Red Sand Project comes to Billings

In this file photo, Ahsha Morin, a volunteer with Operation Underground Railroad, pours red sand into a crack in the sidewalk during the Red Sand Project trafficking awareness event hosted by Zonta Club of Billings at Montana State University Billings in 2018.

Montana State University Billings will host a human trafficking awareness event Thursday. 

The Red Sand Project event is one of many held around the world to visually represent victims of trafficking by pouring red sand into sidewalk cracks. 

"We can’t merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities — those who fall through the metaphoric cracks," the Red Sand Project website reads. 

The project was created by Molly Gochman, a New York City artist and activist. It's been replicated in all 50 states and in 70 countries. 

The event in Billings will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday at MSUB's Peak to Plains Park. 

Speakers include Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; FBI Special Agent Brandon Walter; FBI Victim Advocate Michelle Stewart; and trafficking survivor Savannah Sanders.  

Representatives from Tumbleweed, a youth crisis organization, will speak about their work and the scope of the problem locally. 

Zonta Club of Billings, MSUB Women and Gender Studies and the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force have partnered with Red Sand Project to host the event. 

The event is free and open to the public. 

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