Since our beginning in 1943, YWCA Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia has worked to address racial inequality and gender disparity in our region through initiatives such as affordable, high-quality early childhood development, teen pregnancy support, and advocacy for victims of crime - a group disproportionately comprised of women and people of color.
According to the Bureau of Justice, of the reported cases of human trafficking in the U.S., over 80% of victims are female and 77% are people of color. Overlooked populations—refugees, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, women and girls, and children— are at most risk of being forced into labor or exploited for the profit of others.
To recognize those who are overlooked and vulnerabilities within our region that make people more susceptible to exploitation, we partnered with many organizations to sponsor the Red Sand Project, where we filled cracks in the sidewalks surrounding the YWCA with red sand to shine a light on the 40.3 million people who live as slaves through human trafficking, shared information, and facilitated conversation on the marginalized populations who "fall through the metaphoric cracks."
YWCA NETN and SWVA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. In carrying out our mission, we’ll continue to increase knowledge and awareness on human trafficking through initiatives like the Red Sand Project and our “Week Without Violence” campaign, promote effective trauma-informed responses to trafficking victims and provide them with support through our YW CARES program, and work to alleviate the factors that make the girls in our region vulnerable to trafficking.
Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It happens here, and it has to stop.