It may be a fact that children go missing, but what can we do about it?
We may not have the milk box strategy of the US, but South Africans are very aware of the problem.
According to stats from 2013, taken from the South African Police Service Missing Persons Bureau, a child goes missing every 5 hours in South Africa. A positive is that 77% of these children are found, but what of the balance?
Why do they want our children?
In some instances, it has much to do with ritualistic reasons. We have heard horrific stories of African tribes taking white children in for sexually and health driven rituals, claiming that by having sex with a white child, the male counterpart will be cured of whatever disease they have.
It seems archaic and downright madness, but it is what it is.
Child trafficking is a highly lucrative business the world over. The younger the better, apparently, and these people that use them are ruthless. You may think, in your mind, that it is impossible that another human being could be so cruel, but when it comes to drugs and money, many humans will do most anything.
How can we protect our children?
Most parents are very aware of the risks of leaving a child alone or unattended. It is also a reality that while your child may be in the next room, they are not necessarily alone, given the online world we live in.
Sadly, a large percentage of parents, don’t take the proper measures to secure their children, and these are generally the ones whose kids go missing most often.
It could be because of a poverty situation or most times because of a drug addiction. While they may love their children as much as we do, circumstances can alter the level of security they can provide for their young ones.
We believe that education is where it all should start. Ensuring your children are aware of the risks, no matter how hard the subject will be to talk about, is a necessity. It really could mean the difference between your child reaching a healthy and safe adulthood versus being pulled into a cartel of sex, drugs and possibly death.
Harsh, we know, but it is so very real.
Sit them down, tell them that children go missing everyday, tell them what could happen if they are not aware. Sad as it may be, but walking home alone today, even if a few metres, is just not a good idea. Deciding to pop down to the shop without anyone knowing is a big no-no. Chatting to random people online or via the smartphone apps must be treated with extreme caution. Tell them about cyber-trafficking and how it can all pan out.
It will require you to put fear in their hearts, and it will break your heart, but not as much as receiving that call to say your child has gone missing.
If you still feel that you cannot trust your child to follow your rules, ensure you put tracking apps on their phones and online platforms. ESET is a great Parental Control Security Platform, that will give you peace of mind.
Yes, children go missing, but let’s bring that number down and ensure that they remain safe and at home.