FIND OUR GIRLS
These Girls Are Not Just a Number
Hundreds of lives are impacted every day by the ongoing abductions targeting Black and Latina girls, yet people continue to stay silent. Many people aren’t even aware of the situation, as the media isn’t covering it. The Washington D.C. police have stated that since the beginning of 2017, there have been 501 teenagers reported missing, but only a small number of these cases have actually ended up in the press. Despite what people say, this is not normal. No matter how big the number gets, these numbers will always represent people who have actually been taken from their families, their friends, their lives.
When Black, Hispanic, or Brown girls go missing, the police and media pay less attention to it, simply dismissing it to stereotypes such as runaways, or gang related issues. It is an alarming epidemic when young minority girls are being lured into trafficking and there is no national outrage over it. Sex trafficking is a serious problem that this country needs to address. A common myth that infiltrates many people’s opinions is that trafficking only occurs in underdeveloped countries, however in states such as Texas and California, human trafficking occurs on a daily basis. This is important to remember, both for young girls in order to protect themselves, and for the media and government.
The media disportionately covers cases of missing white girls more than reported cases of missing minorities. This phenomenon is known as “Missing White Woman Syndrome” which describes the extensive media coverage of missing, upper-class, white girls. It’s severely unfair to lower-class minority families that do not receive the same amount of attention for their missing children. For example, there was a large disparity between how the media reported about missing white 18-year-old Natalee Holloway, and Romona Moore, a missing 21-year old Black woman. The New York Times published 8 articles about Natalie’s disappearance, but Romana didn’t even have a local news report about her disappearance until her mother filed a lawsuit against the city of Brooklyn for not helping to find her daughter. The media needs to take responsibility in treating abductions equally despite neighborhoods or race.
Some would say that the only reason these cases have actually gained a lot of attention, is because of activism on social media platforms. For example, on March 8th 2016, African American 15-year-old Kennedi High went missing from Baltimore. Photos of her being held captive against her will surfaced the internet via Snapchat. With the help of many individuals on Twitter, Kennedi was eventually found and reunited with her family. Unfortunately, this isn’t the turnout for many cases. Afterall, Black Twitter can only do so much. There are many things that we cannot do without the help of the police and the media, and other reliable sources.
My question is, where are the thousands of people who marched at the Women’s March? Nobody seems to be marching when it’s for a woman of color’s safety. Where are the All Lives Matter ‘activists’? All lives only seem to matter when it’s those of a white person’s. If you are gonna fight for the rights and safety of a group, you can’t forget about those who are unlike you. One thing that stands is that every single retweet or share helps. It just takes one person seeing a tweet or status update, that could completely turn around the outcome of a case.
In the meantime, here are some ways that you can avoid and protect yourself from human trafficking. Share this list with your daughters, mothers, sisters, friends or any other woman you know: