By Jessica Pag-iwayan
For several days now, news about missing children in Pasay City has been causing alarm. Reports say that between Nov. 20 and 22, nine teenagers (composed of one female and eight male), ages 15 to 23 disappeared in Pasay. Some of the parents aired their concern that their children might be taken by a syndicate group.
In light of this incident, we are sharing important reminders from Gene Yu, CEO of security firm Blackpanda, on how parents can protect their children and what young people should do if they find themselves in similar situations.
Kidnap means “the abduction of a person (or persons) with the intention of detaining them in an unknown location until a demand for money or concessions is met.” Therefore, “in the case of a child being abducted, if a ransom demand is made, or there’s a demand for some other concession,” only then, can it be classified as a kidnap case.
According to Yu, since this type of crime is often unreported, it’s difficult to “determine exactly the statistics and details regarding the kidnapping.” But some of the common drivers behind child abduction are:
● A child custody issue
● Intent to sell an infant on to childless couples
● Kidnap for ransom
● Kidnap for some other form of concession and
● Sexual exploitation
Victim must do’s
It’s hard to brief people on what to do when faced with this situation, but it is important to be prepared at all times. Keep in mind the danger of talking and interacting with strangers, and its potential threats. According to Blackpanda CEO, at the time of abduction one should do the following:
● Make a lot of noise
● Do not fight back, and
● Follow the kidnapper’s orders and directions
Parents do’s and dont’s
In the event of a child being kidnapped, parents need to:
● Stay calm
● Confirm the whereabouts and security of other family members and children
● Get expert help immediately
● Gather as much information as possible as quickly as possible and assess this with the experts
● Contact two or three reliable members of the family and set up a small management team
● Prepare for an in-coming call ensuring you stay calm, try to speak with your child, or at least ask a question to confirm the caller has your child, state a willingness to resolve the matter, and then arrange a call in an hour to buy some time to allow for rational thought to prevail
It is strongly advised that parents do not:
● Start calling everyone they know to see if their child is with them
● Call the local police station to seek assistance; they need to speak with experts
● Agree to any demand kidnappers make in the first call
● Promise something that cannot be delivered
● Handle any calls unless one has a very strong form of an emotional point of view, if not, get another family member who is strong and calm
Don’t be the next victim
Criminals attack whenever there’s an opportunity for them. Here are the things one can do to protect himself or his family from being their next victim.
● At home, it is best to know the people around you. It’s better to know your neighbors well for they will be the one to help you in many ways. It is also important to know the emergency hotlines of responses group like the police, ambulance, and such.
● Within the family members, it is best that you always know the whereabouts of everyone. Instill in all family members the need to communicate when changing location and arrival at new locations, and communicate a change of plans.
● Never ever leave them with someone you do not know. Parents shouldn’t let their children be exposed to strangers who can take advantage of them, even the household helper or driver.
● Be careful on what you post online and what you say to others offline. Know that people nowadays use different technologies and their friends to commit crimes for the sake of money or other inner intents, and you, using technologies, may help them see your status in life, your whereabouts and can track you easily.
“Be aware of the threat and how it manifests itself,” Yu says. “Having a plan in place to ensure a calm and measured response to an event should it occur, and engaging with security professionals, and response consultants to ensure the family is getting the best advice before the event, and during an event, should a kidnapping occur.”