WARNSVELD, THE NETHERLANDS – For the next two days the Alexandria, Virginia-based International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) is hosting its annual Global Missing Children’s Network conference in Warnsveld, The Netherlands. The conference brings together representatives from law enforcement and nongovernmental organization (NGOs) from 22 countries to discuss the issue of missing and abducted children around the world.
The conference is being held in collaboration with the Missing Persons Unit of the Dutch National Police and is supported by the Motorola Solutions Foundation. Participants will share case studies including analysis of media involvement and support. In addition, discussions will be held on DNA databases, mediation in cases of parental abduction, and the protection of children’s right to privacy throughout missing child investigations. The goal is to strengthen existing collaboration among member countries and develop best practices which countries around the world can implement.
Regardless of the circumstances under which a child goes missing, children who disappear are exposed to an increasing risk and are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor, physical and emotional violence, as well as other criminal activities. In the United Kingdom, for instance, Parents & Abducted Children Together (PACT) reports that over 25% of children who left their home experience some form of abuse during their period on the street. In the United States, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children estimates that 1 in 7 reported endangered runaways are likely victims of child sex trafficking. The longer a child or adolescent is missing, the greater the risk they face.
“Missing children is a global issue which needs a global response. The Global Missing Children’s Network provides the opportunity for member countries to work together and build a comprehensive response,” said Ambassador Maura Harty, President and CEO of ICMEC. “This meeting is an important opportunity to learn from one another and to further strengthen our efforts to protect children. We are very grateful to our corporate partner, the Motorola Solutions Foundation, which has supported us over the past five years.”
Membership in the GMCN currently includes countries from: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Motorola Solutions Foundation is the charitable and philanthropic arm of Motorola Solutions. With employees located around the world, Motorola Solutions seeks to benefit the communities where it operates. The Foundation has been ICMEC’s partner and supporter since 2010, fostering our vision of building 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 they have also provided funding for ICMEC to build awareness through commemorating May 25 as International Missing Children’s Day.