How to Protect Your Child From Kidnapping

  • A child pictured in the streets of Nairobi.
    A child pictured in the streets of Nairobi.
  • In the last few weeks, several children have been reported missing in Kenya - particularly in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Most have been found alive and well while in the unfortunate cases, the opposite has been the case. 

    On June 16, 2021, Police rescued a three-year-old girl - Michelle Kemunto - seven days after she had gone missing in Embakasi, Nairobi.

    Earlier in May 2021, an 8-year-old girl from Kitengela who was abducted over the weekend was found deceased with the body wrapped in a sack. In more recent weeks, children were reported missing in Nairobi’s Zimmerman estate.

    Police at a pass-out parade in November 2019.
    Police at a pass-out parade in November 2019.

    During school holidays, most parents are forced to come to terms with the potentiality of their young ones’ abductions. Posters and flyers announcing disappeared children are rife in Kenya.

    A 2019 report by the National Crime and Research Centre stated Kenya was ranked position 17 out of 19 on the list of nations where child kidnappings are rampant.

    An average of 30 cases of missing children is registered daily in the country as families are haunted by thoughts of whether or not their loved ones are alive.

    Kidnappers are known to apply various techniques to carry out their diabolical intentions. Manipulatively, they tap into the psyches of young ones, luring them with a wide array of gifts that would appeal to them, luring them into traps, and outright grabbing of children.

    Despite these dangers that children are oblivious of, parents have a chance at preventing possible abductions of their loved ones. spoke to a security expert from Nine-one-one services on various tips parents can apply. After all, prevention is better than cure.

    Section 13 of The Children’s Act acknowledges the rights of a child to protection from physical and psychological abuse, neglect, and any other form of exploitation including the sale, trafficking, or abduction by a person.

    The security expert advised Kenyan parents to take the following steps in protecting their children from kidnapping.

    1. Be vigilant

    Parents ought to be observant of their child’s whereabouts and steps. One should be aware of their pattern in presence and behavior to implement a response if anything contrary occurs.

    In addition, their company should be closely monitored and vetted by the parent or guardian.

    2. Only leave them with trusted persons

    In the case where a parent is working or physically separated from their child, it is highly recommended that he/she leaves them supervised by trusted persons. These include family and trusted caretakers. In doing so, constant communication is advised.

    3.Induct life skills

    Multiple resources, including the internet, have applicable knowledge parents can use to create awareness about a missing child. Parents ought to instruct their children on life-saving skills. They should be well-acquainted with safety measures they can use to maneuver their spaces both at home and school.  

    Parents should constantly confirm that their child knows their name and age, their full names, telephone number. This makes it easier for them to communicate as well as reaching relevant authorities when needed.

    4. Collaborate with law enforcement

    In the case where a child is missing, with immediate effect, one must report to the police and provide all necessary information. This helps the police to narrow down their scopes and identify the missing child faster.

    Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai announcing the online engagement with the public on Monday, February 22
    Inspector General Hillary Mutyambai announcing the online engagement with the public on Monday, February 22
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