The Crimes Victim Council and the Office of Survivor Support and Intimacy Education collaborated to host the Red Sand Event, a collaborative art project designed to spread awareness about human trafficking.
Rachel Knoblauch, a member of the Crimes Victim Council, said students were welcomed to the event outside of Rauch Business Center on Oct. 25. The location of the project made it visible to people walking around campus.
Participants filled the sidewalk cracks with red sand — symbolizing human trafficking victims who fell through the cracks — while learning more about the issue.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, where individuals are transported and coerced to perform labor or often a sexual service.
Knoblauch helped plan the event and spoke on the significance of the Red Sand Project.
“It’s a good conversation starter to get people asking and talking more about human trafficking, the warning signs, what to look out for and how we can help individuals out altogether,” Knoblauch said. “This does not have to happen on a certain day. In fact, we think it’s really good to kind of spread it throughout the year that way more people are talking about it all the time.”
Knoblauch said people of all demographics can become a victim of human trafficking, and it can occur anywhere in the world.
Jaime Leauber, a community engagement officer for the Lehigh police, said she encourages Lehigh students to exercise safety measures, as the Lehigh Valley is no exception to human trafficking.
“The main thing is being cautious on putting all your information out there,” Leauber said. “You really want to know somebody before you give them information or send them pictures of yourself. It is insane how much a person can get to know you just by what you put out there on social media.”
Students at the Red Sand event learned about how they can maintain their safety on campus and how they can prevent themselves from entering unsafe situations.
Rachel Enache, ‘27, shared how she stays safe on campus, like downloading an app called Birdie, which allows her to sound an alarm if she feels unsafe.
“Always check HawkWatch, and if you’re walking alone at night, (make) sure your friends have your location,” Enache said. “It’s really important.”
For people who want to be more involved and educated on the issue of human trafficking, there is a Voice of Survivors art event on Nov. 2 from 3:30-7 p.m., located at 3835 Green Pond Road, and a Lehigh Valley Anti-Trafficking Candlelight Vigil on Nov. 6 from 6-8 p.m. at 2132 S. 12th St.