Their Silent Screams

Updated: Jun 11, 2020

12 days ago, I got a voicemail from the schools automated line saying that she wasn’t present for attendance during 1st period. 12 days when I called the police to let them know that she was missing only for them to tell me that because of her age and the timing that she must have run away and that I couldn’t file a missing person report for another 12 hrs. She wasn’t a runaway; my gut was telling me that something was terribly wrong. I am her mother and I had to find my baby. 12 days ago, when I pinged her phone and she was close to the school but then it didn’t move again, ever again.

My best friend and I went to the location of where I last pinged her phone, I found it off the road down in a creek. I also found her backpack. Unrelenting terror enveloped my body. My daughter was not a runaway, she was kidnapped and missing without a trace.

This isn’t my story but it IS the story of more than 64,000 families of black women, young & old who have gone missing. But where is the media coverage?

Where are they?

That’s the million-dollar question. Many reports of missing black women and children go documented as “runaways”. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have admitted there is a color problem when it comes to finding people of color.

Robert Lowery had this to say to ABC news: “About 60% of the reports that we see here in the US that go in those databases are people of color.” He goes onto say, “I think it really breaks a lot of the commonly held thoughts on who are really the missing children in the U.S.”

You read it! So, the media coverage of the missing white children/women we see is the bulk of missing person(s) coverage when the REALITY is women and children of color go missing at a much HIGHER rate. WHERE IS THE COVERAGE?!?!

I am bothered when people say to me “Trese, stop making everything about race”. I am NOT the one making everything about race, society is. The fact that MORE women and children of color go missing but their reports are usually deemed as runaways or the police are less likely to dedicate the necessary resources to finding them, IS IN FACT a race issue. The message that is constantly displayed to us is that our people DON’T MATTER. Somehow black lives are not worthy of additional media attention and dare I say, societal concern.

Families in anguish…

I watched this ABC News video, and I cried for hours. To hear these parents’, describe the lack of police involvement in helping search for their missing child was heartbreaking. They described how they were told that their children were runaways when they knew in their heart that some sort of foul play took place. In once case, Terrence Woods Jr, was on a trip in the Idaho forest filming a documentary with 11 other people when he went missing. Within ONE-week police ended the search saying no leads we obtained in the search area. Well where did a young man go in the Idaho forest with none of his belongings?

The huge possibility of sex trafficking among our women and girls…

Let’s first define what sex trafficking is. According to the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, “Sex trafficking is “recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of an individual through the means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of commercial sex”. Obviously, if the trafficked person is under 18 force & coercion does not have to be a factor in charging sex trafficking cases.

Amaria Hall Missing since July 7th, 2019 Suspected to be sex trafficked

Intersectionality plays a huge role in why black women and children are increasing in the sex trafficking conversation.