34 black, Latina girls disappeared. Here's what we know now
March 28, 2017
A social media movement called “#FindOurGirls” was created on behalf of over 34 missing African American and Latina girls within the District of Columbia area. However, media outlets have failed to promptly respond to these issues, assuming that these are just “runaway cases.”
#FindOurGirls began as a trending hashtag on social media as Black and Latina girls between the ages 11-17 consistently went missing in the D.C. area during March. Amber Alerts were never sent to D.C. residents, and no missing child reports circulated thoroughly on news media stations — only on the D.C. police station’s Twitter account. Many black Americans still question whether black lives still matter because of the public’s stoical approach to this situation.
What do we know now?
According to NBC Washington, the Instagram post that claims that 14 girls went missing within 24 hours was false. D.C. police have shared at least 20 missing person fliers on Twitter; out of these 20 individuals, 10 were juveniles. As of March 24, six have been found and four are still missing.
D.C. has been known to have numerous amounts of missing person reports over the past few years. According to police data, missing child cases have dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016. The highest number of missing children cases was in 2001 at 2,610. This year, 501 missing child cases have been reported. Out of the 501 cases, only a handful have been resolved.
Human Trafficking evidence has not yet been proven.
Thinking back, a majority of black movements were started on social media because news media stations have either decided to cover the story at a minimal rate or have failed to articulate messages effectively in a timely manner. D.C. police station decided that using Twitter as an outlet to relay missing person cases would be effective and thorough.
However, as the co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation’s Derrica Wilson said using Twitter as an outlet could be “a blessing and a curse.” Because false information could be passed on from source to source, missing cases shared only on social media could eventually have inaccurate facts or could linger way longer than the case was supposed to after it was closed.
In addition, African Americans are questioning whether black lives still matter because of the limited news coverage. However, many of these little girls have been runaway victims. The factors for a child wanting to leave their home are numerous. D.C.’s limited resources for these children/young adults and their personal issues is the reason why the reports of missing juveniles increase steadily — even if rates have dropped since 2015.
What can we do?
As fortunate members of the social media world, make sure you look out for accurate posts because these are people’s family members and children. The last thing you would want is for a rumor to arise that one of your cousins, friends or neighbors have been reported missing. Keep an eye out for any speculation that this could be related to Human Trafficking. In addition, report any evidence that you may have to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children hotline at 1-800-843-5678.