Red Sand Project raises human trafficking awareness

Gabe Dakake, Staff Writer

Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer visits LB with the Red Sand Project. Scherzer was supporting his wife, Erica May-Scherzer, in her efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking. Photo courtesy of Sandy Baney

“There are more people enslaved now than there have ever been, and we probably don’t even notice it,” teacher Paul Agner said.

On April 4, 2017, the Teachers for Tomorrow group, and many other classes joined in laying red sand in all the cracks in the LB sidewalk from Door 1 to Door 14. The laying of red sand is to raise awareness for the 36 million people that are enslaved right now, here and around the world.

“[The red sand] symbolizes that no one should fall through the cracks and  into human trafficking [or slavery],” seventh grader, Mallory Agner said. “Its showing us that we step over the cracks every day without noticing, just like how some people don’t notice the people that need help [around them].”

Slavery in the modern world is more hidden. It includes things like debt bondage, migrant working, sex trafficking, and blackmail bondage. The movement began with a similar display to the one at LB, at Nationals Park, where activists put red sand in the cracks the the sidewalk cracks there. The project was begun by artist-activist Molly Gochman.

Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer signs a jersey while visiting LB with the Red Sand Project.  Photo courtesy of Sandy Baney   

We had about 250 people [laying red sand] to begin with, and as word spread as to what we were doing, more classes came out,” Agner said. “We covered the entire sidewalk from one end of the building to the other with individuals doing 4 oz bags each.”

“The red sand highlights the fact that you walk by crack in the sidewalk every day,” Agner said. “We’ve gotten so used to the cracks that we don’t even notice them and no one stops to repair them. So what we’ve done is we’ve put the red sand in the cracks, so that you notice the crack, and when you notice the crack you might be more aware of what’s around you, We walk past people in desperate need every day and we don’t notice them because we’re so used to it. We want people to starting looking around and thinking is there someone in need of help.”