MCNAIRY COUNTY, Tenn. — People across McNairy County want everyone to know they want to end what one community member calls a money laundering business: human trafficking.
“Human trafficking generates $150 billion a year, and that’s actually more than the profit of Nike, Google and Starbucks combined,” said Bethel Springs City Recorder Deborah Sullivan.
Community members in towns across McNairy County poured red sand on sidewalks to show they don’t want awareness for human trafficking to fall through the cracks.
The McNairy County Chamber headed up the project on Wednesday. They traveled to schools and city parks around the county, pouring sand to educate others and spread awareness.
“To open up the locations like that, and do them all in one day, I think it’s more impactful and brings the awareness to most people’s attention,” said Jessica Huff, Director of Chamber and Tourism for McNairy County Economic Development and Chamber of Commerce.
People poured sand in the shape of Tennessee, along with the three stars on the state flag.
“When I first heard about it, it kind of peaked my interest. I have a daughter, and that’s one of the things she’s always passionate about, is sex trafficking and trying to end it,” Sullivan said.
“I began to research it and began to see the numbers. It broke my heart to know that there are people out there, right there in front of our face and no one is doing anything. Then I thought, ‘Why not me? I can do something,’” Sullivan said.
People in Adamsville poured the last of the red sand, following it up with worship and prayer led by Robin Lees of the Downtown Events Alliance.
“The red sand just reminds us that we don’t want anybody to slip through our hands like the sands of time. We want to fill in those cracks in our communities,” Lees said.
Community members say they want to educate others about human trafficking and show that it’s not welcome in their county.
“We must value life, every life,” Lees said.
Organizers stopped at 11 places to pour the sand.