WASHINGTON, D.C. — District of Columbia mayor Muriel Bowser has announced plans to step up the search for missing children.

In response to the wealth of negative attention the district has received about the missing children in the District, particularly in light of the recent social media attention given to the alleged child pedophilia ring known as PizzaGate, Bowser says the time has come to get to the cause of the disappearances.

Commander Chanel Dickerson, head of D.C. police’s Youth and Family Services Division, told FOX 5 (http://www.fox5dc.com/news/dc-news/233676272-story) that a large number of the missing children are the result of runaways.

“A large number of our missing teens voluntarily leave home and they’re found or located within a short time,” said Dickerson.

But high profile names such as rap artist P Diddy, actor and rapper LL Cool J and Washington Wizards star John Wall have went public on social media with their concerns that the disappearances may be the result of something much more nefarious.

Tina Frundt, founder of Courtney’s house, an organization that fights to rescue children who have been sold into prostitution says child sex trafficking continues to be a problem in D.C..

“We get about four to five a week, and that’s on top of what we already have. That my mean that they are in juvenile or their parent is looking for them and they called us beforehand. Where the referral came from police or probation case managers. So I think the more awareness that were actually having means were getting more referrals and people are actually starting to identify. But the most important part of all of this is that survivors actually call themselves and bring their friends as well,” said Frundt.

Since March 19, D.C. police have shared 22 missing person fliers on Twitter; 11 of these people were juveniles.

Regardless of the cause, Bowser said something must be done to bring the epidemic to an end.

“One missing young person, is one too many, and these new initiatives will help us do more to find and protect young people, particularly young girls of color, across our city,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through social media, we have been able to highlight this problem and bring awareness to open cases, and now we are doing more to ensure that families and children are receiving the wraparound services they need to keep families together and children safe.”



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