As of 2019, 64,000 black women and girls are missing in the United States of America. Data provided by the FBI assures that these numbers are accurate. While the data does factor in those who left voluntarily, there is still a high number of black women missing due to sex trafficking. According to statistics, black women are missing at disproportionate rates. There is a lack of media coverage for these cases compared to those of white children.
When it comes to black women, there are many stereotypes to factor in. People treat black women as if they are more mature and independent. With these stereotypes, black women are never seen as vulnerable, innocent or youthful. I believe this is why many cases are classified as runaways. Sometimes, the families don’t have the resources to search for their loved ones. They are very hesitant to confide in law enforcement due to the lack of effort. Recent events have shown the distrust between law enforcement and minorities. Also, we must consider living conditions. Girls in foster care or situations of homelessness are more at risk for human trafficking. Human trafficking is known as modern-day slavery.
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, “Of over 300,000 minors in the U.S. who are victims of domestic sex trafficking, it is estimated that 43 percent are African-American girls.”
If 43 percent of black girls are victims of sex trafficking, why aren’t these cases being broadcasted? Unfortunately, prejudices against African-Americans prohibit them from getting recognition. More effort is put into solving cases of missing white women. These cases tend to make national news while others are less familiar. The media attention surrounding missing black girls is slim. I decided to search “missing teenage girl” on YouTube. Most of the news coverage was on missing white females. When I searched “missing black girls,” the only news coverage was from YouTube channels and not too many actual news corporations. Most of the videos were about the need for news coverage when it comes to missing black women. As a black woman, it feels like no one has our back. News needs to cover the reports on the black women; we are going missing at alarming rates. Media does a phenomenal job spreading news promptly. With news, we are aware of what is happening in our communities. Honestly, I was unaware of how many black women and girls are missing in the U.S. When I saw the statistics, I was appalled by the numbers. If the media paid more attention, more families could be reunited with their loved ones.
Moving forward, we need to be more invested in our communities. We need to have conversations with lawmakers, law enforcement, and the media. As a national community, we can do better for our citizens. While every case won’t get attention, there needs to be a fair amount of media coverage.