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Don’t make it easy for criminals to have access to your children, parents urged

Police and missing persons organisations advise not to write your child’s name onto their backpacks. file image

Police and missing persons organisations advise not to write your child’s name onto their backpacks. file image

Published Jan 11, 2022

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Cape Town - Police have advised parents not to write their children’s name on to their backpacks, where its visible, when the new school year begins.

This has also been highlighted by the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit.

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The new school year is expected to start next week.

The police took to Twitter warning parents not to make it easy for criminals to have access to their children, especially with the high rate of human trafficking and kidnapping.

Instead, they have advised parents to rather write the parent’s phone numbers on their backpacks.

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They said: “Do not write your child’s name on his or her personal belongings such as a backpack where it is visible for everyone to see.

“Adults who prey on children have tricks to gain a child’s trust and one of these tricks is calling a child by his or her name.

“It is often difficult for children to separate strangers from acquaintances, and even the good guys from the bad guys. If an adult comes up to them and says their name, it may make the child think the person must be someone they know or their parents know.

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“This makes the child think it is okay to talk to this adult.

“A much better idea is to write your phone number instead — this will prove helpful if anything gets lost or stolen.”

Missing persons organisations have made the same plea, especially where school transport is concerned.

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They called for parents to ensure that they have trusted drivers who would not leave their children behind at school or abandon them, leaving them vulnerable and unsafe.

Candice van der Rheede, the founder of the Western Cape Missing Persons Unit, made a public appeal on Facebook this week and told Weekend Argus they had seen children disappear or getting lost due to their school transportation not being reliable or safe.

She also advised that parents not place their children’s names on to the exterior of their backpacks but to do so on the interior — and not to do embroidery on to their school uniforms with their names.

“It is nearing the time for schools to open and many will be out buying their children’s stationery and uniforms,” she said.

“Please don’t write your child’s name on their bag for all to see, rather write it inside on the top flip.

“I see many parents are still having their child’s name embroidered on their school uniforms; rather have their initials embroidered or write their name on the label inside. Human trafficking is real.

“Please keep our babies safe.

“People should make a hundred percent sure of the transport for their children.

“We have a problem with transport that drives away from the children and at the end of the day these children are left behind at school and they go missing.” | Weekend Argus

Related Topics:

Basic Education

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