A Project to Bring Awareness of Human Trafficking is Under Foot
Written by Cait Thompson
This fall, East Ridge students and staff members were greeted by an odd sight. The cracks in the sidewalks had been filled to create one continuous surface leading up to the school doors. Someone had used red sand to pad the gaps between the pavement. Despite the sand’s obscurity, it opens a new conversation surrounding human trafficking.
The National Art Honors Society student board had been looking for a meaningful way to provide community service opportunities for the East Ridge student body. Mrs. Frisco, one of the adult coordinators, stumbled across the Red Sand Project’s hashtag on a Facebook page. “It’s a modern day abolitionist movement against human trafficking,” explains Mrs. Frisco. Most people aren’t aware of how far human trafficking reaches, especially students who have the ability to make a difference regarding the future of human trafficking.
40 million people are victims of human trafficking. Out of that number, roughly 60,000 victims are in the United States according to the Red Sand Project’s website. Over 50% of victims are women and young girls, 26% of which are under the age of 18 to be sold into both sex and labor slavery. To put it in better perspective, that’s 10.4 million children.
“When you see the numbers it’s, ‘oh my God!’ You don’t realize how many people are affected until you see the numbers on an official sheet of paper,” senior student and NAHS public relations member, Mridula Arun recalls. “You end up wanting to raise awareness so people can work together to prevent human trafficking from happening.” The emotional response from these numbers pushed students to get evolved with the project.
One of this school year’s themes is Unity. One of the goals of this project is to create one East Ridge while raising awareness among students by learning how to speak out respectfully and know the facts to make a difference. Mrs. Frisco hopes that East Ridge students can become more aware of each other and the world around us.
As Mridula says, “anyone can do art, it’s just what you take away from it.” The Red Sand Project uses this to its advantage to spread awareness of those undergoing the emotional and physical trauma victims go through each day.