Tennessee communities participating in Red Sand Project to raise awareness of human trafficking

Published 12:39 pm Thursday, July 21, 2022

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The Tennessee Department of Health and community partners across the state will come together during Human Trafficking Awareness Week, July 24-30, to participate in the Red Sand Project.
The Red Sand Project is an interactive art exhibition designed to bring awareness, recognize and help to end human trafficking. The red sand in the sidewalk installations is created to show how human trafficking survivors have fallen in the cracks in society.
“We want organizations, community partners, and advocates to come together for people in our communities,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Morgan McDonald. “With this project, we hope the sight of red sand in cracks in the sidewalk will keep victims from falling through the cracks in our awareness and systems meant to support them.”
Human trafficking, also known as modern day slavery, continues to remain a major public health concern. It is estimated that 40.3 million people are being trafficked worldwide. In 2020, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 10,583 trafficking situations, with 165 cases reported in Tennessee.
“Tennessee communities need to be aware that human trafficking can happen to anyone anywhere,” said Tennessee Department of Family Health and Wellness Assistant Commissioner, Tobi Adeyeye Amosun, MD, FAAP. “We want every member of the community to be aware of risk factors for human trafficking and know how to connect potential victims with assistance.”
Communities across the state will be creating art installations by pouring natural, non-toxic red sand in sidewalk cracks as well as hosting educational events and providing resources. To find a Red Sand Project event near you, please reach out to your local health department or visit a local Welcome Center.
Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking, however, some groups are more vulnerable due to risk factors and are targeted by traffickers. Risk factors include recent migration or relocation, substance use, mental health concerns, involvement with the child welfare system and/or being a runaway or homeless youth. If you know someone who needs help to escape trafficking, contact the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484.

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