SEMO sorority raises awareness for human trafficking with red sand

Updated: May. 9, 2018 at 4:31 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you've been in Downtown Cape Girardeau lately, you may have seen some cracks filled with red sand. It's a project that many feel something important that needs to be addressed.

Over a dozen SEMO Gamma Sigma Sigma members are raising awareness on human trafficking with red sand.

They gathered in Downtown Cape Girardeau last week and filled concrete cracks with the red sand in hopes it would attract attention.

"I just wanted other people to know," Anna Foppe said. "I'm sure other people didn't know about it too. It was more of a learning experience that I became passionate about."

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Foppe said she was surprised to learn that human trafficking, not only happens in the U.S. but in Missouri, as well as, the surrounding states.

"I kind of thought that it happens more overseas, but I learned that it actually happens in the United States and even in Missouri a lot!" Foppe said. "I had no idea. So the fact that I didn't know anything about how prevalent it was, was really scary."

The Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork that used sidewalk interventions, earthwork installations and to create the opportunity for people to question and to persuade taking action against vulnerabilities that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation.

Molly Gochman created the Red Sand Project in 2014 and is dedicated to helping reduce demand for slaves and alleviate vulnerabilities that make populations susceptible to be trafficked.

"The lady that created it is an artist," Foppe explained. "She did it as a display for the cracks in the sidewalks that are things that we don't look at everyday but they are there. And they are kind of issues but we don't really think about fixing them. She did it to draw attention to what we look over every single day."

Foppe said the red sand in the sidewalks is a unique awareness event to get people's attention.

"This kind of forces people to wonder what's going on and to look up why the red said is there, it draws attention to what we don't pay attention to," Foppe said.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Missouri has been mentioned in more than 420 reported calls that the hotline has received in 2018 so far.

If you detect any issues or have concerns with human trafficking or slavery, contact your local law enforcement.

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