We can no longer look at Human Trafficking as only an international issue. The bad guys know there are young girls and boys to explote right here in the U.S. and it really cuts down on their cost of doing business. We need to educate Law Enforcement that Human Trafficking now knows no borders. (MGJ)
by Amanda Kloer
Across America, young African-American girls are vanishing from homes, schools, and neighborhoods and reappearing in brothels, escort agencies, and strip clubs. But what’s happening to them isn’t magic- it’s slavery. And the insidious part of the trick is that no one seems to be helping them.
Across America, about 800,000 children are reported missing each year, 33% of which are African-American. In New York City last year, half of reported missing children were black and 60% were female. And these aren’t 17-and-a-half-year-olds; most of the girls were between 13 and 15. Other urban areas like Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles with large African-American populations also have high instances of young black girls being kidnapped or “running away”. But what’s happening to these girls? Surely they don’t vanish into thin air?
They vanish, in fact, into pimps’ pockets; these girls end up as trafficking victims in the commercial sex industry. Some meet pimps on the street and are deceived or coerced into street prostitution. Others are forced into strip clubs or filmed for pornography. Still others are advertised on Craigslist, escort agency websites, and other corners of the Internet. They are just as much human trafficking victims as the Vietnamese women enslaved in brothels in Thailand or the Guatemalan girl held in a home in El Paso.
However, many law enforcement agents still understand human trafficking as an international crime and seek it out primarily among communities of immigrants. According to the AMBER Ready Inc./Foundation,
Law enforcement in general only discusses human trafficking in terms of the Asian and Latino immigrant population while ignoring the threat to young and under-aged indigenous Black and Latino women.
In addition to the lack of attention by law enforcement, significant public outcry has claimed missing black kids are not featured in the national mainstream media as much as missing white kids. In an entirely un-scientific study, I thought about the last few missing kids I remember, and yes, all of them were white. I live in Washington, DC, a majority African-American area, and all I can remember are stories of missing white kids. True, my memory could be faulty, but I think few would argue that missing black and white kids get truly equal time on the national news.
So between a faulty understanding of human trafficking and a racially-biased national media, young black girls are falling through not so much cracks as gaping holes in America’s safety nets. And at the bottom of those holes are pimps waiting to make money and johns wanting to “get lucky”. At the bottom of those holes is a life of rape and abuse and slavery.
We know who’s stealing little black girls, and they aren’t magicians or illusionists. They’re human traffickers, and it’s time we put an end to their act.