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szdaily -> Kaleidoscope -> 
‘Planet Prancer’ dances across US to fight modern slavery
    2018-09-06  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

IF you traveled on Route 66 in the western U.S. this summer, there’s a chance you caught a glimpse of a man dancing along in a neon tutu and headband, waving to passers-by.

That was Ben Hammond, the self-proclaimed “Planet Prancer,” who has made it his mission to boogie every step from California to New York City.

He’s raising funds for Anti-Slavery International, a U.K.-based charity fighting human trafficking around the globe.

“In terms of why dancing — or prancing ... I felt it was a really good symbol of the freedom that I have,” 40-year-old Hammond said. “When I’m dancing and I’m dancing free, I feel free, so why not take that and take that message out into the world?”

Hammond began his journey in April after saving enough money to travel from his home in London to the United States, and securing lodging with charitable hosts or discounted motels.

The full-time teacher and lecturer can only progress during his vacation time, making this a long-term endurance dancing feat.

The dedicated Brit finished more than 1,200 kilometers on the first chunk of his trip before returning back to London last week.

“Next summer the most I can hope to achieve is to get halfway through the United States, so in all honesty it’s going to take me about four years to get from beginning to end. But I’m committed to this and I’m going to give it a go, all I’ve got,” Hammond said.

Along the way, he has found that people are more often curious than cautious of his eccentric mission, some sharing their own stories about how they’ve been impacted by human trafficking.

Grooving to music he blasts from a small stereo and carrying his supplies in a flag-adorned buggy that he named “Barbara,” Hammond logs anywhere from 14 to 60 kilometers per day, depending on terrain.

But this isn’t his first cross-country dancing trek. In 2012 and 2013, he danced from the top to the bottom of Great Britain.

Hammond has raised more than US$6,000 for Anti-Slavery International, quickly closing in on his goal.

In a statement, an Anti-Slavery International spokesperson said of Hammond: “With an estimated 40 million people in slavery across the world, we urgently need to build a modern abolition movement that will end it for good. With supporters like Ben, we are confident that we will succeed sooner rather than later.”

(SD-Agencies)

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