Every year, thousands of children disappear all over the world. Kidnappers are very good psychologists. They can easily build a connection with a child that they can later use in their manipulation.
WeGoRo has collected 12 kidnappers’ tricks that kidnappers use when interacting with children. It’s important to watch out for such behavior to avoid being kidnapped and to prevent a kidnapping.
One of the most common tricks that kidnappers use is they simply ask a child for help. If you witness such a situation, it may be a warning sign because normal adult people don’t ask unfamiliar children for help! If an adult person has some kind of a problem (they lost a dog or a cat, or they can’t open a car door because their hands are busy with heavy bags), they will always ask another adult person for help, but never a child.
If a child is crying, trying to get their hand free or screaming, you might think that the kid is simply misbehaving. But if the child is beyond hysterical, maybe you should come and ask if everything is all right. Don’t be afraid to ask the child who the adult person is to them. If this is a kidnapper, they will most likely run away because you have memorized their face.
People who circle around playgrounds and observe kids are very suspicious. Take a photo of such a person in a way that they will notice it. This simple action can scare away a kidnapper.
Children are very open and trusting. If they are offered candy or toys, if kidnappers promise to show them a cool device but only if they go to the car, there can be no doubt that this is a kidnapper. Normal adults don’t give presents to unfamiliar children or invite them to their cars.
Kidnappers may know a lot about a child’s family. Even adults would believe such level of preparation, let alone children. Using social media, a criminal can learn even the smallest details: the names of the relatives or the parents’ co-workers, which toys they got for their birthday, what their room looks like and so on. Using all this information, they can present themselves as a friend or a parent’s co-worker. They can say that their mother is in the hospital and they have to visit her right now. If you witness this type of behavior, you can’t ignore this. In 9 cases out of 10, this is kidnapping.
Sometimes kidnappers use other children as bait and send them to get to know their potential victims. The hard part is, children don’t really understand what “stranger” means. Most of the time, they think that kidnappers are angry men with beards wearing sunglasses. But even nice women or kids can be kidnappers. If you notice a kid taking another kid away from the playground, you should catch up with them and ask how long they’ve known each other and where they are going.
If you see a car going slowly along the street and pulling over next to a kid, you should know that this is a warning sign. And if a driver is asking a child for directions or inviting them to get into the car, this is definitely a kidnapper. A normal driver will ask adults, police officers, or simply use a GPS.
There have been cases where kids were kidnapped after they were offered to take a ride on a motorbike. Very few boys can resist such an offer. If you see such a situation, use your common sense: what normal biker would invite an unfamiliar child to take a bike ride with him?
Kidnappers often tell kids that they are movie producers or photographers. This works mostly with older children who are 10-11 years old. Kidnappers earn their trust with flattery and promises of fame and success. It’s obvious that real professionals don’t search playgrounds and streets for actors and models — they come to schools and organize real castings.
It’s hard to stay vigilant when kidnappers say that they are police officers and ask a kid to go with them because the child did something bad. People in uniforms look trustworthy even to adults. But any real police officer will look for a kid’s parents first and won’t refuse help if you offer it. However, if you intervene and ask the alleged officer to show you his or her ID and notice that he or she becomes nervous, you can at least try to take a picture of the officer to either scare him away or have his face for recognition.
A warning sign to watch out for is if you notice a child calling an adult person “Mister” or “Miss.” Children usually do not call people they know this way.
Another thing that should make you worried is a very noticeable difference in the appearance of a kid and an adult who are together. Of course, this is an indirect sign of kidnapping. But when put together with the other signs, it can be a lead that will help you prevent a kidnapping.
Do you know any other signs that can help recognize a kidnapper? Tell us in the comment section below!
Alena Sofronova for BrightSide.me