Less social media for mommy
As mentioned in a Carte Blanche episode on Human Trafficking which I missed – traffickers scout for photos of people (children or adults) on social media, sell the photo to the highest bidder and then go about getting the person to complete the sale.
This nearly happened to my son and I on Strand Beach while on holiday there a few weeks ago. Whether they were looking for us, or it was an opportunistic moment, we will never know, but both possibilities exist.
I am telling this story because I was oblivious to this kind of thing actually happening to me, and my life was all over social media with mild precautions taken like no schools mentioned and no photos with school uniforms but my son isn’t in school uniform yet, so who is to say I wouldn’t have done it next year….
I am not including the details of this story here to protect myself and my son and anyone else involved… so email me if you want to hear more,
I am sharing this because since it has happened to me, I have heard of 6 (SIX!!!!!!!) more stories where abductions have actually happened in South Africa (one only last week where an 11 year old was collected at piano lessons early, the perpetrator said the mother was in an accident, the piano teacher let her go. No passwords. No checks and balances. They have not found her). I realise I was truly lucky! I don’t like to be alarmist, but this stuff happens! If anything, it can help you all to be a little more observant, vigilant and careful with what you are putting on social media, and in general as you run around your lives… and more than that, at the studio if anyone is asking for me, please don’t share anything about me. I know this seems extreme but I randomly met a women a few years back who inquired about yoga whose work is to rescue trafficked women on speaking to her she says these syndicates have time and money….
I am not one to buy into FEAR and living with the cloud of worry and fear hanging over me but this experience has given me pause…to re-evaluate my false sense of security I had in my life.
I have spoken with the lady mentioned above extensively during this experience. She said they lie in wait until you make a mistake. They are preying on trusting people, compassion, kindness, friendliness and lack of awareness. Put controls in place so that your kids are protected at school and extra murals. She advised the following:
Take off all photos of children from social media (this is not that easy and very time consuming so I just shut it down).
Put false information on facebook to throw them off. Don’t detail trips you are taking with kids anywhere on social media.
Anyone that approaches you that you are not sure of, take photos of them and number plates.
ALWAYS have a charged phone. Always have airtime and data. Always have a car full of petrol. Give people you know ETA’s. Know the roads in and out of the areas you are travelling. Have a password with your child/ren so no one else can pick up the child/ren without knowing this password. Educate your kids. Drive past your driveway to make sure you are not followed.
Do a self -defence course, stay strong.
Be Observant. Be vigilant. As a lifestyle!!!!!
I keep wondering why we hardly ever hear of cases like these happening, yet it is rife!! It makes me think that this slavery/trafficking industry is bigger than all of us could ever imagine.
I am happy to try organize a self defense workshop or two at the studio if you would be interested. The lady mentioned above may come to the studio also to do a talk on this subject. If you would be interested, let me know.
Thank you for reading this far. I do feel calmer now and not under constant threat but also realise that considering the world we live in, we can all just pay a little more attention to our surroundings and children and do simple things to stay safe. And thank you for no longer knowing who I am, where I work or live. HEHE.