A volunteer group that looks for missing children is urging parents to take extra care over the festive season to stop their children becoming missing-persons statistics.
The Western Cape Missing Persons Unit (WCMPU) and the Woodstock Community Police Forum (CPF) held an end-of-year fun day at Shelley Road sports field in Salt River last Saturday.
The WCMPU’s founder, Candice van der Rheede, says it’s important for parents to know where their children are at all times.
“Parents must make sure that they know what is happening on their children’s phones, as perpetrators are very active on social media.”
WCMPU executive member Shariefa Job said there was a greater risk of children going missing at this time of year during family outings to the beach, parks and supermarkets.
“Most of all, parents must know at all times where their children are,” she said.
The 50-odd children at Saturday’s fun day were given puzzle books, toys and toiletries, and they played ball games, danced and took part in Zumba lessons given by Shiyaam Rossie.
Farieda Samodien gave their parents archery lessons.
Gava Gamiet, of Salt River, said she would be extra vigilant with her grandchildren over the holidays.
“I don’t want them to play alone outside, and I always want to be around them and keep an eye on them because I am scared that someone will just grab them and put them in the car.”
Woodstock CPF chairman Youssef Kanouni ran some of the games for the children.
“An event like this is important because it’s important to raise awareness about protecting our children, and parents must know at all times where their children are as child trafficking is happening all over the world.”
According to Ms Job, the WCMPU, when called to track a missing child, asks parents to file a police report and provide a current photo of the child as well as details of the child’s physical appearance, what they were wearing and where they were last seen.
Flyers are distributed on social media and to hospitals and mortuaries.
Call 082 225 2612, 071 639 8344 or 074 528 5396, or email email@example.com if you have information about a missing child or would like more information about the WCMPU.