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.
It is widely appreciated that if we are to be successful in tackling child kidnapping and trafficking crimes, we first have to understand the ‘drivers’ of these crimes. This is to say that in order to be successful in tackling child kidnapping and trafficking crimes, we first need to understand why the people who engage in these sorts of crimes do so. That, by definition, entails understanding the demand-side dynamics, which drive child kidnapping and trafficking crimes. It also entails trying to understand the factors that make the crimes possible – that is, the ‘enabling factors’.
Inquiry into the key drivers behind child kidnapping and trafficking crimes reveals several things.
Firstly, it reveals that in most cases, the people who kidnap and traffic kids do so with the intention of ultimately using the (kidnapped and trafficked kids) as workers. In other words, it is all about labor. This is where the female kids who were kidnapped and trafficked can eventually be deployed to brothels, as prostitutes: giving rise to the sex slavery dynamic. This is also where the kids who were kidnapped and trafficked can eventually be put to work in various types of agricultural plantations and in industrial sweatshops. There are also cases where the kids who are kidnapped and trafficked are eventually deployed in domestic work settings.
There are, of course, the few cases where the intention behind the kidnapping and trafficking of kids is not to use them as workers, but rather, to use them for other purposes. These include the totally heartbreaking scenarios where the kids are kidnapped and trafficked, only for their internal organs to be harvested and sold.
Turning to the factors that make these crimes possible, we are likely to identify quite a number of those. One of the factors that make child kidnapping and traffic crimes possible is that of poor governance – which leads to poor law enforcement, making these sorts of crimes possible. There is also poverty, as a factor that makes child kidnapping and trafficking crimes possible. Then there is the apparent collusion between the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes and the responsible government agencies in various countries… so the whole thing gets very complicated.