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Students poured red sand into the cracks of campus sidewalks Wednesday to raise awareness about human trafficking.

Students poured red sand into the cracks of campus sidewalks Wednesday to raise awareness about human trafficking.

April 20, 2019

Northwest community joins Red Sand Project to raise awareness


Dozens of Northwest Missouri State University students, faculty and staff gathered Wednesday outside the J.W. Jones Student Union and poured red sand into the cracks of sidewalks to raise awareness of human trafficking.

Members of Northwest’s UNICEF chapter and the Student Senate Inclusion Committee organized the effort as an iteration of the Red Sand Project, a participatory artwork that creates opportunities for people to question, connect and take action against vulnerabilities that could lead to human trafficking and exploitation.

“It was a really good opportunity for us to educate the Northwest community about the issues,” Kathrine Gerhardt, a senior biology and Spanish major from Wentzville, Missouri, who serves as president of the Northwest UNICEF chapter.

According to the Red Sand Project, an estimated 40.3 million people are enslaved worldwide. About 60,000 people in the United States live in slavery, while human trafficking is most prevalent in India.

Associate Professor of History Dr. Elyssa Ford and Green Dot Coordinator Danielle Koonce addressed the gathering with a discussion about the effects of human trafficking and a call to help end it.

“This forces you to have this visual representation of the people who are living in these situations today,” Ford said of the Red Sand Project. “We’re doing this activity, but it’s all going to be temporary. Very quickly it’s all going to blow away, and so hopefully this will be something that will remind you about this issue in the world beyond just today when the sand is physically here.”

Koonce added, “It’s not going to change overnight, so we have to keep sharing those things, keep talking to each other about it because conversation is how we change things.”

To learn more about the Red Sand Project, visit https://redsandproject.org.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468