Kidnapped Children - China 1909

Last week I wrote a post about a photo I had found in amongst a collection from one of my mother's cousins. I had tried to read the writing on the back of the photo but couldn't make out the first word. I had made an assumption that the children may have been orphans but thanks to the Facebook group Australian Genealogy I now have an answer. The first word was crucial.

Sharon Brennan Personal Archive.

KIDNAPPED! This word quickly came in a reply to my posting a link to the blog post on the Facebook group. I looked carefully at the word and yes it appears to be kidnapped.

One of the next comments then gave me a link to a newspaper article from The Straits Times, titled Kidnapping Children dated 24th May 1909, p. 10. It appears that trafficking in children was rife at this time.

I have not copied the article as there were various copyright notices before I could access the article but it can be read online and I urge you to do so.

Complaints are fairly rife among the Chinese of the Colony, says the Honkong Daily Press, that kidnapping has become unusually prevalent of late, and though the matter is, as usual, engaging the attention of the police, there seems to be little redress or solace for the bereaved parents. It my be said of course, that with such a large proportion of Chinese within our borders it is impossible to expect to be free from many of the offences and crimes peculiar to China, and that kidnapping is one of them.....
The matter is one for the police, who are faced with a difficult task in attempting to track those malefactors and restore the stolen children to their distraught parents.

One can only hope that the Shanghai Military Police were successful in returning these children to their parents.

Uncle Ernie must certainly have had many stories to tell of his time in Shanghai. Fortunately, this photo which was sent to his brother Peter (Cyril) Dawson, gave me enough clues to discover some of the work he may have been involved in.