A social experiment carried out in the UAE revealed how easy it is for strangers to walk off with a child.
Half of the children went voluntarily with a stranger in this experiment.
The test conducted by Sharjah Police and the Supreme Council for Family Affairs saw psychologists approach young children to highlight a lack of awareness among parents and children.
The Your Child Your Responsibility study had 26 children of various ages who were tested.
Thirteen out of the 26 walked away at the Sahara Centre Mall, with baits to buy games, gifts, and sweets. However, the other half refused to go with them.
In a statement, Hanadi Saleh Al Yafei, Head of the Organising Committee of the Child Safety Campaign, said: “There is probably nothing that freaks out a parent more than the fear of their child being lured away by a stranger, which is why we conducted this experiment to raise parents’ awareness about the need to constantly talk about stranger-danger with their little ones.”
Different reactions were received from children during the experiment regardless of age and nationality.
"We found out that there are many parents and children who are fully aware about this topic - a fact that made us really happy and satisfied. But, we are a bit concerned about the fact that some others were so easily lured."
The results of the experiment will be circulated across all channels to raise awareness.
About 1.2 million children are trafficked at any given point in time worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation.
Photo courtesy: Child Safety Campaign, Supreme Council for Family Affairs