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GWU race, theater production target human trafficking
Organizers from last year's Rescue Race celebrate raising $3,464 - enough to fund the rescue of three child slaves. They hope to raise even more at this year's race.

Two organizations at Gardner-Webb University (GWU) are working to raise awareness about human trafficking, and they are doing it from very different perspectives and in very different ways.
First, on Saturday, September 14, 2019, Release the Captives (RTC), GWU's on-campus anti-human trafficking club, is sponsoring its fourth annual 5K Rescue Race. All money raised at the race will go to Challenging Heights, an anti-slavery organization that fights to rescue and rehabilitate children in Ghana.
"Challenging Heights is a non-profit organization based in Ghana, Africa, that works to rescue and rehabilitate enslaved children who have been trafficked in the fishing industry off of Lake Volta," says Aalliyah Perkins, RTC treasurer. More information about Challenging Heights is available at
"It costs a little over $1000 to rescue one child," says Perkins. "Last year we raised $3,464, and with that amount Challenging Heights was able to rescue three children off of Lake Volta. All participants and volunteers of the race will have the privilege of being a part of ending slavery for good."
Race participants are invited to run or walk the 5K, says Perkins. "The cost is $20 for members of the community and $15 for students. One hundred percent of the registration cost will be donated to Challenging Heights to rescue and rehabilitate children who are victims of slavery."
Registration for the race is available online until the morning of the race at
www.gardner-webb.edu/rescue-race-2019. Check-in will begin at 8:15 a.m., and the race will begin at 9 a.m. For those who cannot participate in the race but would still like to donate, there is also a "Donate" tab on the registration website.
For more information about RTC or the 5K, send an email to gwurescuerace@gmail.com.
In addition to the Rescue Race, this year GWU's theatre department is also helping to raise awareness about human trafficking - specifically in the United States - with its fall production of Everybody's Moving, an original play commissioned by GWU last year.
"The play came about because Gardner-Webb has been working hard to increase awareness of human trafficking, and we wanted to do a play that tackled the issue in some way," says Dr. Chris Nelson, chair of the GWU theatre department. "I asked my friend, playwright John Patrick Bray, if I could commission him to write a play about that subject for us to do here at Gardner-Webb. He and his associate Jake Hunsbusher wrote Everybody's Moving, which is the result of this collaboration."
The playwrights took an unconventional look at a very tough subject, Nelson says. "They wanted to focus less on the aspects of the trade itself, and more on the ubiquity of it, and how many people can be complicit in the spread of human trafficking in this country and internationally. This play, I think, sheds light on that."
The play runs Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 3-5, 2019, at 7:30 p.m. each evening and Sunday, Oct. 6, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the general public are $10 and are available by calling the box office at 704-406-4656 or by emailing ashauf@gardner-webb.edu. Viewer discretion is advised for this very serious topic.

By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media

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