URBAN PERSPECTIVE - There is a silent phenomenon happening in South Los Angeles that is spurring greater vigilance and response by the community instead of relying on the police.
These are not your regular neighborhood crimes of violence or property theft. This is the actual kidnapping, drugging, and forcing of young girls into sex slavery by heinous people. The target, of course, is vulnerable young girls who may have a history in the foster care system or absent parents. Either way, these are just unsuspecting tween-aged girls.
If you are a parent in South Los Angeles, you should be scared. A young girl was recently abducted in the Southwest area of South LA by a pimp who held her against her will for many days. The police and the media had misclassified her as a missing runaway. Even worse, her missing report sat on a detective’s desk unattended because the detective was away on vacation.
It wasn’t a police action that got this particular girl back home to her family. It was the activism of a community member and other neighbors who posted flyers and contacted the media to bring attention to the missing girl who simply vanished without a trace. They recovered the girl from the person who had taken her and notified the authorities who weren’t aware of her return.
This is just one of many such sickening stories and it begs the question: why isn’t there more attention being directed to this frightening problem plaguing South Los Angeles; and why there hasn’t been any political leadership either.
Parents beware! These abducted girls are classified as missing runaway children. These abductors know exactly what to do to divert attention and keep our precious ones categorized as such. It can be simply having them make a phone call home, stealing their phones to send text messages, sending email, or having them visibly seen somewhere by somebody. Even worse, having these young girls put up a positive front by threatening them with death.
Some of these kidnappings are as simple as a drug. These drugs make them black out while they are unknowingly and unwillingly raped. Or they are beaten into taking them.
It is hard to fathom that young girls in South LA are forced into prostitution and victimization due to this unspoken crime.
Although a majority of these girls remain local to the South Los Angeles area, some are taken to other communities as far north as the valley and as far south as the South Bay. It doesn’t matter where they are taken. It matters that it is prevented from happening because they are being improperly labeled as criminals and ignored.
Take notice of young girls prostituting on the streets and notify authorities because you may be witnessing possible sex slavery or human trafficking. These girls are hoping that someone will rescue them from their situation.
South Los Angeles resident Priscilla Reed was adamant, “We are setting the priority of protecting our youth in South Los Angeles. This forced prostitution is bigger than we can imagine. We can’t afford to have our children labeled as missing and taken by pimps. We’ve got to set our own South LA agenda to bring awareness and tell what what’s really happening here.”
As over 10,000 inmates are expected to be released from the jail system into South LA, we need to educate our young girls about safety measures and remain alert. It is going to take local action by private citizens to stop sex slavery and human trafficking from ravaging the community.
(Janet Denise Ganaway-Kelly offers more than a decade of accomplishments in the housing and nonprofit sector. Janet brings valuable insight in the areas of community and economic development. Additionally, she brings knowledge regarding the leadership and management challenges faced by large and small nonprofits that are struggling or growing organizations. She blogs at jdkellyenterprises.org ) –cw
Tags: South LA, South Los Angeles, neighborhood crimes, prostitution, missing persons, rape, sex slavery, young girls
Vol 9 Issue 78
Pub: Sept 30, 2011