Building exits close for 10minutes to allow trial search for missing youngsters to proceed
China's first child abduction alert system, which will close all the exits of a building for 10 minutes to search for missing children, came into force in Nanjing, capital city of Jiangsu province, on Monday.
The Deji Plaza, a high-end shopping mall in the downtown Xinjiekou area where the system was installed, has put cartoon stickers on the doors of its entrances, exits and elevators to inform customers of the system.
People who discover that their children have gone missing in the mall can press an emergency button outside any of the elevators that connect with the mall's control center. Workers will come to them immediately and initiate the system after confirming the children are missing.
All exits of the mall will be closed for 10 minutes while workers search for the children. Speakers will also broadcast information on the missing children, and people will stand at all entrances to watch for the children.
If after 10 minutes the child has not been found, the exits will be reopened and police will begin to investigate the case.
Wang Haiding, a Nanjing police officer and online celebrity with 1.2 million followers on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, said that the system has proved to be effective.
"I took my 3-year-old daughter on a trial operation on Friday evening," said Wang. "The girl was found in six minutes, with some retail workers at the mall reporting helpful information after hearing the broadcast."
According to local police, children ages 5 to 10 are the most vulnerable to being abducted or going missing. Younger children often get more attention from their guardians and are less active.
Children often go missing in places of high population density, such as shopping malls, railway stations and amusement parks.
Chen Shiqu, director of the Ministry of Public Security's human trafficking task force, said that guardians should be alert when they go out with children.
"Everyone needs to strengthen their awareness and report suspicious behavior that might be a child being abducted," said Chen. "More public places in the country should introduce a similar child abduction alert system."
In a China Daily report in March, Chen said the number of children reported abducted last year dropped compared with 2013 - although a specific number was not disclosed - while the number of trafficked infants increased sharply.