Finding missing kids a global search

PLIGHT: Tumi Golding, right, Solly Mokgatle, middle, and Tebogo Maano look at photos of missing children on International Day For Missing Children. 25/05/09. Pic. Peggy Nkomo. © Sowetan.
PLIGHT: Tumi Golding, right, Solly Mokgatle, middle, and Tebogo Maano look at photos of missing children on International Day For Missing Children. 25/05/09. Pic. Peggy Nkomo. © Sowetan.

WHERE have our children gone? About 1700 children a year are reported missing in South Africa and 1 380 are on the South African Police Service's Bureau for Missing Persons' data base.

WHERE have our children gone? About 1700 children a year are reported missing in South Africa and 1 380 are on the South African Police Service's Bureau for Missing Persons' data base.

These figures were released during the commemoration of International Missing Children's Day at the SAPS head office in Pretoria yesterday.

The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (Icmec) in partnership with the SAPS launched a campaign aimed at educating global communities about issues associated with missing children and strengthening global efforts to find them.

A permanent glass exhibition for missing persons, especially children, was also unveiled yesterday.

The static exhibition is at the Thibault Arcade building on Schoeman Street and will be updated with photographs of missing children around the world, especially from South Africa.

Fanie van Deventer, the president of the centre, says small children and babies are usually stolen by someone who wants a baby.

The chance of finding those babies alive is high. The exception is when the child has been abducted by a sexual predator. Children between 12 and 18 years old were usually runaways.

"We never close a case. We continue until the parents have closure," Van Deventer said.

According to SAPS national spokesperson Tumi Golding, the current recovery rate is 80percent.

Golding said nine countries are part of the Global Missing Children's Network run by the Icmec.

"The purpose of this special day is to encourage everyone around the world to think about all the children still missing and to spread the message of hope and solidarity to parents who do not know what has become of their children," she said.

Golding added that the problem of missing children was complex. She said the exact number of missing children internationally was unknown.

Like other countries which are part of the Global Missing Children"s Network, South Africa released balloons with photos of missing children to commemorate the day.

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