Have you seen me?

In January of 2017, Chanel Dickerson, D.C.’s new Metropolitan Police Commander, pledged to find the 22 missing girls from America’s capitol.

Even though the police department utilizes social media, such as Twitter, for broadcasting the profiles of the missing young women, uploading the profiles daily, members of the Congressional Black Caucus are insisting for a federal investigation on the cases.

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Image from Twitter @MrMonroe17

March 21, lawmakers from Washing D.C. issued a letter asking the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and FBI Director James Comey to “devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly, or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed.” The lawmakers added, “When children of color go missing, authorities often assume they are runaways rather than victims of abduction.”

Justice Department spokesperson, Sarah Isgur Flores confirmed that she briefed Sessions on the issue Friday, March 24.

“The Attorney General is aware of the reports and is looking into the issue,” says Flores.

The FBI has declined to comment on the matter.

According to CNN, the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. has recorded 501 cases of missing children so far in 2017, and said that 22 cases were still open as of Wednesday, March 22.

“We have received a lot of media attention and a lot of concern from the public because of the number of releases,” Dickerson said at a news conference on Friday, March 24. “There have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped.”

Police Commander Dickerson continued, saying, “And I say this without minimizing the number of missing persons in DC — because one missing person is one person too many — but there’s actually been a decrease,” she added. “There is always a concern of human trafficking, but we have no evidence for this.”

The case of the missing girls has gotten a lot of tread on social media once the hashtag, #find our missing girls began trending.   

Annual statistics project cases of missing children have remained relatively steady in Washington D.C. over the past several years — with 2,222 cases in 2014, 2,433 in 2015 and 2,242 in 2016.

D.C. Councilmember, Trayon White told HLN’s Michaela Pereira, “What the community is alarmed about — we had a 10-year-old girl missing the other day, but there was no amber alert,” White said. “We just feel like, you know, if this was a white person or from another neighborhood, there would be more alarm about it.”

“Any time you have a 10-year-old missing for any amount of hours and no one knows where he or she is, that is rules for immediate attention, that’s an alert that needs to be sent out,” White added, “because the more time that goes past, the less likely we are to find him or her.”

Putting numbers and Amber Alerts aside, the vice president at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Robert Lowery, said he is grateful an important conversation about missing young people is happening.

“I think the narrative is good,” Lowry said. “The more the public becomes aware of this issue of missing children, the more lives that can be protected and potentially even saved.”

“Our frustration is, we deal with a very desensitized public,” Lowery said to CNN. “The natural inclination (about a runaway) is the child’s behavioral problem is why they’ve left. We also see significant numbers of runaway children who are running away from a situation, whether it’s abuse or neglect or sexual abuse in the home. These children face unique risks when they’re gone so we applaud the conversation and we applaud the attention that this issue is being given.”

As of Thursday, April 13, 2017, the young womens’ whereabouts are still unknown.

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Image from Twitter @TheBrentShow

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