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Search for abducted survivor

A BOY reported to have survived the disaster is believed to have been abducted from hospital by suspected child sex traffickers.

Kristian Walker, 12, who is Swedish, was treated in a Thai hospital where he was taken as an outpatient by an unknown European man, who has not contacted his family.

Two Swedish police officers have arrived in Thailand, which is notorious as a centre for child trafficking and sex tourism, to help the boy’s family and Thai police to search for him.

“This case has been handed over to police and they are treating it as a suspected kidnapping,” a spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed yesterday.

Aid agencies in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand have reported that local children orphaned in the disaster have been snatched but this is the first case of a Western child being taken.

“Children left homeless by war or natural disaster become incredibly at risk of being abducted and trafficked for prostitution or domestic slavery,” said Christine Beddoe, director of the British group End Child Prostitution and Trafficking.

“We are particularly concerned that children are not being properly looked after.”

Kristian was on holiday with his mother, brother and sister in the resort of Khao Lak in southern Thailand when the waves hit. The family became separated and his mother, Madeleine, 45, is missing presumed dead.

Dan Walker, his father, heard the news of the earthquake at home in Stockholm and arranged to travel to Thailand to search for his children. He found his elder son David, 14, and daughter Anna, 7, at a hospital in Phuket, where they were being cared for by other Swedish tourists, but found no sign of Kristian.

Mr Walker has returned to Sweden with the two children leaving his father Daniel, a volunteer paramedic and former US Marine, in charge of the search for the missing boy.

Equipped with pictures of Kristian, Mr Walker Sr has visited every hospital, shelter and mortuary in the area and traced positive sightings of the boy to Tai Mueang hospital.

Two doctors and a nurse there identified Kristian from the family photographs and said he had been taken in for treatment to minor injuries on December 27.

They described the adult who accompanied him as a middle-aged European man with dark hair and a moustache, wearing a red shirt. Mr Walker, 78, has returned to the hospital four times to confirm the identification and search for his grandson.

“I have spent a week visiting hospitals and mortuaries and the doctors at Tai Mueang are certain he has been there,” Mr Walker told The Times.

“The Thai police were sceptical at first but they too are now convinced. I am working with the police every day in the search. It is a terrible situation but I hope that he has been kidnapped because at least that means he is still alive.”

The family fears that Kristian may have been taken out of Thailand in the confusion after the tsunami when thousands of foreigners were able to leave despite having lost their passports.

The boy’s father said he was using every method at his disposal to find his son.

Mr Walker, 48, said: “I believe Kristian is in the hands of traffickers and I do not think he is in the country any more. I have to assume the worst until the opposite is proved.

“I am having to shut everything out. I am working as hard as I can for as long as my legs can bear me up to pull every string and do everything I can possibly do.

“I have lost my ex-wife, with whom I still had a good relationship. I must take 100 per cent responsibility for the kids — which is like staring into the abyss. And my missing son, who has been seen alive, is kidnapped. It is unbelievable.”

Mr Walker said he did not think his surviving children were fully aware of what had happened. He added: “Anna has been told we are looking for her mother and brother. David is very quiet, is not eating and has lost weight. He has cuts and he swallowed a lot of water but he will recover.”

Radda Barnen, of the Swedish arm of Save the Children, said that children separated from families after the disaster were potential targets for paedophiles.

“The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the charity’s director.

She said there were “indications” that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, one of the countries suffering worst from the tsunami.

Kristian’s family said that he was an articulate, intelligent boy but, finding himself alone and injured in a strange place, may have been persuaded to go with an abductor who promised to find him treatment and get him safely home.

Source: The Times online

The boy’s father said he was using every method at his disposal to find his son.

Mr Walker, 48, said: “I believe Kristian is in the hands of traffickers and I do not think he is in the country any more. I have to assume the worst until the opposite is proved.

“I am having to shut everything out. I am working as hard as I can for as long as my legs can bear me up to pull every string and do everything I can possibly do.

“I have lost my ex-wife, with whom I still had a good relationship. I must take 100 per cent responsibility for the kids — which is like staring into the abyss. And my missing son, who has been seen alive, is kidnapped. It is unbelievable.”

Mr Walker said he did not think his surviving children were fully aware of what had happened. He added: “Anna has been told we are looking for her mother and brother. David is very quiet, is not eating and has lost weight. He has cuts and he swallowed a lot of water but he will recover.”

Radda Barnen, of the Swedish arm of Save the Children, said that children separated from families after the disaster were potential targets for paedophiles.

“The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the charity’s director.

She said there were “indications” that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, one of the countries suffering worst from the tsunami.

Kristian’s family said that he was an articulate, intelligent boy but, finding himself alone and injured in a strange place, may have been persuaded to go with an abductor who promised to find him treatment and get him safely home.

