In recent days, social media has been abuzz with videos of alleged child kidnapping incidents thought to be related to child trafficking.
With child trafficking apparently on the rise, these images have sent panic waves among parents, with some vowing not to publicly disclose the names of their children, nor have their photos published.
WhatsApp voice notes from unknown individuals have also been doing the rounds, warning parents to remove pictures of their children from their profile pictures or any other public platforms because placing their child on their profile picture allegedly makes them an easier victim for child traffickers.
Midrand police allayed parents’ fears somewhat by revealing that they have not had a case of child abduction, kidnapping or child-trafficking reported to them recently.
The South African Police Services went a step further by issuing a response regarding child kidnappings and abductions because the continuous unconfirmed social media postings have become a growing concern for the authorities.
“Since these postings started going viral, the police have been trying to confirm whether those depictions did or did not occur in any part of South Africa,” said the police spokesperson, Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
“To this day, there is no evidence to suggest, firstly, that these incidents happened in South Africa and secondly, that these incidents are actually legitimate.
“By now, besides reporting this to the police, one would have expected at least one family to have come forward to publicly confirm at least one of those videos to be legitimate.
“The police will never know if these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported. Therefore the only reasonable conclusion we can draw from this is that these videos are hoaxes.”
However, Naidoo urged parents and guardians to exercise vigilance at all times. He said one of the challenges of being a parent was teaching your children to be cautious without filling them with fear or anxiety.
Naidoo suggested talking to your children about safety and giving them the basics of how to avoid and escape potentially dangerous situations.