Public urged to view photos of missing kids

Monday, May 25, 2009
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria - The South African Police Service (SAPS) Crime Intelligence Unit and Interpol have set up a display with pictures of missing children at the Thibault Building in Schoeman Street, Pretoria.

Police have urged members of the public to view the photos in an attempt to recognise any of the missing kids and help in reuniting them with their parents.

"The display will be updated with photographs of missing children around the globe and especially from South Africa on a daily basis. We hope that some of these kids would be identified and re-united with their parents," said Crime Intelligence and Interpol spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Tummi Golding.

She said children go missing for various reasons including sexual exploitation, divorce of parents, where one partner takes the child without informing the other partner and others get lost on their way from school.

"There are others who leave home because they don't want to abide by their parents' rules and decide to go and live on the streets in town," Senior Superintendent Golding told BuaNews.

She urged parents to make it their duty to look after the kids they meet on the street.

"You have to be worried when you see a child on the street, ask his name and take him to the nearest police station or call 08600 10111 or sms crime line 32211."

Senior Superintendent Golding also emphasised the importance of putting the information, including contact details, of the child's parents inside school bags in case they get lost on their way back from school.

"With children it's difficult to locate their parents because they can't explain where they come from, unlike adults, hence the importance of putting all the information inside their bags," Senior Superintendent Golding said.

About 1 500 missing children reports are received by the SAPS nationally every six months with a recovery rate of 79 to 80 percent.

The display forms part of events to mark International Missing Children's Day which is held during Child Protection Week between 25 and 31 May 2009.

International Missing Children's Day aims to raise awareness about all the children who have been reported missing as well as spread a message of hope to families without any news of their missing child.