News of 3 girls who have been kidnapped in the Western region of Ghana has alarmed citizens, with growing pressure on police authorities to help find the girls. Though the reported number of kidnapped girls is three, there are reports that the number could be as high as seven.
Kidnapping is not common in Ghana, so these latest reports of kidnapping in Takoradi has raised concerns about the safety of individuals especially children, and girls in particular. The search for the girls is ongoing. The police and family of the missing girls are calling on the general public, including you to give out any information that could lead to the rescue of the girls. Below are pictures of the three missing girls. Contact the Ghana Police Service via 191 if you have any information on these girls.
That said, if you are a parent or an individual who is concerned about recent reports, these are six tips to help you protect your child from kidnapping.
- Stay away from strangers- Most victims of kidnap are usually taken by people they are not familiar with. It is important to advise your child to stay away from strangers, especially those who want to get close to them, those who stare or act in a manner which makes them uncomfortable. It is equally important to let them know that kidnappers can look like regular people, so they do not get tricked.
- Make communication frequent- Build a relationship with your child which allows for open communication. That way, you can pick clues if they tell you they are meeting up with someone they do not know. This is also important because, you can trace where they last were if you communicate frequently. This can help you with leads on how to find them if the undesirable happens.
- Be careful about job offers- Because of the high rate of unemployment, a job offer is one of the tricks a kidnapper can use to get children or young people who are looking to find jobs. As in the case of one of the kidnapped Takoradi girls, kidnappers can trick their victims with job offers. When victims show up to meet their supposed employers, they get kidnapped. If your child is old enough to search for a job, encourage them to be careful about such offers and decline them, especially jobs they have not applied for.
- Let them know around town- This may seem like a simple thing, but it could save your child. When a child knows their surroundings well, they can plan an escape to safety or help you with clues to find them. It is dangerous if victims are clueless of their surroundings; it will be difficult for them to know where they are or how to escape. This may be difficult in our society since children, especially girls are often advised to stay at home. However, it is important to go places with your child and let them know their surroundings better.
- Teach them to use noise as a weapon- ‘Predators’ do not like to be exposed, so noise is a strong weapon against them. As soon as children observe they are about to get kidnapped, they must shout for help, especially if they see other people in sight. Tell them to use words as well; a screaming child looks normal, but a screaming child who says ‘help, he wants to take me away’ could attract some attention. This can work, especially if the kidnapper does not have a dangerous weapon.
- Have a plan with your child- Though we do not wish that your child gets kidnapped, it is important to have a conversation with them on what to do in case such an unfortunate event happens. That way, coded language (a language only you and your child understand), a common location or any other plans you may have talked about in the past will come in handy.
Take proactive measures to protect your child (and yourself) from any form of kidnapping. Be aware of your surrounding and be careful about strange people in your neighborhood. Before you go, check out how to protect your child from profanity.
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