After a surge of information relating to human trafficking and kidnapping of children circulated on social media, Port Elizabeth police in the Eastern Cape today pleaded with the public to refrain from posting unverified information.
This follows after two unrelated incidents circulated on social media platforms on Wednesday, warning community members of child kidnapping in and around Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, including the Motherwell and Uitenhage areas.
Spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said police wanted to allay fears that no truck was stopped between Nanaga and Port Elizabeth on suspicion it was used in transporting children for trafficking.
However, Naidu said a small van was stopped that was transporting illegal immigrants and the case was being dealt with by the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks.
“There are a lot of information circulating around the abduction of children, and we acknowledge your fear as parents. Police would like to commend the public on their vigilance regarding safety while at the same time we must be cautious how information is relayed on social media without verification,” Naidu said.
She said the distortion of facts would have dire consequences, cause unnecessary panic and mayhem in the community.
Social media is an important communication platform and assists police in combatting crime and arresting criminals, Naidu said.
“The South African Police Service assures the community that continuous awareness and educational talks on the safety of our children are done at schools and institutions.”
Police made an urgent appeal to communities, in instances where community members suspect a crime or anything suspicious – to first contact the police to verify such information.
In cases where children are involved, the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) may be contacted as well as the sector manager of your particular area.
-African News Agency (ANA)