Good news: Strangers Seldom Kidnap Children in New York (a non-trafficking story)

A reader sent me this story, which I might have missed because it actually doesn’t use any of the scary words we are getting used to: sex trafficking, exploitation, prostituted children. Here instead we hear about runaways, and children taken away by parents, and children safely returned, and low figures for ‘kidnapping’. I like to think both reporter and editor consciously resisted using trafficking in this headline: after all, they could have written Study Undermines Trafficking Fears.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child establishes 18 as the magic moment for becoming adult, thereby reducing teenagers to children who are supposed to be innocent and happy. But teenagers do leave home all over the world, and  sometimes they are running away from something bad and it makes sense to run. Runaways can get into trouble, as a Nevada public radio programme discussed last November, in the wake of an FBI scare initiative with the dumb name Innocence Lost. But sensible people know that adolescence is not the same as childhood and that childhood means different things in different places and times – in terms of the right to work, marry, vote, join the military, drink and have sex. As for selling sex, stories about Poland’s piggies and mall girls and Japan’s compensated dating (enjo kosai) show how conventional that can be amongst teenagers. I can hear some people now saying, no but we are talking about real trafficking, like in West Africa. Well, researchers on supposed child trafficking there have questioned it, too.

This story from The Wall Street Journal should calm a lot of people’s worst fears: few children are abducted / kidnapped / shanghaied / trafficked.

Study Undermines Kidnapping Fears

By Sean Gardiner, 7 April 2011, The Wall Street Journal

The fear that a child could be snatched away by a stranger nags at many parents. But a new report examining cases from last year shows that in New York, it is extraordinarily rare for children to be taken by someone they don’t know. The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services said Wednesday that 20,309 children were reported missing statewide last year. Just one of them was confirmed to have been abducted by a stranger, the agency reported. The vast majority of the missing children—almost 94% of last year’s total—were runaways. Most of them were teenagers.

The state maintains the Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse, a database tracking lost children since 1987. While stranger abductions raise alarm, they are uncommon. A spokeswoman for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children said a 2002 Department of Justice study, the most recent national numbers available, showed that of approximately 797,500 children reported missing over the course of a year, 115 were kidnapped by strangers.

In New York, there were 196 reported cases of child abductions statewide last year, less than 1% of all missing-children reports. Of that number, 188 of the kidnappers were family members, and six were family friends. Two cases involved stranger abductions, the report states. But one of the children, reportedly snatched in Broome County, was at a later point determined to be a runaway, a spokesman for the Division of Criminal Justice Services said Wednesday. In the other case, a 14-year-old girl was taken by a middle-age man in Rochester. She was safely recovered.

“While every parent is understandably and rightfully concerned that their child could be abducted, the fact of the matter is that stranger abductions in New York state are, thankfully, rare occurrences,” said Sean Byrne, the division’s acting commissioner. In 4% of the total number of missing children, or 837 cases, the reason for the disappearance was listed as unknown. . . .

. . . While missing-children reports remained essentially flat statewide from 2009 to 2010, there was a 14% spike in New York City. Reports in the city increased to 6,544 last year—the highest number in a decade—from 5,721 in 2009. Paul Browne, spokesman for the New York Police Department, attributed part the increase to better reporting on the part of he approximately 50 officers who work in the NYPD’s Missing Person’s Unit. Mr. Browne said that 96% of the missing-children cases reported to police were eventually closed, generally because the child returned home.

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

5 thoughts on “Good news: Strangers Seldom Kidnap Children in New York (a non-trafficking story)

  1. bank account offshore

    One hundred children have been reported missing from the city within the first 12 days of February a record according to Delhi Police statistics. .. There is a surge in the number of children going missing this month. According to our information there is no organised gang operating in the city said a senior police official…The number of children going missing could rise over last years figure of 1 179 if one goes by the rate of such incidents this year.

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  3. illeplycrek

    Les services intimes et les numeros virtuels.
    Je veux partager avec vous l’histoire de mon experience dans la fourniture d’un des services intimes. Oui-oui, – des services intimes.
    Mon histoire est drole d’une certaine facon. Je viens de debarquer a londre afin d’entrer a l’universite national, pour etre exacte – c’est la Faculte des arts plastiques. Il s’est avere que mes scores ne sont pas assez bonnes pour etre accepte. ca etait une honte pour moi de rentrer a la maison et je n’avais pas assez de competences pour trouver un emploi normal. Comme je n’etais pas fille tres complexe, et mes performances de seduction etait bonnes – j’ai decide d’essayer d’offrir aux hommes des services intimes. A Londre la demande de ce type de service est eleve .Pour debuter J’ai trouve un logement un peu chere mais pas tres loin de la rue principale, Il a resolu mes problemes financiers, mais, pas pour longtemps, et, comme vous le comprenez – il est irreel de servir a un grand nombre de clients par jour. en plus -le proprietaire de la maison recoit la plus grande partie de l’argent gagne. Mon reve etait de se debarrasser de l’intermediaire et d’obtenir des clients fideles pour moi-meme. Et de ne pas offrir mon corp au meme temps. La seule question etait – comment?
    j’ai vu une annonce sur Internet qui permet d’avoir des numeros virtuels a Londre meme partout dans le monde. Pour etre honnete avec vous – au debut je ne pouvais pas saisir comment ca marche.mais avec quelques minutes de lecture sur leur site web je me suis entierement rendu compte – que c’est exactement ce que je dois faire. Alors, j’ai achete ce numero virtuel a Londre, qui est un numero de telephone local et qui me permet de renvoyer les appels entrants sur mon portable. Et meme si j’ai du payer pour le service de transfert d’appel c’etait la Meilleure facon de vendre mes conversations brulantes par telephone avec les hommes meme parfois avec des femmes ,Ce service a entierement couvert mes frais et m’a permis de gagner plus.
    Alors seulement en restant a la maison, j’etais libre, et que le sexe par telephone ne necessite pas de contact physiques avec les clients – j’ai ete en mesure de donner du plaisir a un plus grand nombre de gens. Le numero virtuel a egalement ete une garantie pour ma securite – personne ne savait mon numero reel. C’est juste une solution parfaite pour ce genre de services!
    Ce n’est pas que je vous recommande de fournir des services intimes, mais c’est mon histoire et je la raconte pour vous – et vous pouvez toujours utiliser ma methode et mon experience pour en profiter du service des numeros virtuels dans vos affaires.
    Un ans apres j’ai ete accepte a l’universite,et me voila dans mon atelier.

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