People in Cleveland participate in Red Sand Project

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CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) — People in Cleveland are bringing awareness about the human trafficking issue in a creative way.

Red sand is going in the cracks of pavement in front of the Bradley County Courthouse.
People gathered to participate in the Red Sand Project.

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“To literally fill cracks in the ground with sand as an image that we are not going to let our communities fall through the crack we are not going to let one person fall through the crack when it comes to taking a dent in human trafficking,” said Sarah Cantrell, with WillowBend Farms.

WillowBend Farms helped organize this event. They are a restoration program for women who are victims of human trafficking.

“People do not believe that it happens in Bradley County and Cleveland City. The number one question I get asked when people come to find out that we work with human trafficking survivors is does it really happen here and my answer is always yes,” said Sarah McKinnis, with WillowBend Farms.

The Family Violence Program Offers support.

“What we will do is we will house the victims of human trafficking at our shelter and help provide some case management where needed and connect them to Willowbend or Second Life in Chattanooga depending on what county they are from,” said Tempest Melvin, with the Family Violence Program.

Organizers say it’s important for people to learn about this issue.

“The biggest way to combat human trafficking is awareness, education and prevention, so we not only work with human trafficking survivors, but we are very focused in the education awareness piece,” McKinnis said.

People of all ages showed up to participate and learn about prevention efforts.

“The favorite part of today was watching the kids of our community pouring the sand in the cracks. Sitting on the ground and pouring it out with their parents along side and really just bringing awareness because we really want to change the face of human trafficking for generations,” McKinnis said.