For the family of a young Californian woman, there has been a year of anguish, turmoil, and unknowing. The woman’s family and the leaders of the community have spent a year trying to locate her and have had no success. Now, they are asking for help from the public in solving her disappearance.
The police in this case believe that she was the victim of human trafficking.
The woman in question is 20-year-old Ruthey Smith. Ruthey was last seen in South Los Angeles on March 2, 2022. Specifically, she was seen in the area of Figueroa and 70th street. That area, according to the police, is a well-known area for prostitution and sex workers. Ruthey’s family was not afraid to acknowledge that. In fact, they were open about the fact that she had been working as a prostitute for quite a while.
“We know the stigma that surrounds sex work which ultimately hindered the investigation, but these women are human and they deserve to be looked for,” Kathryn Smith, Ruthey’s mother, said in an interview regarding the case of her missing daughter.
Ruthey Smith was raised in Long Beach, California after being born in San Pedro. When Ruthey was just 16 years old, she had her child and was officially a teenage mother. Due to the financial hardships she was going through after the birth of her daughter, Ruthey turned to sex work in order to make money. Just days before she disappeared, she told both of her parents that she was starting to have concerns about her job. Specifically, she told them that she feared someone was going to abduct her. Despite that concern, she went to work anyway.
The Long Beach Police Department has confirmed that Ruthey’s case is being treated as a human trafficking case.
“She would never abandon my granddaughter, her child. She would never miss birthdays or holidays with us family,” her mother said.
Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Gabriel Garrido with the LBPD Missing Persons Detail at 562–570–7246 or police dispatch at 562–435–6711. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may submit a tip through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1–800–222-TIPS (8477).
Comments / 1