On August 27, U.S. Marshals director, Donald Washington, held a press conference that told the brief story of what he and his team had been working on; a mission to save and rescue missing and endangered children. When the news broke, we learned that “Operation Not Forgotten” recovered 39 missing and endangered children across metro-Atlanta. Children were recovered from Gwinnett, Forsyth, Clayton, and Fulton counties, just to name a few. There were 9 suspects arrested with charges ranging from parental kidnapping and custodial interference to sex trafficking and weapons violations, according to a Washington Post report. The age ranges of the children rescued varied with the oldest being 17 and the youngest being as young as 3 years old.
According to Crime News, the FBI reported in the US, there are 765,000 children that go missing every year. That is 1 child every 40 seconds. Questions arise every time that news of sex trafficking and pedophilia make headlines. The most important of these questions always becomes, how do we keep our children safe? I’ve been thinking long and hard on this question and the truth is, there is no one answer that will put an end to this issue.
On a day to day basis, we are hassled with news of a rising race war and the newest tweet storm from 45 (Donald Trump), but why is it so often that mainstream media passes over the safety of our children. We’ve witnessed on multiple occasions the way that news and media outlets seem to sweep aside the growing numbers of kidnapping and sex trafficking in our nations. “Roughly 300 young girls in the Atlanta area are lured into trafficking every month,” the words of U.S. Marshals director Donald Washington. It’s not like people are unaware of these horrific numbers, but it does often seem like they don’t much care.
In the first day after we learned of Operation Not Forgotten, I watched a twitter storm of people angry that it didn’t make national headlines. I asked people that live in the metro-Atlanta area if they heard the news segment on the bust; even some of the people that watch the news everyday said that they missed the story. In the press conference, Washington wanted a clear message to be sent to the victims, “we will never stop looking for you,” but too often, it seems that the general public is left out of these efforts unless the victim has some sort of elitism. Are we to blame for our own ignorance? Are we just not interested enough in efforts to find and save our children? Or is there a hand in media that reverts our attention to the same few topics that keep us divided?