Source: The Times online

Kristian Walker, 12, who is Swedish, was treated in a Thai hospital where he was taken as an outpatient by an unknown European man, who has not contacted his family.

Two Swedish police officers have arrived in Thailand, which is notorious as a centre for child trafficking and sex tourism, to help the boy’s family and Thai police to search for him.

“This case has been handed over to police and they are treating it as a suspected kidnapping,” a spokesman for the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry confirmed yesterday.

Aid agencies in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Thailand have reported that local children orphaned in the disaster have been snatched but this is the first case of a Western child being taken.

“Children left homeless by war or natural disaster become incredibly at risk of being abducted and trafficked for prostitution or domestic slavery,” said Christine Beddoe, director of the British group End Child Prostitution and Trafficking.

“We are particularly concerned that children are not being properly looked after.”

Kristian was on holiday with his mother, brother and sister in the resort of Khao Lak in southern Thailand when the waves hit. The family became separated and his mother, Madeleine, 45, is missing presumed dead.

Dan Walker, his father, heard the news of the earthquake at home in Stockholm and arranged to travel to Thailand to search for his children. He found his elder son David, 14, and daughter Anna, 7, at a hospital in Phuket, where they were being cared for by other Swedish tourists, but found no sign of Kristian.

Mr Walker has returned to Sweden with the two children leaving his father Daniel, a volunteer paramedic and former US Marine, in charge of the search for the missing boy.

Equipped with pictures of Kristian, Mr Walker Sr has visited every hospital, shelter and mortuary in the area and traced positive sightings of the boy to Tai Mueang hospital.

Two doctors and a nurse there identified Kristian from the family photographs and said he had been taken in for treatment to minor injuries on December 27.

They described the adult who accompanied him as a middle-aged European man with dark hair and a moustache, wearing a red shirt. Mr Walker, 78, has returned to the hospital four times to confirm the identification and search for his grandson.

“I have spent a week visiting hospitals and mortuaries and the doctors at Tai Mueang are certain he has been there,” Mr Walker told The Times.

“The Thai police were sceptical at first but they too are now convinced. I am working with the police every day in the search. It is a terrible situation but I hope that he has been kidnapped because at least that means he is still alive.”

The family fears that Kristian may have been taken out of Thailand in the confusion after the tsunami when thousands of foreigners were able to leave despite having lost their passports.

The boy’s father said he was using every method at his disposal to find his son.

Mr Walker, 48, said: “I believe Kristian is in the hands of traffickers and I do not think he is in the country any more. I have to assume the worst until the opposite is proved.

“I am having to shut everything out. I am working as hard as I can for as long as my legs can bear me up to pull every string and do everything I can possibly do.

“I have lost my ex-wife, with whom I still had a good relationship. I must take 100 per cent responsibility for the kids — which is like staring into the abyss. And my missing son, who has been seen alive, is kidnapped. It is unbelievable.”

Mr Walker said he did not think his surviving children were fully aware of what had happened. He added: “Anna has been told we are looking for her mother and brother. David is very quiet, is not eating and has lost weight. He has cuts and he swallowed a lot of water but he will recover.”

Radda Barnen, of the Swedish arm of Save the Children, said that children separated from families after the disaster were potential targets for paedophiles.

“The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the charity’s director.

She said there were “indications” that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, one of the countries suffering worst from the tsunami.

Kristian’s family said that he was an articulate, intelligent boy but, finding himself alone and injured in a strange place, may have been persuaded to go with an abductor who promised to find him treatment and get him safely home.

Source: The Times online

The boy’s father said he was using every method at his disposal to find his son.

Mr Walker, 48, said: “I believe Kristian is in the hands of traffickers and I do not think he is in the country any more. I have to assume the worst until the opposite is proved.

“I am having to shut everything out. I am working as hard as I can for as long as my legs can bear me up to pull every string and do everything I can possibly do.

“I have lost my ex-wife, with whom I still had a good relationship. I must take 100 per cent responsibility for the kids — which is like staring into the abyss. And my missing son, who has been seen alive, is kidnapped. It is unbelievable.”

Mr Walker said he did not think his surviving children were fully aware of what had happened. He added: “Anna has been told we are looking for her mother and brother. David is very quiet, is not eating and has lost weight. He has cuts and he swallowed a lot of water but he will recover.”

Radda Barnen, of the Swedish arm of Save the Children, said that children separated from families after the disaster were potential targets for paedophiles.

“The experience from other catastrophes is that children are particularly vulnerable,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, the charity’s director.

She said there were “indications” that surviving children had been sexually abused in Sri Lanka, one of the countries suffering worst from the tsunami.

Kristian’s family said that he was an articulate, intelligent boy but, finding himself alone and injured in a strange place, may have been persuaded to go with an abductor who promised to find him treatment and get him safely home.

Source: The Times online

 
 

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