ELLICOTT CITY, Md. — Lines of red sand, filling the cracks that let vulnerable victims slip through.
That's the meaning of a ceremony that was held Monday to honor victims and survivors and raise awareness about human trafficking.
County Executive Calvin Ball and other leaders took part in a "red sand" ceremony in Ellicott City. Among them, was survivor Shamere McKenzie.
Her story started when she lost her college athletic scholarship due to an injury. She met a man who said he would help her get back in school, but that came at a price.
McKenzie tried to escape many times and failed. She was beaten and even threatened that her family would be killed if she tried again. Eventually, she escaped with the help of a man who she called her guardian angel.
McKenzie doesn't consider herself a survivor.
"I consider myself a liberator, one who has broken free from the chains of her past and is determined to make a difference in the lives of others," said McKenzie.
The Red Sand Project started in New York and seeks to bring attention to human trafficking that has impacted more than 40 million people worldwide.