On National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, recognized annually on January 11, we heighten the importance of education and advocacy to help end labor and sexual exploitation.
Additionally, we wear blue in support of survivors and victims unknown but not forgotten.
Our communities are in a state of crisis. Yet, the outrage that one would expect has never surfaced because the data that would help us understand the gravity of the situation is non-existent. Our daughters are not expendable, yet many missing persons of color – mainly Black and brown people – have been dismissed as runaways and garnered little or no media coverage.
- 64,000-75,000 Black women and girls are missing in the U.S.
- Over 40% of domestic sex-trafficking victims in the U.S. are Black girls.
- Approximately 60% of Black girls are sexually assaulted before turning 18.
- At least 40% of Black girls are sexually victimized before their eighteenth birthdays.
Until this crisis hits too close to home, no one can ever understand the anguish of families desperately searching for their loved ones, retracing their steps, exhausting all resources, yet unsure of whether they will ever be reunited.
The lack of reporting data has hindered our ability to identify trends and hot spots, inform the public, or bolster resources that will help the NYPD prevent and pursue any perpetrators responsible for the disappearance of our loved ones.
Girls and young women of color are being targeted, followed, harassed, or abducted on their way to school, work, home, and especially in the shopping centers. The few who manage to escape are traumatized yet courageous enough to share their dangerous encounters with strange men and vans in the hopes that the information could help protect another potential victim.