Chattanooga non-profits participate in human trafficking awareness movement
The Red Sand Project is a movement that is meant to bring awareness to the sinister reality of human trafficking by packing attention grabbing red sand into the cracks of sidewalks. Several local nonprofits participated in the movement today at The Aloft Hotel in Chattanooga.
Experts with the Red Sand Project report there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
Chattanooga is said to be the Second biggest hub for sex trafficking in the Southeast.
Inza Hagins-Dyer is the Executive Director with Love’s Arm. She pointed to a study that reports one reason behind this high ranking, the city’s large trucking industry.
“Another study that was particular to our area is that there seems to be a major conduit for tracking and that is the long haul trucking industry. Over 10,000, long haul carriers traveled through our city each day. We find that can be the hub of trafficking on the streets, the hotels, and motels of our city. You know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it, that such things are happening in our own city,”said Hagins-Dyer. “In 2019, there was a study done by the Mayor’s Council of Women that found that the majority of those being trafficked in Chattanooga are females, many of whom, who entered into trafficking under the age of 18. The national average for the age of traffic is 15. It’s not just females, there’s men and women, but mostly children, boys and girls.”
Coty Wamp takes office as Hamilton County’s first ever female District Attorney in September. She said addressing this is something citizens can expect to see more of.
“One more thing that you’re gonna see my office focus on for the next eight years, is the word victim, and the word
survivor. There are survivors here that I have personally heard from that I appreciate so much in this community that are a voice for all of the survivors. We’re going to talk about it more often. Too often, our system focuses on defendants and the facts of crimes, instead of talking about the survivors. We’re going to be survivor focused, we’re gonna dedicate more resources, to victims and awareness,” said Wamp. ” It happens locally. It happens a mile from their house. It happens all over our city. That’s why this is so important.”
In a 2017 study an estimated 1 out of 7 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims, 88% were in the care of social services or foster care at the time of their runaway.
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is available to answer calls and texts 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call 1-888-373-7888