NewsMontana and Regional News


Red Sand Project raises awareness of human trafficking

Posted at 7:26 AM, Apr 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-10 09:30:09-04

MISSOULA — On April 8, in partnership with several other organizations, the Missoula Human Trafficking Task Force filled in cracks of the sidewalk down the Hip Strip.

It is part of The Red Sand Project, a way to bring awareness to sexual violence and human trafficking.

It is an artistic symbol, one that raises all the right questions when asked.

At the setup outside of the Jeannette Rankin Peace Center, people fill in cracks with red sand. It's a way of recognizing victims of human trafficking and sexual violence that have fallen through the cracks of society.

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Participant Betsy Curnew is pouring sand due to a personal connection to human trafficking.

“People would be surprised at how frequently it happens and how it's not a respecter of age. And I'm just appreciative of people showing up and trying to show support,” said Curnew.

On April 7, Missoula County joined other partners in recognizing April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Dave Bell with the Missoula Human Trafficking Task Force says that dedicating this month is significant to the bigger picture of human trafficking.

“Awareness is a big topic because domestic violence and sexual violence can lead to human trafficking,” Bell told MTN News.

Signs to look for in a human trafficking victim:

  1. They have no personal possessions
  2. A minor with an unrelated and non-age appropriate looking male or an over-controlling “boyfriend” and sometimes another female, as they can recruit other females to become slaves.
  3. Minors at hotels, strip clubs or truck stops.
  4. Appearance of lack of sleep or nutrition.
  5. Unexplained injuries.

You can help stop human trafficking. If it's an emergency, call 911. For a non-emergency, you can call 1-833-406-STOP.