Cracks in sidewalks on Higgins Avenue in downtown Missoula have been filled with red sand to build awareness about human trafficking in Montana and throughout the world.

UM Professor of Social Work and Chair of the Chair of the Missoula Human Trafficking Task Force explained the purpose of the project in front of the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center on Higgins Avenue.

“This is our second annual Red Sand Awareness event, and this year we are collaborating with Vital Voices, a club focusing on sexual assault prevention here at Hellgate High School,” said Werner. “We’re really excited to work with the youth to help us build awareness to the women, men and children who have ‘fallen through the cracks, so to speak, so we’re filling sidewalk cracks with red sand to bring attention and awareness to the issue to make sure that nobody else falls through the cracks and that everybody gets all the help and support they need.”

Madeline Forbiss, an aide to Senator Jon Tester shared a statement from his office.

“Every day, women and children are trafficked across the world and we must do everything that we can to end human trafficking once and for all,” said Forbiss. “As a former member of the Homeland Security Committee, I helped bring down Back Page dot com. and helped to pass legislation that holds these companies that facilitate human trafficking accountable to the full extent of the law.”

Western Montana field representative for Senator Steve Daines, Danielle Tribble shared a statement from the senator.

“This is an issue that affects our communities as a whole as well as individuals, and in order for us to combat this epidemic we need to come together in a united front to work with our local law enforcement, victim advocacy groups and the federal government,” said Tribble. “Last year I introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act which was passed into law as part of the Allow States and Victims to fight online Sex Trafficking Act.”

High School students filled in the sidewalk cracks with red sand from the Jeanette Rankin Peace Center all the way up Higgins to Hellgate High School.