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Rescue Games fight against human trafficking with CrossFit competition

Della and Anna Powell will never forget the pain they witnessed when visiting victims of sex trafficking in Thailand.

“The pain you saw on the people and the darkness you saw related to human trafficking was incredible,” Anna said. “Seeing the full circle of where the girls come from and where they end up, and the dysfunction in the country will definitely stick with me for a long time.”

After visiting Thailand and being exposed to human sex trafficking first hand, Della and Anna decided to organize a CrossFit fundraiser in order to raise funds to rebuild a dilapidated barn in Thailand that will house more than 60 girls rescued from trafficking.

The Powells, certified CrossFit and Tactical Athlete trainers, are a mother and daughter team that leads Grace and Grit Fitness group that runs a CrossFit, a strength and conditioning fitness trend gaining popularity, out of Lutz.

When they visited Thailand for three weeks in August with Rescue1, an umbrella organization of Compassionate Hope, a Christian organization that performs global relief work, the Powells met girls rescued from human trafficking and toured their current living facilities.

Before their trip, Della had already formulated a way to help the girls rescued from human trafficking.

The Rescue Games, a CrossFit event, will be held Saturday at 8:30 a.m. in Seaplane Basin Park at Davis Island Parks. The Rescue Games is looking for sponsors, volunteers and CrossFit competitors.

“The Rescue Games is a team athletic competition designed to give the youth an avenue to join the fight against trafficking,” Della said. “We will be tire flipping, relaying with slosh pipes, using battling ropes and lots more. Our event is 100 percent volunteer with 97 percent of monies raised going directly to the housing fund.”

All athletes and fitness enthusiasts are invited to participate in the CrossFit competitions. In order to compete, each team needs to be comprised of four people, consisting of two men and two women.

“I developed the Rescue Games from one picture I saw before the trip,” Della said. “It was of king size mattresses lined up wall to wall in the second floor of a dilapidated barn, with four little girls per mattress. To say it is dilapidated is being very generous.”

During the event, only 25 co-ed teams will be allowed and space is limited to a total of 100 participants.

Powell said the Rescue Games will be a fitness challenge similar to a CrossFit competition, but with fewer technical skills and no barbells. Athletes should be prepared to complete various kettlebell lifts, hand-to-hand kettlebell drills, rope climbs and dead lifts.

Fees are $140 per team, or $40 per person.

Other side events for everyone will feature a jeep push, tug of war, tire slam, tire flips and more.

One of the sponsors, Vic Amuso, owner of ParableSoft, said he hopes the Rescue Games will become an ongoing part of the fitness competition landscape in Florida and beyond.

“The mission is extremely important as human trafficking may be one of the most vile crimes against humanity,” Amuso said. “The objective of the Rescue Games is to raise both awareness and funds to fight what seems to be a war that our government isn’t paying attention to.”