Where Have Our Girls Gone?

Jamie Pincus

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Many young girls have been taken from their homes in DC and no one knows where they are. This year, young girls, particularly of the race African American are nowhere to be found. It is more common than people think for teenagers to go missing but this year, people are disappearing at an overwhelming rate, leading police to believe that this is not just a coincidence, or so it seems. The DC police department believes the girls have gone missing due to “a family situation”, but why would all these girls come from the same background then? Parents and other community members are not buying this statement considering the past arrests of police officers for being sex offenders. Two police officers were arrested for “prostituting teenage girls” and “taking photographs of a 15-year-old girl in various stages of undress”. This is making police appear untrustworthy to the public eye. Four African American girls went missing within only one day. Some believe they are being used for sex trafficking, but the police refuse to admit this is the case. Many people have been speaking out their opinions on social media and posting pictures of their missing family members. A young man by the name of Richard Brown warned people to “watch your children. You never know who is out there and what they want. There are some horrible people out there”.

Derrica Wilson, president and cofounder of the Black and Missing foundation, says her “group finds law enforcement is more likely to classify black or latino teens as runaways” rather than admitting there could be an actual problem. It is a fact that people tend to associate missing people of color with “What did they do?” rather than “Who did that to them?”  There is a stereotype associated with missing girls of African American or Latino descent. Another factor in this situation is that the media is less likely to cover a missing person of color, although they are “more likely to disappear”. People are becoming infuriated because of all the cases of missing girls being ignored due to their race. There was a public outcry when “14 black and Latina girls went missing within the space of 24 hours” but police calmed people down by actually proving that the number of missing persons has been decreasing over the past few years. Because of the public outcry, celebrities were tweeting things such as “#missingdcgirls”, making many more people aware of the issue at hand. Although this fact appears untrue, most missing persons cases were solved by police. Out of 574 missing persons cases in the beginning of 2017, only 10 remain unsolved. Most of the cases were related to children running away and not sex trafficking. The MDPD claims “there is no evidence to indicate any of these teens were abducted and lured into sex trafficking”, these ideas are made up in people’s heads.

People are still worried about children being vulnerable and taken advantage of if a situation were to pop up where a predator was trying to lure them in. Police have listened to these thoughts and said they were spread more awareness about people who go missing who are more vulnerable such as the elderly or people “15 years and younger”.The use of the media have caused fear but is also helping to publicize the cases so people can be found easier. It appears that most missing children’s cases are in fact because the ran away and not because they were taken. However, this issue has still resulted in more awareness of missing kids and the importance of keeping children safe and away from predators.

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Where Have Our Girls Gone?