In recent weeks, numerous stories have emerged in the news where children and teens have come up missing. These cases are usually believed to be related to abductions, though some are the results of juvenile delinquency.

The fact remains that until a missing child is located, everyone is on high alert because there is always the sense of "this could be my child," or a child I know; and no one wants to experience such despair.

Also, the possibility of a child being taken into the under world of human trafficking reminds us that this is not only happening but that it is in our back yards. When we see stories in the news where "prostitution rings" are busted, the women involved are often victims of trafficking. Sometimes, their captors have forced them into drug addiction and have made them believe that no one cares about them enough to rescue them.

What can we do to protect ourselves?

  • For starters, we need to pay closer attention to our surroundings. Knowing tips that could be red flags are imperative.
  • We often hear it said, but... If you see something, say something! Whether you witness a crime or see a scene that just doesn't look right, report it. It could be nothing, but what if it is?
  • We teach our children to see the good in the world, but the "don't talk to strangers" conversation is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. They should also know what to do when approached by a stranger. An investment into a self defense class could be worth it.
  • We also need to instill in our youth the need for SOMEBODY to know where they're going and how long it'll take to get there. They should also alert someone of their arrival, check in if necessary, and then let someone know of their departure.

For a list of Alabama's Missing and Exploited Children, click here.