As a blogger, I sometimes receive press releases and requests for guest posts. Some of these I downright ignore as they seem to have either purely commercial motives or dubious health claims. Others I simply shelve, for future consideration. One of the offers I received last month falls into the latter category.
IdentiBear Team is a US-based firm which offers an innovative way to address the issue of child kidnapping and human trafficking. In the US alone, 2,200 children get missing every day. I am not quite sure about the figures here in the Philippines – probably the reason why I was not interested enough to blog about it last month.
Something happened which got me seriously mulling over the issue of kidnapping. I mentioned awhile back that we went on a vacation to my side of the family during Christmas. While there, a member of the church (of which my father is the pastor) had a near brush with kidnapping. Only by God’s providence did she escape the abduction. To this day I still have goosebumps hearing the story. My parents said kidnapping and human trafficking is in the rise in our province. A pastor’s daughter was kidnapped years ago and has never been seen since.
It’s one thing to hear about unknown others being kidnapped. It’s another thing to actually know someone who has been kidnapped. After our family vacation, I decided to give the IdentiBear request a second look.
Law enforcers everywhere recommend all parents to have identity kits for each of their kids, ready for times when kidnapping strikes. Identity kits contain fingerprint samples, DNA profiles, dental records and other details of identity which are vital for the search of the missing child.
Kidnapping and human trafficking occur for a variety of reasons. Prostitution, child labor and organ trafficking are the common ones. In the US, kidnapping is also being done by a parent who loses custody of a child following a divorce. Children can also get missing inadvertently, such as in crowded shopping malls and bus terminals or by their own will, such as when they run away.
The IdentiBear Identity Kit is a DNA collection kit paired with a comforting teddy bear to make the DNA collection process less scary for the child. The kit contains a full set of collection paraphernalia to collect such vital information as DNA, fingerprint, hair/fingernail and saliva samples, photos, updated documents, medical and dental information and contact details.
In the words of IdentiBear, the project’s mission is “to provide the tools to help parents or guardians immediately provide investigators with critical information in the event that their beloved child should ever run away, get lost or be abducted.”
All I have given you is an overview of the IdentiBear project. For a complete look and of how you can help, please visit their site.
For my Filipino and non-American readers, the kit is available only in the US. As such, I suggest we all just make our own identity kits for each of our kids. Collect in one envelope all the info you can get about each of your children. Yes, we all pray for their protection, yet it is wise to put feet -- not just faith -- to our prayers. I hope we all prepare identity kits for our kids.
I hope, most of all, that we won't ever have to use them.
Update: Identibear, unfortunately for them, has not taken off for lack of funds and donations. However, the idea of preparing a set of data on your kids is still a helpful one.