Black women, girls at greater risk of human trafficking
State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena), vice chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus, has introduced SB 673 to create an “Ebony Alert” notification system to address the often ignored or lack of attention given to Black children and young Black women that are missing in California.
According to the Black and Missing Foundation, 38% of people reported missing in the U.S. are Black, which is more than double the U.S. Black population which is just over 14%. Black children are disproportionately classified as “runaways” in comparison to their white counterparts who are classified as “missing” and, therefore, many Black children do not receive the Amber Alert.
Black women and girls are at increased risk of being harmed and trafficked. A recent report on human trafficking incidents across the country also found that 40% of sex trafficking victims were identified as Black women.
SB 673 would authorize a law enforcement agency to request that an Ebony Alert be activated if that agency determines that it would be an effective tool in the investigation of a missing Black youth or young Black women between the ages of 12 – 25 years. SB 673 would encourage news organizations including television, cable, online, radio and social media outlets to cooperate with disseminating the information contained in an Ebony Alert.
“The Ebony Alert would ensure that resources and attention are given so we can bring home missing Black women and Black children in the same way we would search for any missing child and missing person,” said Bradford.
“When someone who is missing is incorrectly listed as a runaway, they basically vanish a second time. They vanish from the police detectives’ workload. They vanish from the headlines. In many ways, no one even knows they are missing. How can we find someone and bring them home safely when no one is really looking for them,” said Bradford.
The Ebony Alert legislation is sponsored by the NAACP California Hawaii State Conference.
“Black women and girls are at increased risk of harm and make up a disproportionate percentage of all missing people. The NAACP California Hawaii State Conference considers missing Black women and girls an epidemic and necessary for its own safety alert.” said Rick Callender, NAACP California Hawaii State Conference President. “SB 673 will create the Ebony Alert, providing law enforcement with additional tools and resources to help locate missing Black youth and adults through cooperation with the community and the CHP.”