Walking up to the World Theatre this past weekend, April 7-9, you would have noticed red sand in the cracks of the sidewalks in front of the ticket booth. This past week, the University of Nebraska at Kearney chapter of International Justice Mission(IJM) has been spreading awareness of human trafficking.
Members of IJM stood for 24 hours this past Wednesday on campus to honor all victims, but also helped sponsor a film, “The Whistleblower,” shown over the weekend at the Kearney World Theatre.
By dumping the red sand in the sidewalk cracks, IJM portrays the work of an artist who is bringing awareness to human trafficking. Molly Gochman, a human rights activist and artist, has started a movement of placing red sand in the cracks of sidewalks. “These interventions remind us that we can’t merely walk over the most marginalized people in our communities — those who fall through the metaphoric cracks,” Gochman says on her website. The sand represents the people with families, dreams and aspirations, while the cracks represent the slavery keeping them from those dreams.
“One of our big focuses this year, of IJM, has been advocating for those in Nebraska who have been trafficked.” -Jase Hueser
“The Whistleblower” is a representation of what children go through when they are involved in human trafficking. It shows that not even the trustworthy can be trusted. This film presents a female police officer who finds the courage to help these girls and to attempt to give them a small ray of hope while in the hands of corrupt people. The film is based upon the actual experiences of a U.N peacekeeper from Nebraska who exposed a sex trafficking ring in Bosnia that was ignored and covered up by the U.N.
Unfortunately, human trafficking happens not only in other countries but in the state of Nebraska. With Interstate 80 being the most central road in the country, it is a common route taken by traffickers.
Jase Hueser, a sophomore, visual design major from Papillion, also a member of the UNK Chapter of IJM, said after the film it presents awareness of several statistics.
“One of our big focuses this year, of IJM, has been advocating for those in Nebraska who have been trafficked,” Hueser said. He said that there are been approximately 900 people, in sex slavery specifically, sold every month in Nebraska. “It really is on our hearts to make that known in as many ways as we can,” he said. When traveling in these commonly trafficked areas, be aware of what is around you and stay alert. Keep your eye out, specifically around gas stations or truck stops.
To find out how to help International Justice Mission, you can check out their Facebook page under the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
To learn more information on the red sand project and how you can help spread awareness, visit https://redsandproject.org/about/.
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