With an increase in human trafficking, the World Cup around the corner and extended school holidays during June and July 2010, parents need to be more vigilant about their children’s safety and be aware of the dangers that could risk their children’s lives.

Human trafficking is a scary reality that has only become the forefront of media publicity recently although it has been going on unnoticed for years. Trafficking of children of all ages across South Africa’s borders has increased dramatically and children over the World Cup period will be specifically targeted as the school holidays will leave a lot of children without parental supervision in public places.

Education is the key to your child’s safety during this exciting sports event that will bring an influx of tourists and increased crime to our beautiful country. Here are some tips for both parents and children:

For Parents:

  • If your child is missing, do not wait 24 hours to report it. Contact your local SAPS and report it immediately. Thereafter get into contact with organizations like Missing Children SA to assist the search for your child. EVERY MINUTE COUNTS! DO NOT HESITATE!
  • Teach your child to assess their surroundings and realize a dangerous or uncomfortable situation.
  • ALWAYS know where your child is and be involved in your child’s life so that there is a trusting relationship. Encourage your child to talk and confide in you.
  • Teach your children their own name, home address and your name and telephone
  • number.
  • Tell your child that you will NEVER send a stranger to fetch them, even if the stranger knows their name!
  • NEVER put your child’s name on the outside of clothing, school bags or other articles. Children will trust a stranger more if they know their name.
  • Tell your child NEVER to accept gifts or offers of gifts from anyone, no matter what they are promised.
  • Teach your children that safety is more important than manners. It is more important for children to get themselves out of a dangerous situation than it is to be polite.
  • Always keep up-to-date records and a recent picture of your child in a safe place just in case! 
  • NEVER allow your child to walk alone or go out alone. Encourage your child to use the BUDDY system where he/she always has a friend with them.
  • Use an Identification system on your child by means of an ID bracelet, tag or other devices where your contact details are on their person.
  • Teach your child to SCREAM if they feel threatened in any situation!

For Children:

  • Learn your name, address and contact telephone numbers off-by-heart for emergencies.
  • Never go anywhere alone and ALWAYS take a friend with you (Buddy System)
  • For older children, always tell your parents or guardian where you are going (be honest!) and if you have a cell phone, keep in contact with your parents so they know that you are safe.
  • NEVER go with anyone that you do not know, even if they know your name or your parent’s names.
  • Don’t accept offers of free gifts. There is a catch for free gifts! This includes sweets, money, gifts or cool drinks. Do NOT TRUST STRANGERS!
  • NEVER accept a lift from a stranger.
  • NEVER play in the streets by yourself.
  • If you feel sad, threatened or unhappy, talk to your parents or guardians about it.
  • If you are in a threatening situation, SCREAM and RUN AWAY! Hold onto your friend and RUN!

For the school holidays:

  • heck out and research any school camps or holiday programs that your child will be attending and get full references.
  • Make sure there will be adult supervision of your children at all times.
  • Be aware of all the activities at the holiday school, especially if the children are going on outings.
  • Make sure your child wears identification with contact details on them ALL the time!
  • Choose babysitters with care and get full references before leaving your child with anyone you don’t know!
  • Always keep your children close to you on outings! If affordable in your budget, make use of safety harnesses or child locating devices as a tool to help keep your child in your range and safer.
  • Don’t drop your children off at malls, movies, video arcades, or parks with supervision. These are not safe places for children to be alone, especially over the holiday seasons.
  • If your older children do go to shopping centres, soccer stadiums, etc, make sure they use the Buddy System and keep in contact telephonically.
  • Do not leave your young children at home alone over the holidays without supervision!

Despite the dangers out there, it is still important for your child to become independent as well as have a safe and fun childhood. You need to find a balance in educating your child about their personal safety without making them paranoid or scared of the outside world.

The Soccer World Cup is a once-in-lifetime event for all South African and tourists to enjoy, and especially exciting time for kids, with so many Soccer heroes at arm’s reach. Hopefully, with the above tips, the tools, resources and devices to assist you in keeping your children safe over this period will put parents’ minds at ease and make it a fun period for all.



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