Does your company’s contribution to the world lend itself to personal activism towards that same cause? For at least one CEO, it does. LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Government division CEO, Haywood Talcove, is taking a stand against human trafficking with a personal campaign that will see him bicycle from Maine to Massachusetts in an effort to raise funds and awareness around the link between teenage runaways and human trafficking.
Talcove’s ride leverages his company’s technology, in partnership with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) which is leading the fight against human trafficking.
In the face of alarming statistics linking teenage runaways to human trafficking, Talcove is gearing up for a 320-mile journey from Maine to his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts — what’s being called The Ultra Ride. His ride, set for August 23rd through Aug. 25th 2023, aims to raise $1 million for NCMEC, and importantly, raise awareness about the realities faced by at-risk youth. The trek will serve as a poignant reminder of the resilience and spirit of the millions of exploited children who are victims of trafficking.
“Riding from Maine to Massachusetts is more than just a personal challenge, it’s a statement against an issue that’s been plaguing our society for far too long,” Talcove shared, regarding his journey. “It’s about giving a voice to the silent victims, the runaways who inadvertently fall into the hands of human traffickers.”
Given LexisNexis’ role in providing investigative tools to law enforcement agencies, Talcove understands the pervasive world of child sex trafficking and exploitation. Now, he uses this expertise, transforming professional duty into a personal crusade that starts with Talcove’s Ride.
Human Trafficking Is a Bigger Problem than We Think
The phenomenon of teen runaways, historically viewed as an act of rebellion or a cry for help, has taken a dark turn in the 21st century. Online grooming practices by human traffickers have increasingly led vulnerable individuals to trade one form of captivity for another, often far more malevolent. In fact, research indicates that 1 in 6 teen runaways will be trafficked for sex, and 1 in 3 will be lured into human trafficking.
“Traffickers prey on vulnerability, and with the Internet, they can do it from anywhere in the world. That’s a terrifying thought for any parent,” Talcove said, emphasizing the urgent need for increased vigilance around at-risk youth.
This commitment to curb child trafficking aligns with recent actions by law enforcement agencies. In the latest FBI-led investigation named “Operation Cross Country” over 200 victims of sex trafficking were rescued, including 59 minor victims of child trafficking. The operation brought together federal agencies, state and local police, and social-services agencies, demonstrating the importance of concerted efforts in tackling trafficking’s underpinnings.
“FBI’s ‘Operation Cross Country’ is a testament to what we can achieve when we unite against this menace,” Talcove observed. “These operations are vital, but they should also remind us of the work that still needs to be done.”
Talcove’s upcoming bike ride will end at Fenway Park, where the CEO will be joined by NCMEC’s CEO Michelle DeLaune, and John Walsh, the renowned advocate for child safety and creator of America’s Most Wanted. Their unified stance against child exploitation symbolizes a broader call to action, to awaken the collective consciousness of society towards the gravity of child exploitation.
“Every pedal stroke on this journey will represent a step forward in the fight against child exploitation. When we stand together at Fenway Park, we’re not just concluding a bike ride, we’re igniting a national conversation about child safety,” Talcove passionately explained.
In advocating for comprehensive legislation and a new approach to teenage mental health, Talcove’s Ride is set to raise awareness around trafficking. The CEO’s upcoming ride not only represents a personal stand against child trafficking but is also a rally for society to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of its vulnerable members.
“Taking action against human trafficking isn’t a choice; it’s an imperative,” Talcove concluded. “We owe it to our children to create a safer, more secure world for them, and I’m committed to doing my part in that journey.”