The word “missing child” often calls to mind of tragic and frightening incident as it was always reported in the national news. Stories about missing children, especially those abducted, have always tugged at the heartstrings of all Malaysians. A total of 5996 children went missing from homes since 2004. Although most of them were found, 1904 still remain missing (Pakiam, 2007). Lately, all the Malaysians are in shock over the death of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin and had recalled the tragic that happened on Ang May Hong two decades ago that was once sent a shockwave throughout the country. The whole nation has now been brought together to face this issue with a more serious attitude. According to the Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz, parents who found guilty of negligence can be punished under the Child Act 2001 (Baharom, 2007). This high profile case has brought the whole nation’s focus to a rarely talked about issue: should the parents be punished when their children go missing? The government should not put all the guilt on the parents because I believe that parents have always done their best in ensuring the well being and safety of their children. Although parents are always cited as being the cause of missing children, I feel that it is not fair for them to be punished as there are undoubtedly other factors which should share the responsibility for missing children.
Firstly, some missing children are abducted. Although there is no official statistics of children abducted in Malaysia, it is undeniable that many children have gone missing due to abduction. The 8 year old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin was abducted in a night market near her house and her naked dead body was discovered in a sport bag nearly one month later (Bernama, 2007). Until today, no culprit has been caught. There was also a 12 year old girl was reported been sodomised and molested during the period she was kidnapped. Again, the culprit was not caught (Shuman, 2007). All these cases make our hair stand on end; we recoil at the thought of how easily it could have been our own family member one of them. Nowadays, once we turn on the television and newspaper, we see children are abducted or lured into leaving home. Unfortunately, all the news we read in the newspaper is only the tip of the iceberg. Human trafficking is a profitable criminal activity as abducted victims can be continuously circulated in international flesh trade market. Money is the root of all evils; abducted children are traded in the international human trafficking market in exchange of money. These abducted children are used as slaves around the world. Each year, an estimated of 1.2 million kidnapped children is working as slave laborers, prostitutes or soldiers worldwide (Bita, 2004). International Labor Organisation (ILO) report stated that children become victims of slavery by “force, persuasion, coercion and trickery.” (Bita, 2004) Children tend to be more vulnerable than adults as they have less life experience. This makes them suitable target of these predators as they are easy to lure into leaving home. A few sweet words, toys or candies easily win their hearts. Children who are innocent often become one the victims of the heartless predators because most of the time, they are oblivious to their surroundings and danger they are putting themselves in.
Secondly, children disappearance is due to peer pressure. In year 2006, the main reason of children goes missing in Malaysia due to peers’ pressure which accounted for 24.83% of the total number of children missing (Malaysian Today, 2007). In September 2007, there were three Malay girls ran away from their homes and were found in a cybercafé where they stayed with their friends three days later (NST Online, 2007). According to Marjorie and Hohenemser, children aged 14 to 17 use peer group to test their decision making skills, building intimacy and reinforcing self confidence (1999). Friends make adolescents feel confident...
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