LONDON, ENGLAND – The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) announced today that a major international conference will be held next week in London to address the global problem of missing children. Law enforcement and representatives from 18 countries will attend the 5th annual meeting of the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN). The conference is unique because it brings together law enforcement and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) from four continents to discuss how to address the crisis of missing and abducted children.
ICMEC is holding the conference in collaboration with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and the United Kingdom’s Missing Persons Bureau. The meeting is made possible through generous support from the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Those attending include law enforcement and others from Albania; Argentina; Belarus; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; Germany; Greece; South Korea; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Poland; Russia; Spain; Romania; the United Kingdom and USA.
The global problem of missing children is an issue that needs the immediate attention of law enforcement and officials around the world. It is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that nearly 800,000 children will be reported missing each year in the United States. Other sources estimate that 40,000 children go missing each year in Brazil; 50,500 in Canada; 39,000 in France; 100,000 in Germany; and 45,000 in Mexico. An estimated 230,000 children go missing in the United Kingdom each year or one child every 5 minutes.
“The issue of missing children touches every nation. Yet most countries lack basic systems to respond. The Global Missing Children’s Network currently has members from 22 countries. The Network needs to have many times that number of countries participating,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of ICMEC. “The meeting in London is an important step in the continuing effort to build effective systems in every country. We are deeply grateful to CEOP and the United Kingdom’s Missing Persons Bureau for their commitment and support. We are also grateful to our corporate partner the Motorola Solutions Foundation which is helping us build and grow the GMCN.”
The objective of the Global Missing Children’s Network conference is to enable member countries to share best practices in dealing with the global problem of missing children and discuss how law enforcement, government, NGOs and others can work together to address these problems. The meeting in London will also address the issue of missing children from care, the link between missing children and child sexual exploitation and discuss the Child Protection Certificate criminal records check program used in the UK. The Global Missing Children’s Network was created by ICMEC in 1998 to establish a global network to share best practices, information and strategies on missing children.
Membership in the GMCN currently includes 22 countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Members receive annual training and are provided access to an international, multilingual database of information and photographs about missing children from around the world. Access to the database also enables members to customize their countries’ websites to meet individual needs; quickly create missing child posters and display information and photographs of missing children in their countries.
Previous meetings of the GMCN were held in Brasilia, Brazil; Travemunde, Germany; Sydney, Australia and Washington, DC in the U.S.
The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the globe, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. They have been a partner of ICMEC since 2010 and share our vision of a global network of many nations to save and protect the world’s children. In addition to underwriting a portion of the cost of the conference being held this week in the United Kingdom they have also provided a funding for ICMEC to provide training for law enforcement, government ministries and nongovernmental organizations in Central America to strengthen the existing work on child protection in the region.