to run a marathon one day. When I finally ran one, I got hooked. I just loved it: the feeling of being pushed to your limits, being able to do something that you never thought that you would, being able to push through it mentally was just amazing.

 

What was the most challenging part of the Edinburgh marathon?

It’s very windy in Edinburgh. You make a loop and once you go around the corner and go back, the wind that was behind you is now in front of you. The weather was very challenging: you were running against 40-mile an hour wind, there was horizontal rain for one mile. I was thinking, if I finish this, it will be a miracle.

 

How did you find out about the issue of sex trafficking?

I found out about it a couple of years ago. I’m on the board of the New York Women's Bar Association Foundation. We usually have two fundraisers a year. For one of the fundraising breakfasts, we invited Rachel Lloyd [founder of GEMS, a New York organization for girls and women who have experienced sex trafficking] and Pamela Chen, a judge now, who used to prosecute human trafficking cases. We found out how hard it is to prosecute these cases. A lot of the girls seem to have a connection with their trafficker.

It really spoke to me because it’s sexual slavery. It’s happening on our front door step. These are just kids.

 

Why is sex trafficking an important issue for you?

The notion of modern slavery, it just shocks the conscious. To think that there are kids who are literally taken off the street and sold into slavery, it’s just a horrifying thing. It destroys a generation of kids. It’s psychologically damaging and physically damaging, obviously. These kids should be learning. They should be in a loving environment. The notion that they would be exploited this way is just terrible.

 

Have you seen SOLD already?

I have. It’s excellent. When I found out that interested individuals can organize screenings, I wanted to do one. It’s set in southeast Asia, but the story of Lakshmi is the story of any girl who is the victim of sex trafficking.

 

Why should someone attend a screening of SOLD?

They should attend because I think it’s important to raise awareness about this epidemic that’s happening locally. I think a lot of people, like I did, have this idea that this is an international epidemic confined to Thailand and Southeast Asia. Not to say that it’s ok when it happens there, but this is a worldwide problem. This can happen in any community. I think the more you know, the more everybody can do something to help us. It’s really about the importance of education and awareness.

 

For tickets to Annie’s SOLD screening in Astoria, NY, click here.

To learn more about how you can host your own SOLD screening, click here.

To join our ECPAT Athletes team, click here.