Last month, I attended a seminar where matters to do with child kidnapping and trafficking crimes were discussed at length. The main focus of the seminar was the question on how the child kidnapping and trafficking crimes can be stopped. In dealing with this particular question, we all had to start by agreeing that child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are usually within the context of organized crime. And like all other forms of organized crime, child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are usually carried out by cartels or syndicates. Thus, stopping the child kidnapping and trafficking crimes is ultimately a matter of eliminating the cartels that are involved in the crimes. The key question that arose, then, was as to how the cartels that are involved in child kidnapping and trafficking crimes could be eliminated.
In dealing with the question as to how the cartels that are involved in child kidnapping and trafficking crimes can be eliminated, various solutions were given. But in analyzing those various solutions, I came to the conclusion that the whole thing boils down to a three-step process.
Firstly, the elimination of the cartels that are involved in child kidnapping and trafficking crimes is a question of (simply) detecting the cartels. The cartels are made up of individuals. The assignment here would be to know who these individuals are, and what their roles in the cartels are.
Secondly, the elimination of the cartels that are involved in child kidnapping and trafficking crimes is a question of studying the cartels. The assignment here would be to understand how the cartels work: where exactly they get the kids from, what their modus operandi is, how the cartels manage their finances, how they launder their money… and so on.
Thirdly, the elimination of the cartels that are involved in child trafficking is a question of actually of cracking down on the cartels: having first detected the cartels and studied them intensively. This may entail laying a trap for them or infiltrating them – the target always being to go for the kingpins in the cartels, besides the foot-soldiers.
Wherever I give media interviews on matters to do with child kidnapping and trafficking crimes (and how to tackle them), there are several questions that I tend to encounter from the interviewers. One of those is the question about the circumstances under which child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are committed. This is a question where the people who pose it are typically interested in understanding how the kids who are kidnapped and trafficked end up in that sad predicament. And in answering that question, I usually point out that there are three circumstances under which child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are typically committed.
Firstly, we have the situations where kids are kidnapped while playing, and subsequently trafficked. This is why it is important for parents to ensure that their kids only play in safe areas, and that they keep watchful eyes on the kids as the kids play outdoors.
Secondly, we have the situations where kids are kidnapped while on their way from school (or from some other places), and subsequently trafficked. This is why it is critical for parents to try, whenever possible, to be dropping their kids to school, and picking the kids from school, as opposed to letting the kids go to and from school on their own. If commercial companies like American Airways are able to take proper care of their employees through sites like jetnet.aa.com, then parents should surely have the commitment to take proper care of their kids, with whom they have (or are supposed to have) much deeper relationships.
Thirdly, we have the situation where kids who run away from home (for whatever reasons) are kidnapped, and subsequently trafficked. This is why it is important for parents to avoid abusing their kids (physically, emotionally or otherwise), as sustained child abuse can eventually lead to a situation where the kids run away from home, to the streets: where they would be at risk of being kidnapped and trafficked.
Child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are amongst the worst in the world. These are the sorts of crimes that typically entail the total destruction of the victims’ lives. These are heartless crimes, to say the least.
Having appreciated just how bad child kidnapping and trafficking crimes are, the question that arises is as to how such crimes can be tackled. And I have several insights in this regards: that is, insights on how child kidnapping and trafficking crimes can be tackled.
One way (in fact, I dare say, the main way) in which child kidnapping and trafficking crimes can be tackled is by enhancing intelligence capabilities in this area. The idea is to use intelligence agencies to sniff out the people who are involved in the child kidnapping and trafficking crimes, and then bringing such people to book. It would, of course, be naïve to assume that this will be easy. True, the sniffing part can be easy enough for any reasonably good intelligence agency, but the bit about bringing the perpetrators to light can be a little tricky. This is because the perpetrators of these (typically) transnational crimes often turn out to be very powerful, very well-connected individuals and syndicates. So having sniffed out such a syndicate, security agents may recommend the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators to the ‘government’, only for the perpetrators to turn out to be amongst the so-called ‘owners of the government’.
Thankfully, there are also (simpler) measures that parents can put in place, to minimize the chances of their kids being kidnapped and trafficked. These include measures like ensuring that kids don’t stray too far from home. There is also the aspect of ensuring that the kids are well educated on the danger signs to watch out for and how to call out for help. Finally, there is the need to ensure that the kids are well provided for, so that they are not easily enticed with small gifts.
The loopholes in the immigration system that the child kidnappers and traffickers take advantage of also need to be closed, if at all we are to be successful in tackling child kidnapping and trafficking crimes.