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Original performance creates awareness of human trafficking

Friday, December 14, 2012
  • Corban junior Hayley Dawson performs a scene from “Freedom from the Night.”

 

When Corban University junior Kirstie Walrath first learned about human trafficking, it made her sick…and angry.

In response, she became passionate about the need to make people aware of the pandemic of forced prostitution and modern slavery and helped create an original stage production to do it. On Jan. 19, Walrath and a cast of Corban and other students will perform “Freedom from the Night” for the Salem community.

“When we performed Cinderella last November (2011) as a benefit for Shared Hope International, it opened my eyes to the problem,” Walrath said. “After that I read ‘Renting Lacy’ about a young girl who was drawn into sex trafficking. It showed me how easy it is to be lured into that life and how it can be impossible to get out.”

“Freedom from the Night” is loosely based on that book and utilizes drama, dance and monologue to show the story of a young woman lured into prostitution. Walrath chose three songs epitomizing stages of the woman’s ordeal.

“I didn’t realize it at the time I chose them, but all three songs reference chains of bondage and breaking free,” she said. “They fit perfectly with what I was trying to present.” During summer 2012, she formed Klados Ministries with help from Faith Covenant Church in Sumner, Wash. She traveled with a group of other actors and dancers to churches and events across the Pacific Northwest. This enabled Walrath to teach others about the prevalence of human trafficking.

“I met one woman who was crying and told me she was trafficked,” Walrath said. “She said the show was ‘so realistic and right on.’” Walrath recently became an ambassador of hope for Shared Hope International and will use the upcoming performance as a benefit for that non-profit. Shared Hope is based in Vancouver, Wash., and is helping fight human trafficking worldwide.

The free performance will be held in the Psalm Performing Arts Center on Corban’s Salem campus. It begins at 7 p.m. Corban University is located at 5000 Deer Park Dr. SE in Salem. For more information about the show, e-mail Walrath at kirstiewalrath@corban.edu.