Letters from the Underground: Missing

THE LETTERS FROM THE UNDERGROUND PORTION OF THE BLOG DERIVES ITSELF FROM MY MISSIONS WORK IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING. NOT INTENTIONALLY TAKEN FROM DOSTOEVSKY, THESE ARE THE POSTS WHERE I STRAY FROM THE PHILOSOPHICAL AND GET DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY OF WHAT I DO ON MISSION.

All 23 PDF's of the missing children reports in April

All 23 PDF’s of the missing children reports in April

There were twenty-three. I counted them so I know for sure.

It seems high to me. Doesn’t it seem high?

I know what to look for now as I check my in box. They are always annotated by “ALERT: Missing Juvenile” with a PDF of a missing child poster attached. They are automatically sent whenever Nevada Child Seekers receives information. I received twenty three of them in April.

It almost feels like watching sand filter through an hourglass. Each grain is falling unknown into the pile—a smaller part of a whole. After a while it’s hard to see the trees through the forest. I work with Trafficking on such a macro scale sometimes I don’t get to see the individuals. I don’t get to become a part of their stories. I got another alert this morning. Desiree is thirteen, five foot one, and endangered: She may need medical attention. The black font on the poster is as professional as the language.

“The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Missing Persons section is asking the public’s assistance in locating Desiree Choate”.

When I read this I hear “we are asking you to care, please someone care!”

These children become ghosts otherwise. They existed to someone, somewhere, and then one day they vanished and no one noticed except for the few. Believe me when I say this. For some of the children, the few who do notice don’t care. That’s why they’re ghosts. A fading distant memory of that one girl…didn’t we have another daughter? Cousin? Sister? An entire person—a history—erased and rewritten distilled into a flyer. Do people even look at these?

They aren’t ghosts, though. Even when they’re missing they are still a person. Even if they are dead, they are a body, real and material. I could touch them if I knew where they were. The emails, the flyers, coming in waves of four or five a week makes it seem like they aren’t though. It makes it seem like each one is merely one more to add to an immeasurable stack of faces and details. All pleading “please someone care!”

And this week, someone will care.

Reposting this from last year is a reminder that we keep this issue and this discussion in the forefront of our minds. This is the beginning of our Super Bowl Outreach here at FREE International. Teams of volunteers from all over the country are converging on the city of Phoenix looking for missing children, hosting school assemblies and asking the community to care. In amongst the hustle and bustle of game day preparations and festivities our teams are bringing a message to the schools and streets of Phoenix.

In some ways we are asking, not unlike the bold letters of the missing kids flyer,  “Please someone care”. In other ways we come with a message of empowerment. You can make the difference. We are looking for six girls in the city of Phoenix around the Super Bowl. It only takes a second look to make sure that girl on the street, checking into the hotel, hanging out at that party is or isn’t someone being exploited–someone who needs your help. Take a look. Have you seen this missing child?Anna VegaEllen TuahMaya SwaniganFatima SmithMyra Howard

Jessica Soliz

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