The NGO Missing Children SA say they find their case load increases every year – not necessarily only because more individuals go missing, but also because more people are becoming aware of the organisation and its service.
Missing Children SA refers to stats showing that a child goes missing every five hours in South Africa. In 2013 the Missing Persons Bureau recorded 1 697 cases of missing children reported to the police. Missing Children SA says from December 1 2014, until November 30 2015, it has had an overall success rate of 68%, with a total of 452 missing persons found out of 660 reported cases.
For the cases involving children alone, the success rate is 75%. “It is an unfortunate a reality that 6% of the children found again, were deceased,” the organisation said.
“Every year we see the success rate decrease. We cannot say for a fact that it is because fewer children are found again, or perhaps because more cases are reported to our organisation.” In the period under discussion, most missing persons – 282 – were reported in the Western Cape, with 206 found. This was followed by Gauteng with 270 persons reported missing, and 178 found.
In KwaZulu-Natal 29 adults and children went missing, with 16 found.
The figures are based only on cases reported to Missing Children SA and do not reflect all the cases reported to the police. The organisation notes it is sure more cases reported to them and the police are because of human trafficking, but it can’t be proven.
The confirmed cases where human trafficking was the reason for the disappearance, came to only 0.4%. This while the International Labour Organisation estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked every year.
The reasons Missing Children SA list for the disappearance of children are general or unknown (52.1% of the cases), runaways (41.9%), followed by kidnappings (1.8%). In 68.2% of cases children are between 13 and 17 years old, followed by 17.8% of cases involving children between 7 and 12 years, and 14% between 0 and 6 years.
The month with the most cases reported was August, with 90 cases. In April the least number of cases were reported, with 35.