Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Learn About Missing Children

This month is National Missing Children MOnth. Yesterday we saw a video dedicated to missing children. Today, we will learn some more about this issue.
There are three types of child abductions, which are based on the person who took the child. Family Abductions are when a relative of the child (usually a non-custodial parent) takes the child, and these actually make up almost 50% of all child abductions! When a person who knows the child but is not related to them takes the child, it is called Acquaintance Abduction, and makes up 27% of child abductions. Lastly, Stranger Abductions, which are, ironically, what most people think of when they think of missing children, make up only 24% of all child abductions.
Why do people kidnap children? There are many different reasons why child abductions happen. When the abductor is a stranger or an acquaintance, often the abductor does it for sexual arousal, or for the feeling of having power. In some cases, the abducted children are eventually murdered. In other cases, the abductor keeps the child for a long period of time. There have even been cases where an abductor actually raised a child for many years, convinced the child to think of the abductor as a parent, and even managed to enroll the child in school. The children who remain with the abductors for long periods of time are often physically or sexually abused by the abductor during that time. But there have also been cases where an abductor simply wanted to be a parent and for some reason felt that kidnapping one would be the quickest and best way to go about this. These abductors may even convince themselves (and the child, if the child is old enough) that they are rescuing the child from an abusive or underprivileged family. One famous case, which was eventually made into a movie, was the 1972 kidnapping of 7-year-old Steven Stayner. Steven was walking home from school when he was stopped by two men who offered to give him a ride home. The men took him back to their own home instead, where they told him that his parents no longer wanted him and that the first man was going to adopt him. Steven was sexually abused by the first man for 7 years... the whole time believing that his parents really had abandoned him.
The most common type of child abduction, family member abduction, is often thought to be not that big of a problem, because the child is with a family member. But family member abduction can be just as serious as stranger or acquaintance abduction! The motive for a parent or other family member to abduct a child is often not because they particularly want to keep the child with them, but because they are seeking power or revenge over the custodial parent. The person who abducts the child will often tell the child that their parent is dead, or that the parent no longer wants the child. The abductor and child often move frequently in order to avoid being recognized. The child may be abused and/or neglected by the abductor, even if it is his own parent. In rare cases, though, the person who abducts the child is taking them to protect them from an abusive or negligent parent who has custody of the child.
This week we will discuss more about missing children, and what can be done to protect children, as well as to help locate children who are already missing. You may note that a few features have been added into the sidebar of this blog. If you are reading this on Blogcharm, you'll see that we now have an Amber Alert ticker. (Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work on Blogger!) Whenever an Amber Alert is issued in the United States, this ticker will become yellow and will give the name, description, location and circumstances of the missing child. Internet users everywhere will know to be on the lookout for the missing child. If you'd like to add the ticker to your own website or blog, simply click on the ticker to get info about doing that.
Also, a missing children banner has been added to the sidebar of this blog at both Blogcharm and Blogger. It shows different pictures of children who are missing. To learn more about any of the children you see on that banner, just click their picture!

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