POLOKWANE – Everyday, South Africans read about missing men and women but those targeted the most are children.
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While police say there is no evidence that suggests these types of incidents happen in South Africa, it is still important to be aware and know what signs to look out for.
According to the South African National Human Trafficking Resource Line’s Facebook page, child abduction is the offense of wrongfully removing or wrongfully retaining, detaining or concealing a child or baby.
Abduction is defined as taking away a person by persuasion, by fraud, or by open force or violence.
The organisation says there are two types of child abduction: 1. Parental child abduction and 2. Abduction by a stranger.
“It is important to note that a child abduction does not automatically mean that the child is being trafficked. There are many other reasons for child abductions, for example: being sold for body parts to make muti, to perform rituals, organ trafficking, murder, sexual exploitation, abduction by a family member, or kidnapping for a ransom.”
In most cases one can only determine that a child was abducted for the purpose of trafficking if the child is found, and an investigation opened.
They also advised parents to keep updated photos of their children with them.
Child trafficking is a crime that is an increasing risk to children around the world as it exploits children for many purposes including commercial sexual exploitation or domestic labour, agricultural work, factory work, mining or to be forced into fighting in conflicts or war.
According to the organisation, reports indicate that traffickers often target children and youths with a history of sexual abuse, dating violence, low self-esteem, and minimal social support. Boys and girls are sometimes sold by a family member or an acquaintance, or lured by false promises of education and a “better” life.
Trafficked and exploited children are held in slave-like conditions without enough food, shelter, or clothing and often severely abused and cut off from all contact with their families.
The suggest teaching your children the following numbers: