Parents warned to be vigilant amid rise in kidnapping, human trafficking cases

| Breakfast host Refilwe Moloto chats to Missing Children South Africa's national coordinator, Bianca van Aswegen.

  • "Kidnappings are on the rise and so is human trafficking," says Bianca van Aswegen of Missing Children SA

  • The organisation has warned that both children and adults are targeted by trafficking syndicates in the country



Image copyright: sinicakover/123rf.com

Parents have been urged to look out for themselves and their children amid an apparent increase in kidnapping and human trafficking cases.

Missing Children South Africa has noted an increase in the number of abductions taking place across the country.

The organisation has dealt with cases of opportunistic kidnappings, parental abductions, ransom kidnappings, traditional medicine kidnappings, and human trafficking.

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Missing Children SA's national coordinator, Bianca van Aswegen, says there's been a spike in human trafficking during the last two years as people have become more vulnerable to criminal syndicates.

According to van Aswegen, fraudulent job adverts and fake social media profiles are just some of the tactics used to lure trafficking victims.

Human trafficking has definitely escalated in our country especially during Covid-19 because of the fact that people have become very desperate, a lot of people have lost their jobs while others are working from home. They are online, children have been online more on social media and those are the platforms that these syndicates are actually using now to groom children and lure people into these trafficking rings.

Bianca van Aswegen, National coordinator - Missing Children SA

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Van Aswegen tells CapeTalk that human trafficking is often motivated by sexual exploitation, illegal adoptions, forced labour, and illegal activities such as the drug trade.

She says people need to be vigilant and aware of both their physical surroundings and online interactions.

Parents are advised to monitor their child's social media activity, and look out for suspicious accounts or internet scams.

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We never think it will happen to us so you just go about your day... but we have to be more vigilant about your surroundings.

Bianca van Aswegen, National coordinator - Missing Children SA

SAPS has not released anything of late but we do see an increase yearly of children going missing... especially kidnappings and human trafficking... The statistics only give us a general indication of what is happening in our country, but the severity behind it is much worse than we actually think.

Bianca van Aswegen, National coordinator - Missing Children SA

If someone close to you goes missing, you should report it to the police as soon as you know they are missing.

Once you've opened a case, you can seek help from organisations such as Missing Children SA.

There is no waiting period to report a missing person and the first 24 to 48 hours are the most critical in the investigation, van Aswegen explains.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Parents warned to be vigilant amid rise in kidnapping, human trafficking cases

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