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News & Events
April 23, 1999

Contact: Julia Cartwright
703-235-3900 Ext. 6139


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 issue.  

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.

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