Hardly a day goes by without another story about Madeleine McCann. But in Missouri, there’s one small community that has reported 33 kids missing, and they barely rate a mention in the news.
It’s Berkeley, a suburb of St Louis, Missouri, with a total population of only about 9000. Parents are distraught that not enough is being done to find their children. Most of them are teens. Most of them are black. Shardae Edwards, 14. Marshay Brown, 14. Alexis Green, 15. The list goes on and on.
Lawrence Coldon is still looking for his daughter, Phoenix, who disappeared in 2011.
“It’s a terrible, crying, deplorable shame that so many people can come up missing in this country with a country with the type of resources that we have,” he says.
Coldon believes Phoenix might have been forced into sex slavery. This isn’t just wild speculation. The St Louis County Police Department has a special unit set up to rescue sex slaves. Officers are aware that when they pull over cars for traffic stops, they need to keep an eye out for missing girls who are being held captive.
“We talk to a lot of the girls and a lot of them were just walking down the street, skip school, they're running away, they're walking down the street and then somebody will pull up and say, ‘Hey, where are you headed to?’” Sergeant Adam Kavanaugh says.
Earlier this year, Kyle Parks was convicted after bringing four teenagers from Ohio to Missouri to work as prostitutes. He was arrested in a motel room after police tracked the phone of one of the girls, who was just 15. He was sentenced to 25 years jail.