People across the country have expressed outrage as dozens of black teens in the DC area have gone missing with little to no media coverage. At least 10 young women of color have gone missing from the DC area in a period of just two weeks. Many wondered why this was not national news and began sharing the missing posters using the hashtags #MissingDCGirls and #DCMissingTeens.
At least 25 black teen girls are missing in DC since February 1 pic.twitter.com/c4CftciHU7
— Safari Woman (@SafariWoman) March 24, 2017
The Heavy reports that as of March 23 there were over a dozen missing teens that were either black or Latina. The string of missing persons cases has many in the DC area wondering why more isn’t being done to recover the teens by the media. The outcry on social media has garnered the attention of the Congressional Black Caucus, which is now calling for the FBI to get involved in the DC missing girls cases.
— Homegirl Mag (@HomegirlMag) March 16, 2017
According to Fox News, the District of Columbia has already logged 501 missing persons cases involving juveniles since the beginning of the year, the majority of which were black or Latina youth. However, the DC Police department notes that the vast majority of these cases are closed quickly with only 22 remaining unsolved as of March 22, 2017. However, Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La, says that more should be done to determine why so many black youths go missing in the country’s capital.
While the missing persons cases are garnering a lot of attention on social media platforms, they aren’t receiving the media and FBI attention that many feel should be placed on such a concerning number of missing children. In fact, many pointed out that the FBI could use its resources to find a missing football jersey for Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, but can’t use those same resources to find missing children.
Damn they found #TomBradys missing super bowl Jersey? If only all those black and brown teenage girls reported missing in DC had jerseys on!
— DL Hughley (@RealDLHughley) March 20, 2017
Though many are concerned that young girls in DC could be the target of a trafficking ring; however, the DC’s acting Police Chief Peter Newsham says that there is no indication that there has been an uptick in missing persons cases in DC, particularly among young black women.
“The year-over-year number of missing persons, including juveniles, has held steady, and that there is no known link in D.C. now between missing people and human trafficking.”
In an interview with WPGC, the new commander of the D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Division, Chanel Dickerson, noted that the social media exposure for the missing youth was all part of her efforts at the department to raise awareness and help bring the missing children home sooner. However, while her efforts did raise awareness of DC missing teens, she believes that the increase in missing posters on the social media platform also played a part in the social media outrage. Dickerson says that the department “has not experienced an increase in the missing person cases” but that even one case is too many. Therefore, she says that her social media campaign is likely what caused the concern over a potential human trafficking ring in the area.
“When I joined the Youth and Family Services division in December of 2016, I increased the number of press releases and social media posts about the missing juveniles in the city…which has caused great concern that juveniles were being abducted or victims of human trafficking.”
Despite the response from the DC police noting there has been no surge in missing children in the capital, many are wondering why the area has such a high rate of missing persons cases to begin with. Dickerson tried to respond by noting that many of the cases are noted as runaways. However, that answer isn’t sitting well with those who state that more must be done to identify a cause.
What do you think about the DC Police Department’s response to the #DCMissingGirls social media efforts? If the number of missing persons cases is not increasing, but numbers are still high in the area, should the FBI get involved as many on social media have suggested?
[Featured Images by DC Police Department/ Twitter]