Child Abduction- How to make your child a harder target

A child goes missing every five hours in South Africa, according to figures released by the South African Police Service Missing Persons Bureau. Trafficking in children is a global problem affecting large numbers of children. Human trafficking is the second biggest profit-making crime in the world next to drug trafficking, and there are about 27 million people enslaved in the world today. In Africa, over two million people are trafficked annually, and of this number there is an estimated 30 000 children as young as 4, who are being prostituted in South Africa. According to UNICEF and World Concern some estimates have as many as 1.2 million children being trafficked every year. “Children and their families are often unaware of the dangers of trafficking, believing that better employment and lives lie in other countries.”  The reality is shocking and undeniable – there is a tremendous demand for children to be traded into forced (cheap) labour or for sexual exploitation.


Just like most adults, most kids have no way of knowing what to do in a self-defence situation unless they are taught. There is no prerequisite as you grow up and it’s not taught in schools. Kids must take English and maths but when was the last time you saw a self-defence class on the timetable? Kids are very trusting and wants to help others. Many child predators often succeed because they do not look a certain way that seems threatening to the child.

Leon Myburgh, Regional Director of C.O.B.R.A. Self-Defense System in South Africa,  teaches a 2-Hour Child Abduction Prevention  Course and provides the following advice to parents:

  • Children need to understand the differrence between good and bad strangers and that they have to listen to their intuition and create  a safe distance between themselves and strangers.
  • Taking away a predator’s privacy is key. Children need to understand the importance of making a commotion and causing a distraction. The louder the better.
  • Young children will not have the same physical capabilities as an adult to fight off an attacker but there are still things they can do. Imagine holding a kitten. If that kitten doesn’t want to be held anymore, and you try and hold it tight, what does it do? It gets its claws out. It starts scratching, hissing and biting. And the more you try and hold it, the more it tries to escape until eventually you have to put the kitten down. Children need to be nice, but when it’s time to fight, they need to know how to fight with everything they’ve got.” They need to be taught how to attack vulnerable areas such as the eyes of an attacker and how to use everyday objects as effective improvised weapons.
  • An anchor keeps a boat in the same position. A child can use their arms and legs in different ways to keep themselves in the same place if someone was trying to take them away. A child can drop to the ground like a sack of potatoes, screaming, shouting and kicking. It makes it really hard for someone to pick up the child. If you look in supermarkets you’ll see most young kids are experts at it with their parents.
  • Anchoring around an adults legs and biting are effective ways to make it harder for adults to pick them up and carry them away.
  • Locking onto the steering wheel may crash the car at low speed and keep the situation “in one place”, thus saving the child’s life. Would you rather your child experience a 10-15 kilometre per hour crash, or continue at 80 kph with the bad guy to his hide out? I don’t think he’s taking your child to play video games. Your child’s chance of survival drops significantly once they are at a secondary location. Anchoring around open car window pillars may make it more difficult to force them into vehicles.



 We teach children what will save their lives in the worst situations.


For further information contact:

COBRA Self-Defense South Africa

Phone: 082 299 9117