This is sort of a tangent from the other thread about prohibiting circumcision, I thought I would ask others about a practice I've only just heard about which is being picked up on the peripheral radar of family law and social services in the UK (predictably). I'll start with how I heard about it.
It began with a picture advertising a tattooists in the neighbouring town which someone who I know is expecting posted on facebook of a baby with photoshopped tattoos on them. I asked them if they thought it was real or anyone would ever tattoo a baby, they said no it was only promo material but that they knew of cultures in which children, adolescents and adults get tattoos as a rite of passage. So at this point I was thinking that would be a good subject for a topical discussion and made the link with the other thread.
However, I found out since then that there are families considering employing tattoos as child protection measures (this is where the authorities get involved, the trauma contra the possibly benefits, the law is also already pretty clear about the age at which people can receive tattoos and it isnt for minors) sort of like an indelibable ID in case of kidnap.
I'm not sure there could be any benefit, I think of the sorts of people who kidnap and traffic kids as merciless and evil and would probably torturously remove any "tagging".
The cultural question is a different one I think, if you prohibit a family from tattooing a child when all the rest of their family, peers and community do so you could be setting them up for social exclusion. I'm not sure that the state should usurp the authority or cultural practices of parents and families which are not neglectful, abusive or cruel towards their children.