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Published on 25 Mar 2014 | over 4 years ago

In a social experiment for a TV documentary 616 people were filmed walking past two young girls, who were left alone in a London shopping centre. Seven-year-old Uma Rumsey and her sister, Maya, who's five, were taken to Victoria Place shopping centre, next to Victoria Station. They were left alone separately - but with tight security around them - obviously alone and looking in need of help. The cameras recorded men and women clearly seeing them - and ignoring them. A total of 616 adults passed them by in just one hour. The one person who did finally ask Maya if she needed help did so only after doubling back and making sure the child was alone. She was Pearl Pitcher, who said: "I was very hesitant to come and ask her, but I thought I must come back - just in case. I think the older generation would stop, but very cautiously, a bit like I was". A spokesman for the NSPCC said: "We have got to get a message out to adults that they have a responsibility to protect children and that must supersede any concern you have for other people's perception of why you are reaching out to help that child". The experiment, which was to test the public's reaction to lost children, was carried out for a programme by ITN Productions on Channel 5, called "Little Girl Lost: A Police 5 Special", which will air on Tuesday 25th March at 6.30pm. Report by Lauren Hood.

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