Julia Immonen, lead team coordinator and rower, of the fastest all-female crew to row the Atlantic is available for interview. Motivated to row the Atlantic to bring awareness to human trafficking, Julia’s story will empower readers that EVERYONE can do SOMETHING to make a change in the world. Please email Stephanie.Newton@Harpercollins.com for a review copy and to schedule an interview.
November 2008, Julia Immonen walked out of a theater after watching a movie on human trafficking – a movie that would change her life. After months of educating herself and reaching out to organizations to volunteer, Immonen grew increasingly frustrated over her inability to make a change for this horrific problem. After meeting a survivor, she felt a strong call for action.
Row for Freedom chronicles the all-female team’s journey, weaving together two narratives: the details of the grueling, peril-filled crossing that broke two world records and Julia’s own story of her search for hope and purpose against a background of relationships scarred by violence.
“What am I doing here?” asks Immonen as the row begins. “I’m trying to change the world. I’m trying to do my bit to end one of the greatest social injustices of the last one hundred years. I’m trying to help innocent people regain their freedom and live without fear. I’m here for Alejandra, the girl whose eyes I looked into as she told me how she had been sold into prostitution. I’m here because I promised to cross an ocean for her.”
As Julia’s physical and emotional treks unfold, she highlights the plight of the 30 million victims of the modern-day slave trade, which serves as the motivation for her row. “I’ve thought so much about trafficking,” says Immonen. “What we did was so small compared to the scale of the problem, but it’s clearer than ever that – like Mother Teresa said – we can “do small things with great love.” Not that it compares to the pain of the thirty million, but I loved feeling the pain of the row. Each oar stroke was a small act, but a lot of love was in each one. If you and I and your friends and mine did a whole load of small acts, we’d start to make a real impact on the problem of human trafficking.”
Julia Immonen was born and raised in Finland before moving to the UK when she was six. An avid sportswoman who works for Sky Sports News, one of Julia’s passions is campaigning to end modern-day slavery. She is the founder of Sport for Freedom – an anti-human trafficking charity based in London. She is an international motivational speaker who uses her passion and story to inspire others