Child abductions on the increase


Saudi Gazette report

EVERY now and then newspapers report a new child abduction case. Although child abduction has not reached an alarming rate, they are on the increase. Al-Riyadh daily discussed the issue with sociology and criminology experts.

Dr. Salih Al-Aqeel, associate professor of criminology, Al-Majmah University, said the main cause of child abductions is family’s negligence, noting that child abduction is not an organized crime in the Kingdom as it is in other countries.

“The main reasons of most child abduction cases that are reported in our society every now and then have to do with sexual abuse or begging. In other words, the child either ends up being sexually abused by the abductor or ends up working in one of the gangs that force children to beg on street. In some other countries, children are abducted in order to blackmail their family or in order to kill them and sell their organs,” he explained. The strict laws applicable in the country and the highly-competent security forces have reduced the number of child abduction crimes in the Kingdom.

Grave crime

Dr. Ahmed Asiri, a criminology researcher, described child abduction as the most heinous crime because the victims are helpless children who are not aware of the dangers surrounding them and are not aware what kind of fate awaits them as a result of abduction.

Dr. Nasser Al-Oraifi, criminology psychology researcher, said abduction could bring about destructive psychological effect on children and parents. Parents whose child has been abducted will feel lonely, depressed, frustrated, sad, frightened, hopeless and lost; they will need psychological help. An abducted child will come out of this experience with grave psychological impact whose effect might last for a long time and leave a permanent scar on the child.

The child will experience insomnia, constant fear, sleep disorders in addition to other symptoms that last for five years at least. He might develop urinary incontinence, start biting his nails, throw tantrums and isolate himself from others. If the child is a little girl, the above symptoms get worse. Some children come out of this bitter experience with grave symptoms that turn them into vindictive persons who, when they grow up, want to take revenge of everyone and hurt others.


According to Al-Oraifi, some abductors have psychopathic personality. Such abductors can inflict harm on the abducted child as they only care about getting money out of the parents by any means necessary even if that comes at the expense of innocent children. Some abduct children to abuse them and force them to beg on streets in order to bring money.

Important values

Retired Brig. Gen. Talal Al-Saydalani, security adviser and founding member of Safe Childhood Society, called upon parents to educate children about the things they should do if they face any danger.

“Parents should urge children to call for the help of security officers if they get hurt or someone tries to abuse them in any way. These are important skills for children to learn. Parents should also use the help of child societies which are specialized in child protection and educate children about the best ways to protect their children against different dangers,” he said.


Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Shabrami, legal consultant, said child abductions are punishable according to the purpose of abduction. For example, if a child is abducted for sexual exploitation, the abductor will be punished by death. The Saudi laws strike with iron fist on abductors because these crimes are heinous.