Gardner-Webb Students Find Passion and Purpose through Human Trafficking Awareness Week

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Campus Events Raise Awareness and Offer Opportunities for Future Service March 1-6

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – An estimated two million children are forced, sold, or abducted into sexual slavery every year and around 27 million people worldwide are considered victims of modern-day slavery.  In an effort to bring awareness to the global tragedy of human trafficking, Gardner-Webb University will host its annual Human Trafficking Awareness Week March 1-6.  Several special events are planned to take place throughout the week.

The week kicks off Saturday, March 1 with the “Rave to Save,” planned in the Tucker Student Center from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.  The cost of admission is two toiletry items for donation.

A field trip is planned on Monday, March 3 at 3 p.m.  Participants will travel to see fair trade chocolate being made locally.  The Tuesday Dimensions program at 9:25 a.m. will feature Joe McCann, the church engagement and volunteer coordinator for World Relief High Point (High Point, N.C.).  He will share with students and members of the community in the Paul Porter Arena, located in the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center.

“As a part of Human Trafficking Awareness Week at GWU, Joe McCann will be sharing how human trafficking is not just an international issue, but a local one,” said Stephanie Capps, director of Student Leadership Development and Community Engagement. “He will share the reality of trafficking in our own state and what we can do to make a difference.”

On Tuesday at 7 p.m., GWU Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Brooke Thompson will offer a talk titled “Psychology of the Victim.”  At 8 p.m., Mark Blackwell from Justice Ministries-Charlotte will discuss how human trafficking is much closer than many think with a session titled “In Our Backyard.”  Both lectures will be held in Tucker Student Center’s Hope Hall.

A Human Trafficking Awareness Fair is planned for Wednesday, March 5 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Tucker Student Center.  The fair will give students an opportunity to learn more about the social effects of human slavery and help connect them to agencies and organizations that are committed to the “End It Movement.”

The week’s activities will culminate with an open mic night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Broad River Coffee Company in the Tucker Student Center.  Free coffee will be offered to student attendees.

The week’s events are sponsored by the GWU Office of Student Leadership & Community Engagement and the GWU student trafficking awareness group, “Release.” For more information on the “End It Movement,” visit  For details on the GWU events, contact

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University blends a liberal arts core curriculum with more than 55 specialized major and minor programs, a comprehensive academic experience grounded in a Christian environment of service, leadership, and intellectual freedom.