April 23, 1999
703-235-3900 Ext. 6139
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AND CHERIE BOOTH JOIN FORCES TO SUPPORT
THE LAUNCH OF A WORLDWIDE PROJECT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL CHILD ABDUCTION
Washington, DC – First Lady Hillary
Rodham Clinton and Cherie Booth, the wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
were the principal guest speakers today at the launch of the International Centre
for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a new British-American initiative
to find missing children worldwide and to stamp out cross-border child abduction.
||(left to right) Lady
Meyer, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Cherie Booth
The event, sponsored by the National Center
for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), took place at the British Embassy
this afternoon and was hosted by the British Ambassador, Sir Christopher Meyer,
and his wife, Lady Meyer.
ICMEC will provide instantaneous dissemination of pictures of and information
about missing children via the world wide web, advocate for stronger laws to
protect children, assist victim parents, and offer training to professionals
and law-enforcement agencies around the world. Cherie Booth has agreed to be
patron of ICMEC, which will have offices in Washington, D.C., and London.
The Honorable Arnold I. Burns, former Deputy Attorney General, announced plans
for an extensive new global effort to network existing law-enforcement agencies
and child-protective-services and advocacy organizations to forge a more uniform
response to the problem of missing and exploited children. NCMEC also released
a formal report on the findings of the International Child Abduction Forum hosted
in Washington, D.C., last September, which includes recommendations on ways
to improve the working of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International
Child Abduction (Hague Convention).
Lady Meyer is a leading advocate for the cause of children abducted across frontiers.
She is herself a victim parent, having been forcibly separated from her two
young sons for five years. In response to the serious problems caused by child-abduction
cases, Lady Meyer has become a leading figure in the effort to improve the efficiency
of the Hague Convention and make people aware that child abduction is a human-rights
Corporate support for the creation of ICMEC is being contributed by long-term
supporters of NCMEC, Compaq Computer Corporation, Computer Associates International,
Inc.® (CA), and Virgin Atlantic. Compaq announced today a $250,000 cash and
equipment contribution to ICMEC to support and build the international infrastructure
necessary to achieve its global goals for children. Computer Associates, which
developed and engineered NCMEC’s award-winning web site and worldwide network,
has also committed to provide office space for the London-based ICMEC office
as well as software and professional services to further develop and support
ICMEC's global information system. Virgin Atlantic Airlines’Change for Children
program contributed more than $100,000 for ICMEC and provided key support for
the missing children’s web site project within British law enforcement.
NCMEC is a private, nonprofit organization mandated by the United States Congress,
which serves as a national resource center and clearinghouse for information
on missing children and child protection issues. Founded in 1984, NCMEC is located
in the Washington, DC-area, and works closely with the United States Department
of Justice to assist families of missing children and the law-enforcement and
social-service professionals who serve them. Since NCMEC’s inception, it has
assisted police in more than 65,000 cases of missing children playing a role
in reuniting more than 46,000 children with their families. NCMEC has been referred
to as a “high-tech search center” by the national news media in the U.S. and
is routinely visited by world leaders from around the globe who view it as a
model for the creation of similar centers in their own nations.