What's Really Going on With Missing Teens in D.C.

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A rash of alerts about missing teens in D.C. area is causing a stir locally and on social media. While the alerts may be misleading in severity, there is still a national issue to address about missing teens. (Image: Instagram)

In recent days, discussions across social media regarding what appears to be an alarming number of missing black and Latin teens across Washington, D.C., has become a rallying point. However, metropolitan officials say that the number of missing child and abduction cases have actually dropped, although there is a long-standing issue to address involving unreported missing teens and children.

As reported by local Washington outlet NBC 4 (WRC-TV), an inaccurate post stating that 14 girls went missing in a 24-hour period spread on social media and sparked trending topics around the girls. Police responded saying that under no circumstance did those acts occur but did admit that their use of Twitter and other social media tools has called new attention on the cases.

Since last week, D.C. police have shared 20 missing persons fliers via Twitter with 10 of those being under the age of 18. Since the Mar. 19 posting of the fliers, six of the juveniles have been located. In fact, authorities said that there has not been any increase in abduction cases but because most of the missing girls are of color, it sparked concerns of citizens across the nation.

Given the very real specter of human and sex trafficking occurring here in the states and across the globe, the suggestion that an uptick in kidnappings and missing children naturally inspired worry and attention on the matter.

But according to D.C. police, missing child cases in the city dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2, 242 in 2016. There was 2,610 missing children during 2001 so the trend does show a lowering in number. This year, DC has reported 501 missing children cases with 22 juvenile cases unsolved.

Celebrities such as Russell Simmons and others have been sharing the false report, which sparked one popular hashtag #MissingDCGirls. Black lawmakers have also rallied in recent days and called on the FBI to address their efforts in finding the missing girls from the viral postings according to an Associated Press report.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), founded in 1984 by John and Reve Walsh, stated in a “Key Facts” section of the organization’s website that children are often unreported as missing which makes getting a firm number difficult. The FBI’s National Crime Information Center listed 465,676 entries for missing children in their files, an increase in the prior year’s data.

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