Cape Town – Missing Children South Africa (MCSA) has launched the #16Survivors campaign aimed at giving hope to parents of long-missing children and highlighting the fact that not all cases end sadly.
To mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children, MCSA will share 16 positive stories for the duration of this international campaign of women and children found and assisted by the organisation under the banner #16Survivors.
This will be shared daily on social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness and generate funds.
The first story of hope which was shared on Sunday was of Rebecca, whose child was abducted when sent to a nearby shop. She went to look for her, but she was nowhere to be found.
Rebecca wanted to report the matter to the police but did not do so because she had been told they only start looking after 24 hours. Not knowing what to do or who to turn to, a friend informed her about MCSA. With the quick response from MCSA, who involved the police, the child was found.
MCSA national case officer and national co-ordinator Bianca van Aswegen said: “Unfortunately, some parents still wait too long to report a child missing. People need to know that every second counts.
"There’s no such thing as having to wait 24 hours - the first 24 to 48 hours are crucial. If Rebecca didn't act fast and report her missing child, the story would've been different,” Van Aswegen said.
“Our mission is to give parents and caregivers the skills they need to keep themselves and their children safe, which is why stories are based on true experience. For example, always have an updated photograph of your child, and take note of what they are wearing when you go into a public space.
“To protect the survivors and not open wounds, fictitious names will be used. We would like to see that 77% recovery stat increase to 100%. But we also want parents to understand that time is of the essence.”
The organisation’s statistics show that between May 1, 2017, and April 30 this year, 200 adults and 124 children were reported missing. Of these, 194 of the adults and 94 of the children were found.
“Most of the cases are runaways, followed by kidnappings and human trafficking. We still hope the long-missing children will be found some day, that’s why their cases are never closed. It’s an unfortunate reality but 2% of the children were found deceased.”
MCSA has called on South Africans to get involved by sharing the daily posts with their networks and to donate R25 to Missing Children SA by SMSing "MCSA" to 41006. This will assist in finding more people and creating more survivor stories.