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YWCA York raises awareness of human trafficking with Red Sand Project

Olivia Miller
York Dispatch
YWCA York logo

YWCA York is highlighting Human Trafficking Awareness Month in January with an art installation, the Red Sand Project, on Friday. 

YWCA York and the York County Human Trafficking Task Force are promoting the event for the third year in a row. 

Julie Himler, the community education director at YWCA York, said the Red Sand Project is a visual art installation in which people pour red sand into sidewalk cracks. 

“We fill in the cracks in the street to symbolize not letting victims fall through the cracks,” Himler said. 

The Red Sand Project begins at noon Friday, Jan. 10, at the YWCA, 320 E. Market St. Participants are encouraged to take pictures and post online using the hashtag #RedSandProject and #YWCAYORK. 

Pennsylvania ranks seventh nationwide for human trafficking, with 275 reported cases, according to Himler. 

“It’s horrific, and nobody should have to experience it,” she said. 

Most tips about human trafficking are reported by community members, according to Himler. 

“It’s really important that people know what the signs are and what to do if they suspect something’s happening,” she said. 

YWCA York provides resources to the victims of human trafficking, including emergency shelters, trauma counseling and intensive case management. 

The York County Human Trafficking Task Force has created educational programs for law enforcement, behavioral health providers, medical professionals and agencies working with vulnerable youth. 

“We want this to be a safer community to live in,” Himler said. “We want to play a part in not only ending it but bringing help to survivors.”