COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — More than 100 people rappelled off the side of a building in downtown Columbus on Friday to raise awareness for child sex trafficking prevention.
At this year’s Over The Edge event, rappelers scaled down the Chase Tower building’s 26 stories to raise money for Gracehaven, a local, faith-based nonprofit aimed at ending youth sex trafficking. Based in Columbus, Gracehaven provides victims and survivors safe housing, therapy, mentoring and family support.
While it’s not always visible, child sex trafficking happens in central Ohio, according to Gracehaven Executive Director Scott Arnold. Belaying people over the edge of Chase Tower, he said, is a great way for the nonprofit to share its mission.
“This is a little bit of an unusual event, but it raises a lot of awareness like what is this, why do you do this, does that really happen?” Arnold said. “The answer is yes, sadly.”
First-time rappeler Brittany Flack said she is happy to take the 26-story jump; it’s for a good cause and her own personal growth.
“When you get out of your shell and be actually a part of things that are going on around you, you open up your eyes a little bit more and get involved with other things and helping people out,” Flack said.
While going down, participants are reminded that the fear of rappelling 26 stories is nothing like the fear of a child being sex trafficked.
“It’s real, it happens, it’s horrific when it does, and it happens right here in our city,” Arnold said. “At Gracehaven we serve a lot of great kids who are in a really tough place in life, and we invite you to join us in serving a really needy population.”
Gracehaven leaders believe they’ll raise around $250,000 for Over The Edge once all is said and done.