TDH, communities participating in Red Sand Project to raise awareness of human trafficking

Human Trafficking Awareness Week is July 26-31, 2021


The Tennessee Department of Health and community partners across the state join together for the third consecutive year to participate in the Red Sand Project during Human Trafficking Awareness Week, recognized July 26-31, 2021.


The Red Sand Project is a participatory art installment designed to shed light on human trafficking. The red sand is used to draw attention to the human trafficking victims that fall through the cracks of our society every day. Although Tennessee has been nationally acknowledged for our continuous efforts and improvements, human trafficking continues to remain a major public health concern in our communities. In 2019, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 11,500 trafficking situations, with 180 cases reported in Tennessee.


Counties across the state will be participating in the Red Sand Project by pouring natural, non-toxic red sand in sidewalk cracks, creating yard signs, and many other creative demonstrations throughout their communities. To find a Red Sand Project event near you, please reach out to your local health department or visit your local Welcome Center.


“Addressing human trafficking is a priority in Tennessee,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey, MD, MBA, FAAP. “It is important we raise awareness of human trafficking through initiatives such as this because victims can experience significant trauma that has lasting impacts on them and their families.”


According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, human trafficking is a demand-driven crime that involves exploiting a person for labor, services, or commercial sex acts, particularly targeting women and children. Human Trafficking is also one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the country, with cases reported in all 50 states.


“Human trafficking must be stopped,” said Tennessee Department of Health Family Health and Wellness Division Deputy Medical Director Denise Werner, MD. “By increasing awareness of this hidden crime that can happen in our own communities Tennesseans can make a difference in the lives of victims of human trafficking.”


If you know someone who needs help to escape trafficking, contact the Tennessee Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-855-558-6484.


If you suspect you have come into contact with a victim of human trafficking, you may call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text 233722. Hotline staff members will identify resources in your community.


For more information on human trafficking and the hotline, visit  

Learn more about the Red Sand Project at


The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. Learn more about TDH services and programs at


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