Authorities fear that some 14 Bronx girls who have gone missing since 2014 may have been coerced into prostitution, the New York Daily News reported Thursday. In a press conference Wednesday, councilman Andy King read off the names of the disappeared girls, all ages 12 to 19, mostly black or Latina, six of whom have been reported missing just in the month of June.
"Every other day, every other week, our young girls, ranging from the ages 12 to roughly about 16 or 17 years of age, are just vanishing off our streets," King said, according to New York 1 News. "We need to make sure that our children stay safe."
Two of the teenagers went missing on June 23, while others have been absent since July 2014. According to New York 1, local businesses are establishing themselves as safe-haven zones where people who feel threatened can get in touch with law enforcement officials who, for their part, are investigating the cases as well as King's allegation that the girls have been forced into sex work.
"Understanding and learning more that there is a valid active prostitution ring that is occurring up here in the Bronx," King continued, adding, "We need to find ways to shut it down."