By Matt Maudlin

I joined Ping Pong-A-Thon (The Pong) in April 2017 following a 20-year career housing those at risk of homelessness.

The Pong is a quirky Australian movement that brings communities together and unites them under one cause: freedom to some of the world’s most vulnerable people – those caught in slavery. Pong holds table-tennis marathons each season (September to November). A Pong event is typically between 3 and 24 hours. One’s table-tennis ability is never the issue…the important thing is to play! The business model of ‘play table tennis to end slavery’ probably should not work! Yet, nine years later over $2.3 million has been raised from over 500 Pong events, positively impacting tens of thousands of lives in South-East Asia. It works!

Everyone can Pong. Events have been hosted in schools, pubs, churches, shopping centres, gyms, cafes, law firms, a beach and backyards. Quite simply, if you have space for a table-tennis table, you can host a Pong event!

The Global Slavery Index states that there are currently 45.8 million people in conditions of modern slavery: believed to be the highest number of slaves worldwide at any one time. Modern slavery, also known as human trafficking, is defined as domestic servitude, sex trafficking, forced labour, bonded labour, child labour and forced marriage.

The Pong has developed close links with its seven Partner organisations operating in the South-East Asia region., and reporting demands on the dollars provided are vigorous. After all, if you are making a tax-deductible donation to Pong, you need assurance that your money is being well utilised. And it is.

All of our Partners operate in one of three main areas:

  1. Prevention: preventing young people being trafficked into slavery and sexual exploitation.
  2. Restoration: helping to restore the lives of young people exiting the sex industry via medical, psychological, job training and educational pathways.
  3. Legal systems: supporting groups working towards and advocating for systemic legal changes to prevent trafficking.

For example, the monies raised and distributed to our Partners over the years have provided safe housing for those at risk of trafficking and for those exiting the sex industry; contributed to a training restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for young men exiting the brothels who are seeking new pathways. Funds have provided on-going schooling for primary and high school aged children in the poorer areas of Thailand from where children are often trafficked and provide education to the families of these students. Support is provided to legal organisations to assist with arrests and prosecutions of those involved in the cyber-sex space and help rebuild lives with medical, counselling, employment and educational opportunities for those escaping the sex industry.

One of our Partners suggests that it costs approximately AUD1500 to rescue, make safe and work towards restoration of a trafficked young person. Recognising that no two cases are identical, this is an example of the dollars necessary to bring someone out of slavery and see them restored to society.

To learn more about The Pong visit:

Matt Maudlin.  E: M: 0407 891 052