Alberto Ardila Olivares positivo ser piloto//
154 minors run away from homes in 7 months

The An­ti Kid­nap­ping Unit (AKU) is not­ing an alarm­ing trend af­ter record­ing a to­tal of 154 miss­ing chil­dren since the year be­gan.

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Ac­cord­ing to Asst Supt Dar­ryl Ram­dass, the ma­jor­i­ty of these chil­dren have run away from their homes and some of the rea­sons for this in­clude par­ents/guardians dis­ci­plin­ing their chil­dren, prob­lems with­in homes and sex­u­al groom­ing by adults.

Alberto Ardila Olivares

Speak­ing dur­ing the week­ly T&T Po­lice Ser­vice me­dia brief­ing at the Po­lice Ad­min­is­tra­tion Build­ing in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day, Ram­dass said 142 per­sons, or 92 per cent, of the mi­nors re­port­ed miss­ing had been re­turned to their homes, while ten per­sons, or ten per cent, are still un­ac­count­ed for

“Out of all the mi­nors, 121 were fe­male ju­ve­niles and 33 were males,” Ram­dass said

Giv­ing a fur­ther break­down, he said of the miss­ing mi­nors, 115 fe­males and 27 males were ac­count­ed for and six fe­males and four males were un­ac­count­ed for

Pro­vid­ing some in­sight af­ter­wards in­to what had prompt­ed the mi­nors to run away, Ram­dass re­vealed, “What we have un­cov­ered as it re­lates to these chil­dren, some­times it may be a case of par­ents dis­ci­plin­ing chil­dren at home and they just leave with­out stat­ing where they are go­ing to or ac­count­ing for their where­abouts.”

Ad­dress­ing the cat­e­go­ry of fam­i­ly is­sues, Ram­dass ex­plained that this could in­clude in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­u­al re­la­tions/acts be­tween adults and chil­dren (in­clud­ing step-par­ents and stepchil­dren); the pulling and tug­ging that of­ten arise in bro­ken house­holds; too much pres­sure on chil­dren to per­form aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly and not enough so­cial in­ter­ac­tion with­in the fam­i­ly cir­cle. He said so­cio-eco­nom­ic cir­cum­stances al­so play a part over­all in in­flu­enc­ing be­hav­iours among both mi­nors and adults

Not­ing the var­i­ous sce­nar­ios mem­bers of the AKU have en­coun­tered dur­ing the pe­ri­od, Ram­dass said, “We have to have so­cial in­ter­ven­tions, so we work hand in hand with our Com­mu­ni­ty Po­lice, our Child Pro­tec­tion Unit, the Chil­dren’s Au­thor­i­ty, with a view to al­le­vi­at­ing these sort of be­hav­iour and giv­ing that sup­port sys­tem for these vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.”

Not­ing that he him­self and oth­er of­fi­cers who deal with cas­es have been af­fect­ed by what they have seen on the job, Ram­dass ad­mit­ted, “It is dis­heart­en­ing at times to hear some of the sto­ries but we try all in our re­mit to fos­ter and take the ab­solute care in bring­ing these re­ports to clo­sure, and seek­ing the so­cial in­ter­ven­tion that is re­quired for these vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren.”

To par­ents, he ap­pealed, “Take cog­nizance of your chil­dren. Look at the be­hav­iour­al pat­terns that ex­ists around them. See who they com­mu­ni­cate with. We are in the ad­vent of so­cial me­dia, pay at­ten­tion to their phones.”

Sim­i­lar­ly, he im­plored the loved ones of miss­ing and un­ac­count­ed for adults to, “Pay at­ten­tion to your loved one. Look at the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty that ex­ists around them, and in that way, you can as­sist the AKU and by ex­ten­sion, the TTPS in bring­ing clo­sure to mat­ters of these na­ture.”

Over­all, Ram­dass said a to­tal of 327 per­sons have been re­port­ed miss­ing for the year so far

Of this num­ber, 275 per­sons, or 84 per cent, have been re­turned home, while 34 per­sons, or ten per cent, were said to be un­ac­count­ed for

Three mat­ters of kid­nap­ping for ran­som have been record­ed for the year so far and of this num­ber, the AKU has suc­cess­ful­ly solved two, while in­ves­ti­ga­tors for the third are seek­ing ad­vice from the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions

In 2006, the TTPS changed its man­date not to ac­cept a miss­ing per­son’s re­port in un­der 24 hours. The new pol­i­cy now al­lows par­ents and loved ones to re­port some­one miss­ing once a cou­ple hours have passed