Thai NGO reports highest number of missing children in 4 years

A Thai NGO reports that the country’s number of missing children last year was the highest it had been in four years. The Mirror Foundation, which works to help families find missing children, reports some disturbing numbers.

Last year, 252 children went missing from home in Thailand. This was a 25% increase from 202 children in 2021, the foundation said.

Out of the total number of missing children, 157 were 11-15 years old, 67 children were 16-18 years old, and 28 children were under 10 years old, according to the chief of the foundation’s Missing People Information Centre Eakalak Loomchomkhae.

The provinces with the most missing children were Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Pathum Thani, and Chon Buri.

Chief Eakalak said that Bangkok recorded 70 missing children, Nonthaburi recorded 17, Samut Prakan recorded 17, Pathum Thani recorded 16, Chon Buri recorded nine, and Nakhon Pathom recorded nine.

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Eakalak noted that 61% of children who went missing from home ran away, and 21% of children, 52, had mental disabilities and disorders. Two children were kidnapped.

Among the factors causing children to run away from home, 42% had family problems, 27% of children ran away with someone they met online, and 26% ran away with someone they were involved in a romantic relationship with.

Eakalak said that it is very difficult to recover missing children, Thai PBS reported.

Police warn that children four to eight years old are most vulnerable to kidnapping, and warned parents not to leave their children alone in public or with strangers. If children go missing, parents should call 1191 immediately.

Parents are also advised to give children pieces of paper with their names and contact numbers before they leave the house.

Last year, a few disturbing kidnapping cases shook Thailand.

In November, a sadistic gang kidnapped and tortured three teenage boys in Bangkok.

In September, a 14 year old teenager was kidnapped and murdered in Chon Buri for allegedly stealing a gold necklace and some cash.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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