We must verify identities of our househelps
A couple in Utawala is grappling with untold agony, following the disappearance of their two year-old daughter last week.
Also missing is the young woman they engaged only recently to take care of the child, adding to suspicions she had a hand in the child’s disappearance.
Police have arrested a suspect and many ardently hope they will trace the child within the shortest time possible and re-unite her with her parents.
The Utawala incident is the latest in what is turning out to be a chain of heartrending episodes involving wayward househelps.
Cases of domestic workers vanishing with their employers’ children — simply kidnap in law — or exposing them to harm for whatever reason, have lately taken a worrying upward trend.
These kidnappers have penetrated recruitment bureaux — outfits that link parents in dire need of extra hands to take care of their children and generally mind the home in their absence with unemployed women in need of jobs.
With the number of working mothers on the rise, a corresponding increasing need for househelps will continue.
If adequate measures are not taken, more of these kidnappings are likely.
Incidents of this kind call for tough measures, but parents too must gird up their loins when it comes to their children’s safety.
Engaging and trusting strangers from recruitment bureau without so much as a perfunctory check of their backgrounds is a serious breach of parental responsibility.
A common African proverb springs to mind: Don’t blame the fox alone for grabbing a farmer’s hen, but also heavily reprimand the chicken for wandering too far from home.
Parents must always go the extra mile in verifying — if possible with the police — details provided when they are hiring a househelp.
Only by thoroughly checking such references can they hope to avoid the agony that such negligence spawns.