Trafficking concern for missing teen

Crime & Courts

A Durban father has made an impassioned plea for the return of his 14-year-old daughter, who went missing from their Glenhills home at midnight on Saturday.

The SAPS confirmed on Tuesday night that it had put out a province-wide alert for Kaylene Jeanette Lewis.

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MISSING: Police have put out a province-wide alert for Kaylene Jeanette Lewis, who was last seen by her father, Quinton Lewis, at their Glenhills home at midnight on Saturday.

The disappearance of yet another local teenage girl has sparked concern on social networks, including Facebook, where Kaylene had kept a public diary in which she briefly documented family matters, her longing for Ficksburg (where she grew up), and her falling her out with a friend.

Quinton Lewis said on Tuesday night that his daughter stayed with him on weekends, but when he woke up on Sunday morning, she was gone.

He said he had learnt that Kaylene had been seen with a male that evening.

Lewis said his daughter was going through adolescence and he hoped that she had asked someone to take her away from home rather than the thought of her having been abducted.

“We’ve never had a problem,” he said. “I’m very concerned about her and her mother is upset, too. I don’t know why she ran away.”

He said they remained optimistic that she would be found alive: “We want to tell her that we love her and care about her. She must come back home.”

Lewis said he had spoken to teachers at Kaylene’s school, Danville Park High, and they were getting as much information as they could from other pupils.

On Facebook,

the teen had posted a diary entry in March: “I’m sick of all the rumours going around about me, it’s all not true, I’m just a… girl in need.”

Dessie Rechner, director of The Pink Ladies Organisation, an NGO that helps find missing children, said she believed Lewis was in the Durban North area.

She said the organisation was inundated with requests from parents to help find their children.

Rechner blamed parents for allowing children too much freedom in using social networks from a young age.

“Would you put a loaded gun in the hands of your child? Then don’t give young children these BlackBerrys and smartphones for Mxit and Facebook,” she said.

“Teenagers need to be warned about these lolly rooms. When they leave their homes to meet these people they talk to in chatting rooms and social networks, they don’t know what will happen.”

Rechner said human trafficking was a big problem. She said children between 12 and 17 were most vulnerable to being introduced to dagga, tik and other drugs – only to be set up for a life of prostitution.

“Parents should take an interest in the lives of their children,” she said. “I cannot stress that enough.” - Daily News

* Anyone with information on Kaylene is asked to call Warrant Officer Vis Moodley at 031 560 8123 or Lieutenant Raymond Deokaran at 083 632 2849.

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