By Maristela Romero

Students Ending Slavery  partnered up with this university’s chapter of Oxfam America and UMD Athletics to raise awareness about human trafficking and refugees on a local and global scale through their annual 5K For Freedom April 6.

The event began at McKeldin Mall’s sundial where participating organizations set up information booths for registrants and curious passersby.

Members of Oxfam UMD came equipped with leaflets that spread their purpose as an organization.

“Anything related to issues of justice, Oxfam will raise awareness and they have a lot of petitions that people can sign [to enact change],” Danie Stewart, an Oxfam member and freshman government and politics major, said. “Right now our big campaign specifically related to this event is for refugees in Syria. So we’re raising funds for that.”

Students Ending Slavery Co-president Hugo Santos led the 5K through campus. He included planned simulations in which each participant was given a role to explore the lives of refugees and human trafficking victims.

“Throughout the race, they must make choices regarding their character to try and escape trafficking and live a healthy life,” Santos, a senior economics major, said.

The women’s field hockey team helped organize the event and came out to participate after teaming up with UNICEF for human trafficking under the Women In Leadership Development  program.

“As a team it was just best for us to go out and support the school and do community things outside of sports and this was a good opportunity to do that,” said Mayv Clune, a freshman agribusiness major.

The women’s field hockey members were also inspired by a  professor at this university who held a discussion for the team that brought up the issue of human trafficking in the world.

“We didn’t realize [human trafficking] was such a big problem so we just wanted to create more awareness about it,” Madison Maguire, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said.

Profits made will be split between Students Ending Slavery , Oxfam and UMD Athletics. Students Ending Slavery will be contributing their share to the UMD SAFE Center, a local organization that provides services for human trafficking victims in Maryland.

Featured Photo Credit: Students Ending Slavery members and a Safe Center staff member at this university hosted an information booth at the 5K.

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