Since Janruary 1st of this year, The Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, D.C. has recorded 501 cases of missing children. As a response, the DC Police Department, and Mayor’s office have launched a social media initiative designed to provide higher visibility to these cases.
“We have received a lot of media attention and a lot of concern from the public because of the number of releases,” Chanel Dickerson, head of the department’s Youth and Family division, said at a news conference on Friday. “There have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped, or that there’s an increase in the number (who have gone missing).”
“And I say this without minimizing the number of missing persons in DC — because one missing person is one person too many — but there’s actually been a decrease,” she added. “There is always a concern of human trafficking, but we have no evidence for this.”
Regardless, a social media outcry has led members of the Congressional Black Caucus to call for a federal investigation over the missing girls, many of which are black and Latina.
Last Tuesday, the lawmakers sent a letter, asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly, or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.”
“(W)hen children of color go missing, authorities often assume they are runaways rather than victims of abduction,” they added. As of now, the FBI has declined to comment on the matter.