Race Inequality

Racism is holding us back from finding hundreds of missing children – just because they’re not blonde

We’ve all heard of the Madeleine  McCann case, regardless what you think of what happened, I think we can agree that it’s pretty heartbreaking. The three-year-old disappeared during a holiday in Portugal with her family and made the headlines internationally. 10 years on, the search for her still continues. In this time it is estimated that the government has spent around £11m trying to figure out what happened. Recently, there were reports in the news that Scotland Yard is to ask for more money to help them continue this investigation.

I’ll admit straight up:  if this was my child, I would want all the money and all the resources in the world to find them, that my search would not end after any certain point. So I can entirely understand why, 10 years later, the search for McCann is still on.

However, the amount spent on this investigation is unnerving to me for another reason entirely.

People go missing pretty often, children and adults. In the U.K, you just need to check the missing people website to find names and pictures of people who disappeared. Yet while scrolling down this list, I realized that I hadn’t heard of most of these names. These people were missing – some for quite some time – and yet I had never seen their names or faces in the news before. Surely, they are just as important? Any missing person is important.

I came across Trang Nguyen, a 15-year-old who went missing from Nottingham in August of 2015. I tried to google her but other than a few articles, I couldn’t find much on her. I wanted to know if she had been found, but considering she’s still listed, I’m going to assume she’s still missing. I kept on scrolling and I came across Hafsa Tarambi, another 15-year old that went missing in June 2015. Once again, I had never heard of her name before. I did a quick google search and wasn’t able to come up with much information either. The list is endless.

I scrolled for ages and came across maybe one name that I’d heard of as reported.

I can’t help but wonder why one case is so heavily publicized and given so much importance when others aren’t. Is it the age difference? Madeleine McCann was a lot younger than many people on that list, but surely every child matters? Is it because they went missing locally rather than internationally? Are they not photogenic enough? The obvious difference here is

No. The obvious difference here is race.

I’m not in any way saying Madeleine McCann is not deserving of the media attention and funds put into her investigation, of course, she is. And I understand that maybe her case requires higher funding as it is an international case. It’s definitely important. But so are the rest of these missing children that go unheard off. It’s not that they got half the publicity and effort that her case got, it’s that they got barely any.

All missing children are deserving of being found. They should all be treated equally and publicized as such. Imagine if 11m was spent on every missing child – how many we would have back at home?

Imagine if 11m was spent on every missing child – how many we would have back at home?

By Mitta Thakrar

As Senior Now & Beyond Editor, Mitta is on a quest to make science relatable and popular. She is based in the UK, in the countryside far away from humans. Mitta has a law degree but has somehow ended up in the wondrous land of writers. She writes everything from poetry to short stories and hopes to finish her novel one day. Additionally, Mitta can be found avidly reading or playing with her cats.