14 children still missing amid abuse suspicion [2016/05/03 11:25]

About a dozen Korean children are still missing in suspected cases of child abuse, the government said Monday in its progress report on eradicating violence against children.

The Education Ministry said the whereabouts of 12 elementary and middle school students and one child under school age remain unknown, with eight of the middle school students suspected of having run away from home. The number totals 14 when counting another child who remains missing from the first round of searches conducted earlier this year.

The Education Ministry, police and Welfare Ministry have been conducting a nationwide search for the missing children amid escalating child abuse concerns this year.

From February to early April this year, the government searched for the whereabouts of some 2,900 elementary and middle school students who were supposed to enroll in school this year but remained either unadmitted or absent for over a week.

Of the 2,900 children, police found signs of child abuse among 376 children upon reports from police and children welfare centers. Of those 376, the ministry confirmed 35 of them to be clear cases of child abuse. Another seven cases are still under investigation, officials said. The remaining children were found to have left oversees or switched to homeschooling.

In the second round of searches, the ministry widened the probe to 810 preschool kids who did not have any medical checkup history or vaccination records. The government said they found two infants living in poor environments, with one missing.

During the meeting, Education Minister Lee Jun-sik vowed to push for enacting a charter of children`s rights to better protect the children. “To fundamentally ensure the happiness of the children, our society should have a higher level of public awareness of children`s rights. There`s a need to enact the charter of children` rights so that children can also acknowledge their rights,” said Lee.

The police and the education authorities also said it would promptly wrap up the search operation and tighten the monitoring system. In the first-round probe earlier this year, the Education Ministry had found the whereabouts of 19 students were unidentified. The rest were later found to be safe, the ministry said.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (www.koreaherald.com)