A lady being beaten by citizens over alleges she was trying to kidnap a child in Sharqia – Press photo A lady being beaten by citizens over alleges she was trying to kidnap a child in Sharqia – Press photo

Reasons of populist punishment to children’s kidnappers

Tue, Jul. 4, 2017
CAIRO - 04 July 2017: Residents took the law into their own hands in Belbies, Sharqia. They sought revenge upon a woman discovered to be a kidnapper. The accused was caught and tied to a light pole on Monday; where the residents began beating her.

Kidnapping children is the latest nightmare for all Egyptian parents. Kidnappers find their targets in shopping malls crowded with kids playing away from busy parents. The mall is an ideal place to lure kid where they can vanish into the crowd.

Kidnapping for ransom is an old crime. It has been replaced by human and organ trafficking. Kids are being trafficked abroad to be sold to potential parents with new identities. Some are becoming the source of organ trafficking, others die due to rape.

The increasing number of abducted children between the age of 3 and 5 (300-400 annual cases) according to Hani Helal, secretary-general of the Egyptian Coalition for Children's Rights, is horrifying.

The populist solution does not only include punishing the kidnapper, but they took to social media. They created a page to help the bereaved parents find their lost children and to spread their photos for recognition.

‘Lost Children’ page is based on exposing the abduction cases, and encourage people to report the beggars with the babies all over the country. They want to at least get the victims photos distributed.

Parliamentarians demanded heavier penalties against kidnappers. Parliamentarian Mohamed Abu Hamed announced in March that he will propose a draft law to make the death penalty the punishment of kidnappers.

Admin of ‘Lost Children’ page proposed in a TV show aired in April, to modify the birth certificate, to include all the details of the parents and the baby, to decrease the number of children trafficking, and help the authorities recognize the reported missing children.

In its ‘2017 trafficking in Persons Report,’ U.S. Department of State affirmed that Egypt is making significant efforts to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Those standards include creating three specialized courts to prosecute human trafficking cases, prosecuting any government official for alleged complicity in trafficking crimes, adopting a new national anti-trafficking action plan, and conducting several trafficking awareness campaigns. The training programs will address various forms of trafficking; however, those measures are not enough, according to the report.

Many feel that the penalty for kidnapping is not severe enough. Some think that the punishment of 3-7 years is an injustice, other become impatient then take matters into their own hands and seek revenge.

In May 2017, Mansoura Criminal Court sentenced a man to death for kidnapping and raping a 20-month old girl. On the contrary, in February 2014, Egyptians were outraged when two men were sentenced to life in prison for the same crime.
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