A Winnipeg race car driver competing in the United States is dedicating valuable advertising space on his vehicle to Beyond Borders, a local group that fights child sexual exploitation around the globe.
Damon Surzyshyn and his Honda Fit race car made their debut at a Pirelli World Challenge event in Alabama last month.
While race cars are usually plastered with logos from products ranging from beer to laundry soap, Surzyshyn's car features several decals for Beyond Borders, a Winnipeg-based organization that raises awareness internationally about child exploitation, sexual abuse and human trafficking.
"I think Beyond Borders has a lot of potential to really improve the world, and I want to help them," he told CBC News on Friday, after driving some fun laps around a track in Gimli, Man.
Beyond Borders co-founder and president Rosalind Prober says she's thrilled to see a racing driver support the organization's fight against the sexual abuse of children.
"To have somebody in the race car world join us and someone who, you know, is racing internationally, it was just absolutely fantastic," Prober said.
"It's so very difficult to get males involved in the issue of sexual exploitation of children. Somehow we've gotten off the track where everyone thinks this is a women's issue, and it really isn't. It's a men's issue."
Awareness campaign targets men
It made sense for Beyond Borders, which has a campaign urging men to speak out against child sexual exploitation, to get involved with a sport dominated by men, said Prober.
"The statistics are not showing that the sexual abuse of children is diminishing. So we're asking men to join us in this campaign — this fight, really — to keep children safe," she said.
According to the organization's Man to Man campaign, more than 90 per cent of child sex offenders are males, coming from every income bracket, profession and neighbourhood.
Surzyshyn runs a media production company in Winnipeg and has done some work for the group. He says he has seen first hand the need to get its message out.
"It's not OK with brothers, uncles, fathers, anybody. So I think it's really important that everybody's involved in the issue," Surzyshyn said.
Surzyshyn said he hopes to compete in a few more Pirelli World Challenge races this year, with the goal of competing in a full season next year.
"What I'd really like to do is find a sponsor that'd be willing to share with Beyond Borders," he said.