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  • Don’t be a Victim: How to Protect Yourself from Abduction

    The adage “better be safe than sorry“ is a mindset that can save you and your family from harm. Learn what a security expert has to say to stay away from imminent danger.
    by Lorela U. Sandoval .
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    According to Michael P. Melchor, a Certified Security Professional, abduction is among the most common modi operandi against children and yayas. “Quickie kidnapping surfaced long ago, characterized by the abduction of younger targets with less security (easy targets), which is considered more viable than targeting high-value individuals with high levels of security. They rely on volume instead and sell more victims for smaller amounts to make profits.”

    Abduction, however, may not always be a kidnap-for-ransom scenario. “Some criminal syndicates abduct youngsters between 6 to 12 years old for the harvesting of body parts. Organized syndicates have also been known to use urchins to beg on the streets. They starve and disfigure the children so that people will take pity on the child and give them money,” Melchor says.

    "There are protocols one can follow in case you find yourself victimized," according to Melchor, who is also the executive director of Center for Safety and Security, director for Strategic Plans A2S5 Coalition (an anti-crime non-government organization and advocacy for the universal rights to life, liberty, and property), and former director for training of United People Against Crime. “There are times when you can actively defend [yourself] against a criminal abduction, but beyond a certain point, resistance will endanger you. From this point on, you must practice compliance and proper hostage etiquette. Beyond this point you are no longer in control of the situation and must be schooled in proper coping protocols and survival strategies. You must also know what to do if a rescue attempt is made.”

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    But what makes a child or a yaya prone to such criminal attacks all boils down to two things. “Denial and lack of awareness increase your risks and exposure to criminal elements,” Melchor reveals. “Do not be in a state of denial—there is no safety in it. It will prevent you from preparing for and taking the measures to protect yourself and guarantee your safety. Awareness is key. Empower yourself through proper training. Get the right tools and adapt the right mindset,” he advises.

    Being the director of Streets Smarts, a program that teaches personal safety, Melchor explains how all targets are studied before the attack. “Do not have predictable routines; use alternate routes; shift schedules; do not be predictable; avoid choke points.” Yet, there’s been an argument whether it’s smart to take self-defense class or not, and whether or not to defend oneself from an attack. “Self-defense training will never hurt. You must empower yourself with knowledge to be able to survive the risks and realities in difficult times,” Melchor concludes.

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    We live in difficult times indeed. There is no harm in teaching our kids and yayas how they should keep themselves safe at all times. Being aware of the dangers looming ahead of us is a first step to saving lives.

    *not her real name

    Photo from sxc.hu

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