By Beverly Gadson-Birch
There is so much going on in the world, this writer is taking a break today from “Dark money and how it impacts elections and communities” while further research is being conducted on those involved. There is more to come. However, another pressing matter that has captured my attention is missing and exploited black girls. Where are they? What is happening to young black girls in this country?
Every day, black girls are reportedly missing. Their disappearances are more than just runaways as some media would have you believe. Speculation is that these girls are being used as “sex slaves” and unwilling “organ donors.” There just might be some truth to these theories. A few years ago, the Black News reported over 75,000 African American and Latino girls were missing. USA Today reported in 2014 that over 90,000 persons are reported missing at any given time. These numbers continue to rise as more children are being snatched and used for sex.
Media focus attention on missing white girls like Natalie Holladay and Elizabeth Smart, but what about missing black girls? Yes, that is as it should be; but all lives are important. Police investigators should give priority to all missing persons. The sooner the missing person’s information is reported and disseminated locally and nationally the better the chances of recovery or solving the case. The problem is most black families don’t have the resources for additional media coverage or to hire a private detective. It is reported that forty percent of sex trafficking victims are African Americans.
What is sex trafficking? Webster defines it as “the illegal business of recruiting, harboring, transporting, obtaining, or providing a person and especially a minor for the purpose of sex.” As bizarre and sick as it may seem, it’s happening more often than reported. It’s another form of slavery. Many of these young girls that are forced to perform sex acts are not paid, kept in unkept buildings and not allowed outside contact or communication. Last year while visiting Houston, a friend pointed out a building that the police raided. The building sat on a corner in plain view and housed hundreds of young girls engaging in sexual exploitation.
Essence did an article in February 2019 on “Sex Trafficking in the Black Community”. Essence reported that not all these suspected sex trafficking cases are committed by unknown perpetrators. In one instance Essence reported that a 10-year-old was victimized by her mother. A 17-year-old, who was 10 at the time, shared her experience. She had this to say, “I remember being 10 years old and my mother putting makeup on me and telling me she loved me. Then opening her bedroom door where a man sat waiting there for me. My mother then put me in the room and closed the door. She said it wouldn’t take long.” This is not the norm when it comes to sex trafficking, but it happens.
Young victims of sex trafficking are lured into this business via the internet. Young girls visiting these dark sites are lured into what they think are friendly encounters. Many of the sites are set up under fictitious names for the purpose of exploiting or kidnapping women. Young women who feel neglected and not loved at home are seeking companionship on the internet. Now that students are on summer break, they have a lot of free time on their hands to surf the internet. Girls are often talked into sharing nude pictures on these sites. Some sites of solicitations were Backpage and Craigslist. If my memory serves me correctly, Backpage was shut down by the Government. Beware of dating sites and be sure your children do not have access to dating sites.
South Carolina’s Attorney General Alan Wilson announced June 12 that the State’s Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force arrested 36 suspected child sex offenders in South Carolina as a part of Operation Broken Heart. Sexual predators are everywhere and can be anyone. Several arrests are detailed on the Attorney General’s site. Safeguard your children. Know where they are and who they are with.
Remember! It’s hunting season for black girls. Report anything that looks suspicious to police or the Attorney General’s Office. Your swift action just might save a child’s life.