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Red Sand Project raises awareness of human trafficking in Mississippi

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Tougaloo College is drawing a line in the sand against human trafficking. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports on how a new art installation is raising awareness on campus.

Twenty four cases of human trafficking have been reported in Mississippi this year. Two hundred and thirty-seven cases in 10 years, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

Tougaloo is the first historically black college to become a part of the Red Sand Project. The permanent art installation is built directly on top of the ground in the shape of the US/Mexico border. Molly Gochman the creator of the Red Sand Project says the border shape is a reminder that immigrants are often preyed upon by human traffickers.

"I thought that it was very representative of the discrimination and legal status as two of the vulnerabilities that lead to exploitation," said Gochman.

Selika Corley is with the Hinds County Sherriff's Department. She says her 19-year-old daughter was drugged, abducted and taken to Florida after meeting friends at a hotel in Jackson in 2012. 

"That friend offered her a can of Sprite that she said was unopened. And she said when she woke up she was in a car full of people she had never seen before in her life," said Corley.

Shortly after her daughter returned home, Corley founded a nonprofit organization called Without Consent. It educates Mississippians on how to identify and help victims.

"The damage and the trauma that was done to her, you can't even imagine. And people say, well you have your daughter back. I'll never have her back. Not the same one who left here," said Corley. 

With the Tougaloo installation, the Red Sand Project is now installed in all fifty states.