iEmpathize Launches Fundraising Campaign to Bring Human Trafficking Documentary to Youth in U.S. and Mexico

Top Quote Be Relentless: A Documentary About Norma Bastidas. End Quote
  • Atlanta, GA (1888PressRelease) May 04, 2016 - Norma Bastidas, a fearless survivor of human trafficking, sexual violence, abuse and addiction, recently shattered the Guinness World Record for longest triathlon-running, biking and swimming 3,762 miles (6,054 km). The record triathlon from Cancún, Mexico to Washington D.C. was her stand against human trafficking. Her journey was captured for a documentary, entitled Be Relentless, which now needs the public's support to complete the project through a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo.

    Norma's ultra-triathlon was undertaken to empower survivors everywhere - proving that one's past doesn't have to dictate one's future - and to educate the world about sexual violence and human trafficking, in order to inspire action to end this modern-day incarnation of slavery. "Ultras are tough, both physically and emotionally," says Bastidas, "but the challenge is only temporary. After I finish an ultra, my life goes back to normal, but survivors have to keep overcoming huge challenges every day of their lives."

    Human trafficking is acknowledged as the fastest growing criminal business in the world, impacting hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children. Mexico and the United States take part in this business; tens of thousands are exploited for financial gain in and between our two countries every year. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in five of the 11,800 runaways reported to the Center in 2015 were likely sex trafficking victims. That number is up from one in six in 2014.

    iEmpathize, a non-profit organization committed to eradicating child exploitation, planned and filmed Bastidas' journey to pave the way for her success. Be Relentless is the documentary film that captures every grueling step of Norma's record-breaking expedition across two countries. In addition to Norma's story of triumph, Be Relentless tells the stories of other survivors, victims, and their advocates in both the United States and Mexico. Through these stories and through Norma's persistence, Be Relentless proves that everyday people can make an extraordinary impact on seemingly unchallengeable issues.

    "I believe Norma not only accomplished an extraordinary athletic feat but her goal of empowering survivors as well," says Brad Riley, director of Be Relentless, and founder and president of iEmpathize. "She also inspires people to work to achieve their goals, regardless of what their past may hold. When the documentary is finished, it will continue this mission and also educate people about the issue of human trafficking. Be Relentless will call the world to take action and fight the issue."

    The film will serve as a platform to educate and engage the public, industry leaders, and legislative influencers on the under-recognized issue of child exploitation, and inspire a binational response to eradicate the victimization of children. In addition, proceeds will benefit iEmpathize's ongoing prevention efforts, as well as the projects that empower and reintegrate survivors like Norma.

    iEmpathize plans to screen the documentary widely, both in the United States and Mexico. In Mexico, screenings will be tied to the launch of the nation's first human trafficking hotlines by Polaris Project. iEmpathize is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to complete post-production on the film. To learn more and support the completion of this meaningful documentary, please visit

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