Those reported missing from foster care and group homes made up a quarter of the young people who were victims of sex trafficking in Milwaukee between 2013 and 2016, according to a new report.
The Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, Medical College of Wisconsin Institute for Health & Equity, Milwaukee Sexual Assault Review and the Milwaukee Police Department’s Sensitive Crimes Division produced the report. It builds on data published this March, which found that 340 people — 25 years old or younger — were confirmed or suspected of being victims of sex trafficking although that number is suspected of being higher.
This report released last week focuses on the segment of this group that had been reported missing at least once to the police department while in an out-of-home-care arrangement, like foster homes or shelter care. These 85 young people were reported missing 765 times, according to data collected from law enforcement. Sixty-five percent of the reports came from group homes. The report also shows most of these 85 people under the age of 25 were black and female.
Aimee Obregon, former chief of the Milwaukee Police Department’s Sensitive Crimes Division, said one of the theories for why young people run away from out-of-home care is they’re running to or away from something. They are either running away from a less-than-ideal, out-of-home-care placement or back to family.
“But I think the one thing it does bring up is the fact I think we need to do a better job of reaching out to these kids and having services that meet their needs so they don’t have to run away from their situation,” she said…