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Amazing Race races money to fight human trafficking

Throwing Cheetos into a shaving cream beard was one of the many ways Amazing Race competitors fought human trafficking Saturday.

The competition, modeled after the hit CBS reality show of the same name, was hosted by More Than Words, a new human rights group, in partnership with Connor community government.

The race was a smorgasbord of challenges as teams of six competed against one another to win a cash prize of $150. Events included a multitude of running challenges along with a unique Cheeto-throwing competition.

The event’s $10 registration fee went to Stella’s Voice and Stop Child Trafficking Now, national organizations that fight human trafficking.

Human trafficking is the trade of people, most often for sexual slavery. Many in the United States view human trafficking as a third-world issue, but it is very prominent domestically, said Dashiell Mace6, president of More Than Words.

“There are hundreds of thousands of children at risk to be trafficked every year,” said Mace, a sophomore business administration major, before the event. “Child trafficking in the United States is the second largest criminal industry.”

Mace said North Carolina has one of the highest rates of human trafficking crime in the United States.

Sophomore Brianna Gaddy, who participated in the Amazing Race, said she did not know much about the severity of human trafficking in the United States before she arrived at UNC.

“I did not know about it until I took Geography 121, where we talked about it a lot,” said Gaddy, a global studies major. “It was especially important because North Carolina is a such a hub for child trafficking — which is a bad thing, obviously.”

Gaddy said she was glad the issue is receiving increased attention.

“I feel like people think that human trafficking is something that is just out there, so I think the first step is definitely awareness,” she said.

Participants Lucas John agreed that a problem as large and multifaceted as human trafficking cannot be solved overnight, but they said they are excited to raise awareness.

“The hope is that interest in combatting this will grow and people will want to make their own change,” John said. “I am not expecting anything revolutionary overnight, but this is a good start.”

Though Kuster acknowledged that the Amazing Race was not going to end human trafficking, he appreciated the organization’s efforts.

“I think it is a good start to have practical things like this for people to do on campus,” Kuster said.

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