Global Missing Children Research

National Legislation

In an effort to understand what steps are being taken on a national level to protect children from going missing/being abducted, and how to effectively and quickly respond when a child does go missing/is abducted, ICMEC is conducting in-depth research on legislation, best practices, and policies related to missing children around the world. We developed a list of criteria, both legislative and policy-based, to guide our research, which later evolved into the Model Missing Child Framework.

The legislative review results, presented in this chart, look at a core set of six criteria that are part of the Model Missing Child Framework, which we have identified as the most critical to addressing the issue on a national level. In particular, we are looking to see if national legislation and policies:

  1. exists with regards to missing children and/or provides a definition of “missing child”;
  2. requires immediate investigation of reported missing children;
  3. regulates cross-border travel with children;
  4. establishes a national registry of reported missing child cases;
  5. establishes reporting mechanisms to report a missing child or provide tips; and
  6. establishes a rapid emergency child alert system.

It is important to note that the legislative review accompanying the Model Missing Child Framework is not about criticism, but rather about assessing the current state and awareness of the issue, and learning from one another’s experiences. Additionally, a lack of legislation specific to missing children does not mean that no action has been taken to address missing children’s issues. When taken together, the regional legislative review and country-specific findings present a fuller picture of existing efforts.

Click here for the chart of legislative review results; click here for country-specific findings.