Red Sand Project is an international effort that began with an artist from New York named Molly Gochman. She spread red sand in sidewalk cracks to bring awareness to human trafficking and its victims who’ve fallen through the cracks of society and have been lost, ignored or forgotten.
Zonta Club of Billings brought Red Sand Project to Billings in 2018 with the help of the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force.
It’s important to know Red Sand is more than just spreading sand. The last 4 years of Red Sand in Billings has brought education and awareness in the form of trainings for businesses, churches, local government, schools and more. Red Sand collaborates with victim service organizations to help support their efforts and bring resources to the community. Red Sand volunteers in Billings have handed out thousands of packets of sand and information on human trafficking to the community as well as bringing in important experts, survivors and survivor advocates to speak. According to the National Human Trafficking hotline and experts working in human trafficking, a problem exists in every town in Montana with Yellowstone County as a hot spot. Volunteers working in human trafficking prevention and awareness want to help end the demand and educate the public on how human trafficking happens in Montana.
Human Trafficking does not usually happen like the movie taken. The average age a person is first trafficked is 12-14 yrs. It’s estimated half of victims are first exploited by a close friend or family member. Traffickers target vulnerable young people who have often already been a victim of some form or abuse or neglect not not always. 1 in 3 runaways are contacted by a trafficker within 48 hours of leaving home. Vulnerable victims may be asked to trade sex or labor for food or a warm place to sleep.
“ Traffickers play on a victim’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They prey on the longings of the victim’s heart and fill psychological wounds the victim has from a previous life experience. ” PolarisProject.org
text 233733 (BeFree) 1-9PM MST
Billings Police Department 406.657.8200
Billings Tumbleweed 888-816-4702
Red Sand Project Billings is co-sponsored by Zonta Club of Billings and the Yellowstone County Area Human Trafficking Task Force
Zonta Club of Billings is a part of Zonta International with over 62 countries across the world. It was chartered locally here in 1950. With around 40 members, Zonta works to fulfill its mission to empower women and girls through service and advocacy. Zonta envisions a world in which women’s rights are recognized as human rights and every woman is able to achieve her full potential have access to all resources and are represented in decision making positions on an equal basis with men. In such a world, no woman lives in fear of violence. In Billings, Zonta does much to locally including working to provide grants and scholarships in the community, fight domestic violence and human trafficking and working to provide uplift and empower women and girls in the Billings for many years. www.billingszonta.org
The Human Trafficking Task Force was created in 2016 to help coordinate the efforts of law enforcement, service providers, community groups and volunteers in Yellowstone County and the surrounding areas. To support them in their work to investigate and prosecute traffickers, assist victms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, and to increase awareness and prevent future trafficking. The mission of the Task Force is to eliminate human trafficking in Yellowstone County and surrounding areas. The task force is composed of 3 MAIN committees 1. Prosecution & Law Enforcement 2. Protection and Victim Services and 3. Prevention and Community Awareness Committee. Stoptraffickingmontana@gmail.com