Beware ‘youth camp’ scam

2017-03-01 06:01

WHIZZKIDS United in Edendale is warning parents and the public after four teenage girls were lured to a “non-existent” camp recently by an imposter who gave them leaflets advertising a “Whizzkids Youth Camp”.

The girls, aged between 14 and 18 left their home on February 3 and came back on February 6. They were locked in a room in Amanzimtoti without food or water for the entire weekend.

The minors were given a letter explaining what the trip was about, but it was all just a ruse. The letter which was written in Zulu said the girls were going to be “taught about self-discipline and how young women should conduct themselves.”

According to Whizzkids, the four girls were lured by a woman who called herself Onika.

The woman, who is said to live in Edendale, gave the young girls letters under the name of WhizzKids.

“The letters were for parents to sign for consent as the ‘camp’ was going to be at Midmar for three days. However, the destination was changed to Durban.

“When they arrived in Durban, the woman’s phone was on voicemail. The girls were stranded until one lady came and offered to help,” said Sanele Shelembe from Whizzkids.

The woman is understood to be part of a well orchestrated plan then told the panicking girls “not to worry as she was also aware of the camp and would transport them”.

Shelembe said the girls were held in a “room” in the Amanzimtoti area and their cellphones taken away so they couldn’t get help.

They were released on Monday after being told they did not “meet requirements”.

WhizzKids is an innovative educational programme that uses soccer to teach the youth about life skills, gender equality and sexual health in and around Edendale.

Whizzkids also assists with counselling, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases testing and tuberculosis screening among others.

Whizzkids is at Edendale Hospital and assists over 1000 children of all genders.

Shelembe said they have never encountered such an event in their 10 years of operating. The fraudulent letters were distributed to schools in and around Edendale.

“Our main concern is that the letters might be still circulating somewhere. We have been distributing the letters to schools across Edendale.

“Girl pupils should be aware of the scam and not fall for it,” said Shelembe.

If anyone sees anyone distributing such letters, they should immediately contact Whizzkids on 033 395 4683.

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