Driving Across the Globe to Fight Child Trafficking

Ms. Brinkerhoff and team have had many challenges along the way. Corrupt custom agents held the Porsche and its parts until they bribed their way past. Accidents and broken parts, like a crash at the 2015 Carrera Panamericana race, kept them on their toes. Delays crossing oceans and new rally regulations tested their patience.

More pedestrian issues posed hurdles, as well, like racing at elevations of up to 16,000 feet and competing in new terrain that was different than what they had prepared for. The tour pushed their skills beyond capacity. Even language barriers caused hiccups.

Toughest among their challenges was the East African Safari Classic late last year across Kenya and Tanzania. “It was the rainiest season in 40 years and the roads, already chosen for their difficulty, were more treacherous than planned,” said Ms. Brinkerhoff, who was a novice again in this kind of terrain. Deep sand, thick mud and treacherous water crossings made it difficult for all competitors.

Adding to the adversity, the front right steering arm wasn’t holding up. It couldn’t withstand the severe terrain and repeatedly failed. Eventually, the issue was corrected and Ms. Brinkerhoff and her navigator crossed the finish line.

To date, Valkyrie Gives has raised approximately $200,000 to help fight child trafficking. All donations have gone directly to charitable organizations around the world: Mexico, Australia, Peru, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Russia, the Netherlands, Kenya, Cambodia, Thailand and the United States.

Ms. Brinkerhoff said she had also “participated in undercover operations to gather evidence for law enforcement to arrest and prosecute traffickers.” She once spent two weeks in Southeast Asia working with the Exodus Road, a nonprofit organization with seven offices worldwide and a staff of 72 that finds and frees victims of trafficking. Since the group’s inception, it has rescued more than 1,500 victims and aided in the arrest of 600 traffickers and pedophiles, it says.

Matt Parker, an Exodus Road co-founder and the acting chief executive, met Ms. Brinkerhoff several years ago at his Colorado Springs office. “She came to my office and once I heard her remarkable story, we began a working relationship,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *