By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A New York-based financial software company CEO is currently biking the Continental Divide through Wyoming to raise money for exploited children.
Darren Jer, co-founder of MarketFactory, a financial technology company, started his journey riding the Continental Divide on June 11, beginning in Montana. His intent is to finish in New Mexico in July 2.
As of Monday, he was inching his way out of Idaho and was soon expected to enter Wyoming through Yellowstone National Park.
Jer was inspired to do something for exploited children after hearing about conditions they face during a conversation with a friend who’d returned from India in 2014.
“When she met me to return the key [to Jer’s London apartment], she told me about the brothel she visited and the sex slave who, impregnated by a customer, had put blankets under her bed as a makeshift place for her 6 month old infant to sleep,” Jer wrote on the GoFundMe he launched alongside his biking campaign. “When customers visited, she either kept the baby underneath the bed or would ask another worker to care for the baby until the client left.”
Jer was horrified at the story and knew that while he had a comfortable life, not everyone was as lucky as him.
He has partnered with the nonprofit organization Embers International, which works to protect and help children born in brothels and who are trapped in repeated cycles of exploitation.
As of Monday, Jer has biked more than 921 miles in more than a week, raising money with pledges made to his GoFundMe page.
“Every mile biked will bring badly needed resources to children born into brothels in India’s Turbhe red-light district,” Jer wrote.
Jer has raised more than $14,300 with his GoFundMe campaign, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Embers International. He said that he is funding the entire bike ride himself.
His goal is to raise $25,000.
The software CEO’s progress can be tracked here.