Siphesihle, 3, lured away with promise of chips
Thabisile Dlamini's swelling belly carries in it a mixture of joy and despair. Knowing that her unborn child may never meet Siphesihle - her first-born daughter who was abducted eight months ago - Dlamini's exuberance will forever be tinged with sadness.
"Sometimes I feel like I want to die because I am so powerless . not a single day goes by that I don't think about her. I even dream about her."
Pictures of Siphesihle are all that remain after the three-year-old vanished from a church near Amandawe, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, on New Year's Eve.
"She was sitting next to me and she was holding my bag when those of us who were new had to go to the front and greet the congregation. When I came back she was gone . only my bag was sitting there."
Her picture has been filed with those of 5,866 vanished children, cases which remain open - some even after decades.
This grim record - the police's missing persons registry - is growing. Be it for body parts, sex slavery or labour, experts say that child abduction in SA has surged.
Dlamini said police had done little to interrogate a group of women who admitted they had lured the child away with the promise of chips.
"First they admitted they bought her chips and then sent her back to the church. When the police came they denied that they ever took my daughter."
Bianca van Aswegen, of the Missing Children SA NGO, said abductions were on the rise and only 1% of child-trafficking victims were ever found. "Not only girls are vulnerable but boys are in danger as well. Whether or not trafficking is at the heart of each kidnapping is difficult to say."..