For many countries of the world, May 25 – is International Day of Missing Children ( International Missing Children’s Day ). This date leads its history from the United States, and the symbol of the Day is the image of a blue forget-me-not.
On this day, in 1979, American six-year-old schoolboy Evian Pates disappeared on his way home, he was sought by the whole world, the case received a wide resonance, but the search was unsuccessful. 4 years after this event, US President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 as National Day of Missing Children, and a year later, in 1984, The National Center for the Search for Missing and Exploited Children ( National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, NCMEC ) was founded. Soon, this initiative was supported in a number of European countries, and in 1997 the International Center for the Search for Missing and Exploited Children ( ICMEC ) was established. It was on his initiative in 2010 that the International Day of Missing Children was established and its date – was set on May 25.
The missing child – is a global emergency, and for parents there is nothing worse than this fact. And the establishment of this Day was an attempt to draw the attention of the world community to the problem of the loss of minors, to the problem of protecting children from abductions, difficult life situations and illegal exploitation.
According to official statistics, there are millions of missing children on the planet, and every year there are more of them. According to international human rights organizations, on average, more than 70 thousand minors disappear annually in Europe, – about 10 thousand in Russia, and more than 420 thousand in the USA. Moreover, these figures – are official data, unofficial much higher.
As practice shows, many of the missing children themselves run away from their parents or from the orphanage. The reasons for this are different – quarrels with elders, misunderstanding or aggression in the family, the desire « to see the world » ... But there are also frequent cases of abduction of children for the purpose of their sale or sexual exploitation, and statistics of such abductions, unfortunately, it is increasing every year. Moreover, often the loss of « occurs » due to the carelessness and negligence of parents who leave their children unattended or do not explain to them the rules of communication with strangers. As a result, the child becomes an easy prey for the criminal.
The world's first child missing emergency alert system was also created in the United States in 1996, and was called « Amber Alert », where Amber – is the name of a 9-year-old girl, tragically killed in Texas. Alert translated from English – anxiety. The system zippersly connects the public through the media, electronic displays on roads and airports, via e-mail and smartphones, provides the widest possible search: it raises volunteers and the army, Coast Guard and the FBI, the media and psychologists. In the United States alone, during its existence, this system has helped find and return more than 1,000 children to families. Since 2002, other countries began to adopt this experience, in 2011 a similar warning system was created in Russia.
Also in most states, there are special units under law enforcement agencies and structures to search for missing and abducted children. In addition, dozens of volunteers and public organizations are searching for them all over the world. In this process, all – methods are used from sticking leaflets to combing the area. And one of the operational tools of recent years, for disseminating information about a missing child, has become the Internet, where today there are hundreds of databases on missing minors, and the worldwide web allows you to quickly respond to events. In Russia, there are also several groups for finding children on social networks, publications about the missing on regional sites are very effective.
Among the common methods for finding children, – is the placement of photographs of missing people in the media, on billboards, on packages of essential goods – for example, on milk bags. In the United States, the search for children also uses personality recognition technologies for the iris. In Europe, there is a hotline where parents, relatives and eyewitnesses can turn. The main principle of – do not give up and do not stop searching.
On the very Day of Missing Children around the world, various educational events and events ( « round tables », expert meetings, conferences, competitions and exhibitions, etc. ), are traditionally held, thematic programs are broadcast on radio and television. In large shopping centers of American and European cities, information stands with the image of blue forget-me-nots are located, parents are given brochures, children are told how to behave with strangers.
In Russia, official events of the Day were first held in 2012 under the patronage of the Center for Child Security in the « Don't Let it! », Russian member of the GMCN Global Network of Centers for the Search for Missing Children, operating since 1998. Within the Center « Do not Let go! » the All-Russian Database of Missing Children is being developed, a consulting service is working, educational and training materials are being developed and distributed, work is underway to expand the volunteer network, interaction with relevant authorities and law enforcement agencies is carried out in order to ensure maximum protection of children. The events dedicated to the Day are attended not only by representatives of relevant state and law enforcement agencies, but also by volunteers, educational and social workers, specialists in the field of rehabilitation of victims of crime, non-profit organizations.