Child kidnapping is one of the worst crimes to be committed, and it sits right up there with child abuse. The stealing of children is more common than we think. Statistics got from the National Center for Missing, and Exploited Children (NCMEC) states that up to 800,000 children become subjects of the missing persons report every single year. That’s a lot of kids getting kidnapped.
As bad as that is, what is more, appalling and scary is the fact that a quarter of that number, about 203,000, were abducted by their family members and people they know. This poses a problem because it is doubly hard to know who a kidnapper is if they are your own family members or people that you know very well and trust. This is scary because it calls into question the trust we put into our family members and close friends.
But then there are still ways to know if someone is a kidnapper or not irrespective of your connection to them. It is not possible for parents to keep an eye on their children 24 hours, 7 days a week. You’ll need to ease yourself, look for your credit card at the mall, take a nap or turn to say hi to your friend at the park.
However, you need to be very conscious of your environment so that you would be able to notice when something had changed. Usually, if something does not look good, it most probably isn’t good. In this article, we would be giving you a list of things to look out for in a potential abductor.
1. A little bit of bribery
Children are the purest form of human beings, and so they easily trust people especially other adults with their safety and life. These child abductors know this, and so they play on that naivety by bringing a gift or bribe. Things like a toy, candy, and any other thing that appeals to little kids are used. These bribes are used to gain the child’s trust and compliance. Looking at the child’s body language should let you know if that child knows the person or not. They might seem withdrawn for a while and may later seem to warm up to the person. Quickly alert the police or try to stop them from going away with the child.
2. An unknown Child.
Not all kidnappers are adults though or make their move as adults. Seasoned child abductors know that most children get wary when they see a strange adult but respond better to kids even the unfamiliar ones. This is because they trust that another kid is just a kid and nothing sinister. The kidnappers send a child to approach and befriend the targeted child then lead him away from the playground and to them. Your children are most likely to fall for this ploy, and so you should always be aware of whom they are talking to and most importantly moving around with especially at the park. Make it a point to ask questions to know if the child knows who he is following.
3. An adult asking a kid for directions from their car.
This is one of the more common ways of kidnapping a child. The kidnapper usually stops by a child and asks them for directions to a certain place, and while the child is talking, their accomplice forcefully pushes the child into the car. It does not really make sense to ask a 5-year-old for directions to the mall; they aren’t going to know that. If an adult really needed directions, they could either refer to their GPS or ask another adult. Always be on the lookout for an adult in a car talking to a child, it could be a kidnapping attempt in progress.
4. An Adult asking a child for help with something.
These kidnappers sometimes take the children away from the playground under the pretext of needing help for something. This is usually help looking for a toy, a pet or something to do with a car. The child in question does not know better and may not know that he can’t help the kidnapper with what he asked for and so would follow them.
5. Look out for certain words, phrases and body language.
The way in which a child refers to an adult can let you know the extent of their familiarity. Family members are usually referred to in overly friendly terms. If you notice a child refer to the adult he/she is following as Mister or Miss; then you need to confront them and demand to know what relationship the adult has with the child. Most often than not, the adult would not be someone that the kid is familiar with. Another phrase to look out for is “Where are we going to.” This tells you that the child is not comfortable going anywhere with the adult leading him. A quick questioning should clear things up.
6. A Crying child.
Children cry for the most ridiculous reasons. Half the time they cry, it’s unwarranted, so it’s rather difficult to know if the child is just throwing a tantrum or trying to be naughty. But then certain screams and cries can only mean one thing especially when it is accompanied by “Let go of me.” Quickly step in and ask certain questions to be sure the child isn’t being coerced.
7. Strangers passing themselves off as family members.
Social media platforms have made it very easy for kidnappers to get a lot of information on their targets. This can be done with the full bios we upload on our social media pages. The kidnapper approaches the child pretending to be a friend or coworker of Mummy or daddy. They then convince the child of their legitimacy by offering them certain surface information to gain their trust like where their parents work. Once the children believe them, they are taken by the kidnappers to “meet their parents.”
8. Trying to gain trust with flattery.
This one usually works on young female teenagers who are in that time of their lives where they need validation. It would be easy to sway them by claiming to make them famous models. Unfortunately, most magazines do not look for their next models on the street, so it is highly unlikely that the kidnapper is telling the truth. If you are nearby, quickly inject yourself into the conversation and try to ask the adult pertinent questions.
9. The creeps who stalk the playground
If you frequent the playground, then you have an idea of what I’m talking about. What better place to scout out your next target than at the playground? So, if there is someone who stays around the playground and fits the bill of creepy, you should be wary especially when he or she seems to have no kids in the playground. Take a picture of him or try to detain him until the police arrive.
If you ever notice any one of the scenarios painted above, it is important that you do try to stop things from progressing. Don’t be passive be an active member in this fight against child abduction. Have you ever noticed any of these signs? If you have, let us know in the comment section.