Dead Prostitutes – Does Anyone Care? MOMS does.

So many American cities have women who, for one reason or another, live on the margins. In some cases, they are that sad combination of hooker and drug addict. They sell sex to feed their habits, or to feed their children.

In one small, North Carolina City, nine such women have vanished since 2005.

rocky mount women

Six were later found dead, murdered but so decomposed that finding a cause of death became near impossible. All of the victims were black.

The city is Rocky Mount, 60 miles northeast of Raleigh. Sadly, the story of prostitutes who die by violence is not unique to this particular place. Yet residents of Rocky Mount tell a story of alleged police inaction due largely to the lifestyles of the victims. That too is not unique. It’s almost a given that serial killers can ply their trade among prostitutes and drug addicts because it takes so long for the law to recognize what’s happening.

In the case of Rocky Mount, it wasn’t until the latest victim was discovered in June that  local and state police formed a task force, and it was last month that the FBI got involved. They won’t say if they suspect a serial killer, but an awful lot of people in Rocky Mount think its the work of one man. Keep in mind that three women have disappeared, and none of them have been found.

The issue here, beyond the tragedy of these homicides, is the value of human life. Say what we will about all being equal, we treat some as less than equal, in some cases, far less. The life of a drug addicted hooker isn’t one to envy on any level. Still, our own humanity should demand we care, especially if such women are deliberately targeted.

In a couple of cases, women who walked the streets of Rocky Mount and jumped in and our of cars with men decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

One woman who knew two of the victims has founded a group to publicize the slayings, and to search for the three women who remain missing.

The group is called Murdered or Missing Sisters or MOMS. They’ve raised awareness to the point that national media has begun to cover the story.

While that’s all well and good, one wonders if these killings would have been highlighted sooner if the women involved weren’t part of that shadow world of people living on society’s margins.

Will we ever consider that their lives mean as much as anyone else’s? You tell me.



  1. thank you so much for helping to get the word out about this. i, for one, DO care. i am embarrassed to be 45 years old in america and still seeing not just racial discrimination (which is shameful enough) but discrimination against women who are also prostitutes. any of us, given a certain set of circumstances, could be in the same position as these women.
    unfortunately, i believe that law enforcement is many times guilty of the same objectification of prostitutes as those who patronize them.
    it is truly an embarrassment that 6 bodies had to be found – 9 women had to go missing – BEFORE a task force was put together. BEFORE anyone was warned about this particular danger.
    my heart goes out to all of these families, friends, and women still on the streets.
    i beg anyone with ANY information – no matter how insignificant you think it may be – to contact the police in rocky mount and tell them over and over again until someone listens.

  2. Women are not born into prostitution. (If I may add a light note on a hot day: members
    of Congress kind of work their way into it.) Why do women become prostitutes?
    It is not a coincidence that many women are poor, based on how society regards women,
    work that women “can” do (allowed) and the need to feed children in a society where
    the CEO of Whole Foods can have an editorial in the Wall St. Journal stating that
    “food, medical care and shelter are not a right…let the market decide”. (Well, single-
    payer group activists are calling for a boycott of Whole Foods – I am boycotting the
    food store chain.)

    When Bill Clinton signed the “end the welfare-as we know it” law, I predicted an increase
    in prostitution.

    While there are some women who defend sex work as a good job, I would be
    better about it, if all women had a good education, opportunity for good jobs,
    childcare, etc. and could make a real choice about whether or not she wanted
    to be a sex worker. (I had a friend who told me her mother did prostitution
    as a housewife during the Great Depression to feed the first child, before my
    friend was born. During WWII my friend’s mom got work in a factory, sewing.)

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