Locals raise awareness of human trafficking through Red Sand Project

HAYWOOD & CROCKETT COUNTY, Tenn. — The Red Sand Project brings awareness to a major public health concern: human trafficking.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, 40.3 million people are in modern slavery today.

Local leaders, WRAP, the Haywood County Health Department and various other organizations met at 1 Safe Place Family Justice Center in Brownsville Monday morning to bring awareness.

“By placing red sand in the cracks on the sidewalk, it symbolizes the victims and what happens to them,” said Renee Bowman, prevention education coordinator for WRAP. “They fall through the cracks into the darkness and by pouring sand into the cracks, that brings light to the situation and awareness.”

1 Safe Place Director Jasmine Dowell says the latest statistics for Tennessee show 165 reported cases of human trafficking in 2020.

“It goes back to what is actually reported,” Dowell said. “I think it’s going on way more than we think. But unfortunately not all of it is reported.”

Locally, they have helped two victims get the services that they need and want.

“We have served two human trafficking victims within the year we’ve been open, and we’ve just provided them with basic needs, said Dowell. “So soap, clothing, food and different things like that. One of them has been able to get therapy support from one of our WRAP advocates.”

The Crockett County Health Department also took part in bringing awareness.

Employees stepped outside to fill their sidewalks with red sand on Monday as well.

If you would like to participate in the Red Sand Project, pour red sand in a sidewalk crack and share it on social media with the hashtags #redsandprojecttn and #ithastostop.

If you or someone you know is a victim of abuse, you can contact 1 Safe Place at (731) 432-4251. They are located at 110 North Russell Avenue in Brownsville, open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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