A Chinese managed to find his mother on a homemade map after 33 years of separation
“It’s been so many years that I don’t know if anyone in my family is looking for me, but I want to be able to see my parents again while they’re still here,” Lee Jinwei said a few months ago on a popular social network in China . The man posted a short video and handmade map of a village where he remembers living before he was kidnapped by a bald man when he was four years old. More than 30 years have passed since the separation from his parents, in which he constantly nourishes the moments of life with them, which have been imprinted on him through painting. He sketches places around his home where he remembers growing trees and grazing cows, nearby roads and rivers. He has forgotten the names of his mother and father, he does not remember the name of his village, but he accurately shows the houses in it and the utensils that local people use to cook rice.
At first glance, this may seem like scarce information to find his parents on your own, but since his appeal to find them was shared thousands of times on the internet, the police are also interested in him. She matched the data from the drawings with the database of missing children over the past few decades and reached out to a woman in a small village in Yunnan province who is still searching for a boy who gave birth 37 years ago to im Age of four mysteriously disappeared. A DNA test was conducted to confirm Lee Jinwei was her son, and in early January, police organized their first emotional meeting in Henan, where the boy was sold and raised by another family.
Their footage shows the young man first falling at his mother’s feet, then getting up and carefully removing her coronavirus mask to examine her face. There is a warm hug and many tears of joy and sadness because Lee’s father has died and cannot see his grown boy, who also has children.
An investigation into the case revealed that a boy was tricked into leaving his neighbor’s house with a toy and sold to a human trafficking group. It was bought by a couple who raised him 1,800 kilometers from his hometown. She has no information about Lee’s biological parents that could help him track them down. So he often has to paint what he remembers of them and after the rapid development of social media trying to get some information about his roots.
Child abduction is a serious problem in China. There are thousands of such cases every year. They are mostly sold to childless couples and, years ago, to those who want a male child to feed their family and help with farm work. The reason is the one-child policy in a family for three decades. The Chinese government introduced it to limit births, but abandoned it in 2016 after alarming data was reported about a severe drop in the country’s birth rate and emerging demographic problems. It is estimated that around 20,000 children are abducted each year, forcing authorities to take serious action to combat the phenomenon. They are under serious pressure to do something about it after a film starring Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau tells the story of a father who has been searching for his boyfriend for decades. The prototype of the protagonist in “Loss and Love” is Guo Gantan, who spent 24 years traveling around China on a motorcycle in search of his son. The two-year-old boy was abducted by an unidentified woman in September 1997 while he was playing in front of his home in Liaocheng. More than 500 people joined his search in the first hours, walking around train stations and main roads but finding no sign of him. The police investigations were also unsuccessful, but the father did not give up hope. He gets on his bike and drives off. For 24 years he managed to visit almost all Chinese provinces. He covered about 500,000 km and changed 10 bikes. He spends all his money on the trips he takes in search of his son. Several times he even has to take out loans in order to be able to continue. Guo Gantan never manages to find his boy, but finds seven others. Decades ago, thanks to the information he gathered, the police uncovered about 100 cases of kidnapped children.
His own son was found last year during a national campaign to collect missing children and their families organized by China’s Ministry of Public Security. It led to the discovery of 2,609 people across the country who were reported missing as children. One of the victims was identified 61 years after her kidnapping. 372 suspects were arrested for these crimes. Among them are the two kidnappers of Guo Gantan’s son, who turns out to have been living in a neighboring province all along. He graduated from university and is preparing to become a teacher. Through DNA, police managed to prove their biological connection and met them last July.
Although common lately, such happy endings still make up a small percentage of kidnappings. The destruction of traces in such crimes is usually so serious that it is difficult to solve them years later. In addition, the victims’ fragile age and psychological trauma prevent them from remembering what happened to them and how to help them.
Psychologists who have worked with abductees say affected children often have nervous system damage that can last a lifetime. The harm inflicted on them varies depending on their age, severity and duration of the violence they have been subjected to. Some remain emotionally blocked during the years they are separated from their parents. Others are deliberately manipulated into forgetting the few things they remember from living with them, which turns out not to be difficult since in most cases of kidnapped children, a person is involved and familiar with their family.
12 million do not go to school in Nigeria in order not to have to attend them
More than 12 million children in Nigeria are not going to school amid fears of kidnapping, President Muhammadu Bukhari said. The African state has had a problem for years, taking children from the families of militants who demand a ransom to bring them back. And despite the authorities’ attempts to crack down, the mass kidnappings have not stopped.
The United States is also facing major challenges with the recent disappearance of youth. Police forces check around 2,000 such signals every day. Most cases involve taking a child from one parent without the consent of the other, but abduction for sexual or financial exploitation also occurs.
That’s why US authorities are advising children to have special conversations on the subject and be trained to recognize dangers. For example, never date a stranger who promises to buy him candy, feed pigeons, or show him his pet. If they get lost in a mall or big store, instead of running to the parking lot and trying to find the family car, go to the nearest cash register and ask for help. Going to the bathroom alone is also not recommended in such places, as is hitchhiking teenagers, no matter how popular and exciting it is.
A study by the International Organization for Missing Persons Lisa Alert shows that 15 out of 17 children between the ages of 3 and 12 date a stranger even though they know they shouldn’t. The likelihood of this happening increases even more if the kidnapper is a woman or a teenager.