In Lisbon, it is rumoured that at least one child per day disappears. Being extremely difficult to officially corroborate these figures, since children who are given as disappeared can appear days later in the arms of boyfriends or estranged spouses, the story is a difficult one to approach. Recently, however, a lady from northern Portugal by chance discovered a picture of her son who had disappeared three years before, on a porno internet site in France. How many others will have followed suit? Now French statistics unearth a horrific scenario: 40,000 children disappear every year in France, some of whom are never traced again. There are others who return but many whose mutilated bodies are found discarded. Numerous parents who lose their children in this way organise themselves into help associations and many times, these associations provide useful information which leads to the finding of a child. Other cases are not so happy. “Video Nasties” are an unfortunate fact of life in Western Europe. These are real-life horror films made with real victims being filmed as they are sexually abused or even tortured and killed. Any parent who has lost a child will always think the worst, even if there is a happier explanation, albeit one which is not immediately forthcoming. Whatever the case, the loss of a child, even temporarily, is every parent’s worst nightmare, wherever they may be, whatever colour they have and whichever creed they may adhere to. TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON

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