Melbourne: The trend of teenage girls disappearing with older men they met through work, friends or over the internet has been on the rise in Australia, with investigators handling 80 such cases a year.
“I`m sure that`s just the tip of the iceberg,” the Age quoted Lyonswood Investigations managing director, Warren Mallard, as saying.
“It`s really accelerated in the last decade … since technology and since communications has increased, both parents being in the workplace.
“It`s a very promiscuous society and there are no secrets any more.”
Private investigators have told The Sun-Herald that such cases are becoming increasingly common, as technology makes it easier for young people to connect and for older men to prey on vulnerable adolescents.
Social commentators suggest the availability of porn on the Internet is leading teenagers to adopt adult behaviours earlier.
According to NSW Police, 65 per cent of the 11,595 people reported missing last year were under 18. Ninety-eight per cent were found safe and well.
Investigators charge about 5000 dollars to find a missing teenager. Their clients are usually wealthy families, whose children have the financial means to survive away from home, or strict religious families.
Mr Mallard said most teenage girls returned home within three or four days.
“In most of these cases the kids come back of their own accord,” he added.