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Notes from the Principal - re: Child Trafficking

Notes from the PrincipalOn Monday night I attended the talk on Human Trafficking that was held at COGS (Church of the Good Shepard). As scary as the subject is, I am pleased to have had the opportunity to become more informed and am relieved that we are a step ahead of others in insisting on certain safety measures that are already in place at our school.

One aspect worth reiterating is that we CANNOT afford to let our children out of sight in any public places EVER (but particularly during the weeks of the World Cup), and that they should remain “attached” to an adult at ALL times.

It is essential that we are not only vigilant with our little children, but also those who are older and even into their teens. I also encourage you to insist that other family members and friends or au pairs are just as vigilant with your children.

Some interesting pointers and information relevant to you include:
  • KZN is the front-runner in setting up the first provincial task team who have been training and preparing for the protection of our children in this province
  • We need to follow our South African “Ubuntu”-type ethos where we TALK to each other and CARE about one another. For example, if you see a child looking worried or scared in a shopping mall, at a match venue or any other public place, stop and ask a simple question like “Where is your Mom?” as this gives the child an opportunity to speak up. Sometimes we adults don’t speak up in this way for fear of embarrassing ourselves however, a little embarrassment versus potentially saving a child doesn’t compare in my book. 
  • An initiative is being launched involving Mr Price's Red Cap community care. It is being run by the Open Door organisation. The purpose of this initiative is that children may seek safety at Mr Price stores, in shopping malls, during the World Cup. In these stores, trained facilitators will be on hand to assist lost, anxious children as well as those who feel threatened in any way. [If you are interested in volunteering, please email me with your contact details and I will email them through to Thelma at OPEN DOOR ] 
  • If you are separated from your children, teach them to meet up with you at a specific point or to go into a shop and speak to someone who “works at the shop” (teach them how to recognise a shop assistant). Alternatively, approaching a mother with a child is usually always a safe option.
  • Make sure that you always maintain open lines of communication and “secrets” of any kind (even the ones when Dad says “yes! You can have a glass of coke just before bedtime, but don’t tell mom”!) are strongly discouraged!
  • Increase your vigilance in any public space and always HOLD YOUR CHILD’S HAND.
  • Check the references of all care givers – especially if you are employing a new one.
  • Know your child’s friends (even the cyber ones if you have older children)
Food for thought, don’t you agree? Again, I am not trying to evoke any sense of panic, but being fore- warned is being forearmed.

Reprinted from Christopher Robin Pre-Primary School weekly circular, with permission.
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