An average of four children are kidnapped each month in Colombia, most by common criminals, according to an NGO report released Monday.
According to a report by the non-profit foundation Pais Libre, 15% of the 1,400 victims abducted since 2007 were children. Of the 212 minors kidnapped between now and 2007, 11 are still missing, six are dead, and 148 were rescued.
Approximately 38% of the kidnappings were carried out for extortion purposes, the foundation said.
The department of Valle del Cauca, in western Colombia, has the highest child kidnapping rate in the country, with 26 children abducted since 2007, followed by Bogota D.C., Antioquia, Nariño and Huila.
Most victims were between the ages of 11 and 15. Babies under a year old are also common targets. Slightly more males were abducted than females.
Twenty-one children have been kidnapped in Colombia this year, the report said.