Whose Children Are Missing

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Published in Cape May County Herald.

When your own child is missing, you will know the pain, anxiety, and depression. Even when we have strong laws, public awareness through public education still lacks. I think public education will further aid police to find missing children and provide information to parents about the safety of their children. 

There are usually two main reasons children disappear. Either they are kidnapped or they run away from home due to problems like abusive parents, poverty, and drugs. We need counseling and education for both parents and their children so that we can be sure that they are not lying about their habits and can save them while the problems are in their infancy.

Life is full of mystery, confusion, and sadness. When my best friend called me about her missing daughter and asked if I had seen her, I shattered from the inside.

Every year when I got together with my family, there was talk about my long lost uncle who went missing when he was 10 years old. It was a long time ago and why is my family still talking about him was a question I had for so long and was afraid to ask my family. But now I think I have the answer.

I have seen my friend’s 11-year-old daughter grow up to be a beautiful, smart, and independent girl. I feel such sadness emerging from my core that tears drop from my eyes whenever I think about her. I can’t even imagine what is going through my friend's mind.

When my dear friend's daughter was missing she knew it was not a new incident, as the disappearance of grown up girls is quite common in many parts of the world. When a child goes missing many parents don’t know what to do, whom to call and how to communicate. Hence public education is very important to solve this long-term problem.

In many countries, children are still taken away and sold in the market, becoming addicted to drugs to perform filthy deeds like being a sex slave. After their prolonged use, they get infected with HIV/AIDS or other deadly viruses and are later liberated or sometimes murdered. This is the painful reality many young children face.

My friend didn’t know what needed to be done when her daughter was reported missing. At first, she didn't pay much attention to such incidents. A few days later she was found raped in the streets with all her clothes ripped off. My friend collapsed upon hearing the news.

This can happen to anyone’s missing child. Let's start educating people and conduct public educational campaigns for missing children and also organize an awareness program for our children’s’ better future.

ED. NOTE: The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children Call Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have information about a missing child or suspected child sexual exploitation, report it to 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

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