Coming out of the mall into the parking lot, I saw this poster lying on the ground.
It was a flyer to help find a missing child.
Every time, I see something like this, I just have to take a big gulp and deep breath, as this seems like one of the scariest things that can happen to a child and their parents.
A child is dependent on it’s parents, and when they go missing G-d forbid, the fear of in whose hands they might fall and what may be done to them is unthinkable.
The goal is to get the word and pictures out to find the child as quickly as possible.
From 2002, statistics show about 800,000 children go missing every year (or about 2,000 per day)–that is unbelievable!
Of those, about 204,000 were family abductions, 58,000 were non-family abductions, a 115 were taken by a stranger, and the rest were mostly run-aways.
About 1 in 5 runaways are considered likely victims of child sex trafficking.
A 1997 study showed only 5% of non-family abductions even get reported to police and entered in the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC)–many may not enter a report when a child is gone just a few days or it may get filed under other categories like homicides or sexual assaults.
In the 1972 and 1981, there were tragic cases of missing children Etan Patz and Adam Walsh, both killed at age 6, with Etan’s remains supposedly thrown in the garbage in Soho (he was never found) and Adam’s located in a drainage canal in Florida.
Etan was the first missing child whose pictures were put on the back of milk carton.
In 1983, the anniversary of Etan’s disappearance, May 25, was designated National Missing Children’s Day.
In 1984, the Walshes and other child advocates established the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) “to help find missing children and prevent child victimization”–shockingly before this there was no coordinated federal and state mechanism for search efforts.
– NCMEC tip hotline (1-800-The Lost) has received over 4.3 million calls in the last 32 years and they have facilitated the return of 227,000 missing children.
In 1996, America’s Missing Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) was set up as a a child abduction emergency alert system; it was named after Amber Hagerman, a 9-year old abducted and murdered in Texas.
– AMBER Alerts, between 1997 and 2015, were credited with the safe recovery of 723 children.
My heart goes out to these children and their families!
Anything that each of us can do to help with the desperate situation of missing children and their safe recovery is worth not only our attention, but our utmost vigilance and helpful tips. 😉
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)