What to DO when someone goes missing

Worried?Has the missing person travelled to any of the following countries; (these are the most common)

Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Thailand, China, Mauritius

He/She was due back 3 days ago and there's no sign of him/her...

No more sms's, no more phone calls...

the clock is ticking...

panic begins...



We at Locked Up have all been here ... boy, have we ever!!
Based on our own experience we have compiled a check list that might help you;


Has this person been in contact with you while away and now, there's nothing?
An unexpected loss of contact is reason enough to worry.

Were they travelling abroad for employment or just a holiday and is this kind of travelling normal for the person?

Being lured into drug trafficking under the false pretence of a job offer is becoming common.

Have you contacted all their friends ?
This is an obvious step

Find out where they were last seen (hotels, etc)
Check their travel itinary from the Travel Agent for information on Hotels. Phone the Hotel to determine when they checked out and if they were with someone. If this is a drug trafficking situation there is a usually an 'enforcer' travelling with them to ensure they don't abscond with the drugs.

Open a Missing Persons Case at your nearest Police Station
If you are immediate family go to your nearest Police Station and open a Missing Persons Case. Keep the Case No handy. If the missing person turns up go back to the Police Station and cancel the report. If you get confirmation that they have been arrested go back to the Police Station and tell them.

Trace their last known place of departure (boarding of flights, busses, etc)

It is important to contact the airline as soon as possible. Phone the airline's office in South Africa: usually at O.R. Tambo International Airport. Ethically speaking, airlines do not divulge names from their passenger lists but if you explain that it's an emergency, that the person is 'missing' and quote the Police Case No, they are usually helpful. Do this within 3 days because most airlines only keep this information for 3 days. After that they cannot trace the passenger. These journeys are usually done in 'legs' ... eg Caracas, Madrid, Joburg. Establishing the last flight will give you a fair indication of their whereabouts.

Do you suspect involvement with drugs or drug trafficking?

Have they been involved with drugs? Do they have friends who use drugs? Has this person been out of work, in a financial predicament, desperate? Have there been any new friends, a Nigerian maybe?

Contact DIRCO: E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Phone: (012) 351 1000

The Department of International Relations is not particularly helpful and certainly not sympathetic but if you give them the above information they will be able to investigate if the missing person has been detained, where, and on what charges. Don't expect immediate results but they usually get back to you in a few days. The Chief Directorate Consular Services of the Department of International Relations is situated at O R Tambo Building, 460 Soutpansberg Road, Rietondale, Pretoria 0084.

DIRCO "Contact Us" Web Link


We at Locked Up are a group of people who have found ourselves in this very same situation. We can advise you of the usual procedures, what to expect, who to go to, who not to trust and what you can and cannot expect.

LOCKED UP HOTLINE No: 083 412 8459  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it