Karen*, an elementary student, and three other classmates decided to have their lunch break at a nearby shopping center, which is just a short walking distance from their school, but instead of taking a walk, they rode a tricycle to get there quickly. Little did they know that danger was following them the moment they stepped out.
While Karen was handing the tricycle driver the fare and her friends waited beside her, three men came out of a white SUV parked just a couple of meters away from where they stood, at the center of a busy street. She recalls that one man ordered her classmates to get inside the van. The schoolgirls, thinking quickly despite their shock, screamed and ran as fast as they could to the nearest restaurant to seek refuge. When they saw that the van was nowhere in sight anymore, they ran off again across the street, to the shopping center, where Karen’s family has a store. Karen’s family narrates how the schoolgirls couldn’t stop crying out of fear of what just transpired.
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The motive for this unexpected incident remains a mystery to Karen and her family to this day. While the family discounts the idea of a kidnap-for-ransom case because they have no vast assets or possessions, relatives and friends have other theories: first is sex trafficking; second is rape, and third is the rumored trade involving human internal organs. Whatever the real motive behind this failed abduction is, it only goes to show how unsafe the streets are these days for children of any age. Most shocking is the fact that Karen’s experience was not the first in their small, developing city up North.