Are Missing People Of Color Getting The Same Kind Of Attention As Their White Counterparts? (VIDEO) | Roland Martin Reports

Are Missing People Of Color Getting The Same Kind Of Attention As Their White Counterparts? (VIDEO)

The news this past week has been dominated by the amazing escape of three women from a real-life house of horrors in Cleveland, Ohio. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight vanished between 2002 and 2004. We now know they were kidnapped and held in sexual bondage for a decade. 52-year-old Ariel Castro is being held on three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping. His bail is being set at $8 million. And, of course, is [it] relates to the kidnapping, one of those involved a child who authorities believe is his daughter.

Now, one of the tragedies in this case is they were hidden in their own neighborhood by someone the community knew and interacted with on a regular basis. According to the FBI, more than 265,000 minorities were reported missing in the United States in 2012. Let me say that again. 265,000 minorities were reported missing just in 2012.
Unfortunately, these missing people of color don’t get the same kind of attention that missing white people get, especially white women. And we are grateful that the young women in Cleveland are free. We can’t help but think of those who are black and still missing.

We’re talking about that today with Derrica Wilson, founder of the Black and Missing Foundation; and Tina Frundt, a survivor of kidnap and sex trafficking and founder of Courtney’s House, an organization that helps victims and their families.

MR. MARTIN:  The news this week has been dominated by the amazing escape of three women from a real-life house of horrors in Cleveland, Ohio.  Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight vanished between 2002 and 2004.  We now know they were kidnapped and held in sexual bondage for a decade.  52-year-old Ariel Castro is being held on three counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping.  His bail is being set at $8 million.  And, of course, is [it] relates to the kidnapping, one of those involved a child who authorities believe is his daughter.

Now, one of the tragedies in this case is they were hidden in their own neighborhood by someone the community knew and interacted with on a regular basis. According to the FBI, more than 265,000 minorities were reported missing in the United States in 2012.  Let me say that again.  265,000 minorities were reported missing just in 2012.  Unfortunately, these missing people of color don’t get the same kind of attention that missing white people get, especially white women.  And we are grateful that the young women in Cleveland are free.  We can’t help but think of those who are black and still missing.

We’re talking about that today with Derrica Wilson, founder of the Black and Missing Foundation; and Tina Frundt, a survivor of kidnap and sex trafficking and founder of Courtney’s House, an organization that helps victims and their families.

First of all, welcome to the show.

MS. DERRICA WILSON:  Thank you –

MS. TINA FRUNDT:  Thank you.

MS. WILSON:  — for having us.

MR. MARTIN:  This story – obviously, [the] news media is all over it.  It’s dominating ratings, dominating headlines, but what is amazing is that when you look at a black woman, a Hispanic woman who comes up missing – whether it’s kidnapped, or who disappears – I mean it literally takes significant pressure just to even get it on local television, much less national.

MS. WILSON:  Absolutely.  You know, we have that struggle and fight every day to bring awareness and exposure to our missing persons of color; but, you know, we’ve seen this trend, and we realize that the media has a big responsibility in this as well as law enforcement.  You know, with these young girls’ cases, law enforcement were called to the house a couple of times, but they never really followed up; and it took a good Samaritan to help these girls [and] save them.

MR. MARTIN:  Tina, let’s talk about your story.  These women [were] held captive ten years.  What happened to you?

MS. FRUNDT:  So, my situation started in Chicago, Illinois, at the age of 13, where I met a man who manipulated me.  So, did I know of a trafficking situation?  No.  Nothing like that.  He came to be my friend.

MR. MARTIN:  Was he in the neighborhood?

MS. FRUNDT:  He was in the –

MR. MARTIN:  Was he a next door neighbor?

MS. FRUNDT:  — neighborhood.  He was in the neighborhood.  So, my parents adopted me at 12, and so I was adopted.  And my family was a good family, so I need people to understand that a lot of times, you’re talking about grown people manipulating a child out of a home.  So, it took months.  [It] took five or six months, like any pedophile would do.

With that said, I was upset with my parents because I couldn’t stay out past ten.  On my 14th birthday, I called him.  He told me, “Don’t take anything.”  He’ll come get me.

Within an hour or so I said, you know, I wanted to go home.  I had calmed down, but he told me he was on his way to Cleveland, Ohio, and that I can call my parents when I got there.  And so I was taken to a room where he said the phone was, so I can call my parents.  And then two men raped me and forced me into sex trafficking.

MR. MARTIN:  And how long were you in that situation?

MS. FRUNDT:  About a year and-a-half.  And so my run for help is very important because my run for help was to the police and saying what my real age was.  And so I was arrested and charged for prostitution and put in juvenile detention at the age of 15.

MR. MARTIN:  But you were able to get out of that –

MS. FRUNDT:  That one situation, but just not safe.

So, I think that’s the difference between now and today.  Today, the same thing happens, so our survivors can still go for help.  Their help is jail when they’re missing.  When they’re forced into trafficking, it’s jail.

MR. MARTIN:  So, the human sex trafficking – people really don’t understand how significant this has become in the United States.

MS. WILSON:  It is a huge issue, and I know Tina can elaborate on that a little bit more, but they have to think about the hubs.  Like, Maryland is a hub for human trafficking; Washington, D.C.; New York.  These kids are being classified as runaways when they go missing; and, therefore, there’s no Amber alert.  There’s no sense of urgency to find them.  And, you know, when our missing adults go missing, they like to associate them with some sort of criminal activity.

But one of the things that we want to encourage families to do is remain and hold on to that hope.  Hope that they’re going to find loved one – because these families are not giving up.  Even when law enforcement gives up, even when the media decides not to air these stories, these families hang on to hope.

MR. MARTIN:  Tina, in your case, were you in a neighborhood?

MS. FRUNDT:  Yeah, right.

MR. MARTIN:  Were you interacting with other people?

And so even in this case here, you know, how does a neighbor even pay attention or look out for certain things where this could be the case?  Because, again, I mean for these women, pretty much, they were left indoors; but it’s not like folks are always indoors.  So, how does the public somehow play a role in looking out for these sort[s] of situations?

MS. FRUNDT:  Well, I think we make an assumption.  Even when they were indoors, people saw that there was something that was going wrong, but they didn’t say anything.  And so I think it is, “I don’t want to be too nosy.”  “I don’t want to say anything.”

I think if they continue to keep calling the police and saying, “You need to go in” – we have to have that voice.  Of those missing – national, missing kids in this area, did you know that 2013, we have found ten and provide services because they were sex trafficked.  So, this is – right now, today, this goes on.  No one just says anything.

So, I encourage people just to speak up and start saying, “No, there is something wrong.  You need to do something.”  As a neighborhood, you need to do something and report.

MR. MARTIN:  To hear 265,000 in one year – I mean that is significant.  And for folks to put that in perspective, I mean that is the size of, in terms of population, a very good-size town in this country –

MS. WILSON:  And we ma- —

MR. MARTIN:  — when you think about that number.

MS. WILSON:  — and we make up 13 percent of the population in the United States.  So, when you look at 40 percent of missing persons in the United States are persons of color, and we make up 13 percent of the population, we have a huge issue.

MR. MARTIN:  Absolutely.

Well, Derrica and Tina, we certainly appreciate it.  Thanks a lot.

MS. WILSON:  Thank you so much.

MS. FRUNDT:  Yeah.

MR. MARTIN:  All right, folks.