Missing Children Europe and its partners Telefono Azzurro, Google and Webbit Films issue a press release for International Missing Children's Day.
Brussels, Belgium, 25 May 2012 – Missing Children Europe (MCE), the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, representing 28 national NGOs working against child disappearance and sexual exploitation, is launching a campaign today to raise awareness of the European telephone number for missing children: the 116 000 hotline. To promote the hotline, MCE releases a video in all countries where the 116 000 hotline is available and launches a new Google Search Appliance for missing children in cooperation with its partners Google and Telefono Azzurro. The annual commemoration on 25 May of International Missing Children’s Day, will be followed by a high-profile event at the European Commission on 30 May.
The video shows that disappearance can affect children of all ages and backgrounds, and presents the 116 000 as a service that aims at preserving the future of the children who go missing. It will be available on 25 May in 16 European countries and will be disseminated online via the websites of MCE’s members, as well as on television and in movie theatres in several EU Member States. The film was created by Webbit Films, a Brussels-based producer of cinematic promotional films.
The Google Search Appliance was donated by Google to MCE member Telefono Azzurro, who decided to expand this technology to the entire MCE network. It is a dedicated Search Appliance that gathers information on missing children to support efforts to find them. The appliance will be made available on the websites of MCE’s members by embedding Google technology.
To further raise awareness on the plight of missing children and to promote the 116 000 hotline, Missing Children Europe will hold a high-level conference on missing children “Closing the gaps - 116 000 hotlines and child alert systems” in cooperation with the European Commission, on 30 May in Brussels. Leaders in the fight against child disappearance will participate in the event including Ms. Viviane Reding, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship; Ms. Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe; and Ms. Roberta Angelilli, Vice-President of the European Parliament. The European Commission is a major sponsor of MCE and its member organisations, as well as a proponent of the efforts to improve coordination across Europe on the issues of child disappearance and sexual exploitation.
The 116 000 hotline has proven its efficiency in helping families faced with a child disappearance. More than 3000 cases of missing children were dealt with in 2011 among 10 hotlines. However, and despite the increasing number of cross-border cases, the hotline is not yet operational or known in all EU countries.
“It is essential for us to raise awareness of this phone number, as experience shows that the first hours following a child’s disappearance are of vital importance,” said Sir Francis Jacobs, President of MCE.
“The Missing Children Europe network does vital work finding missing or sexually exploited children - and supporting their families in time of need. The Google Search Appliance will help the European 116000 hotlines to work together more effectively and improve access to public information about missing children," said Marco Pancini, Senior Policy Counsel, Google
"And with the number of cross-border cases increasing, we need to roll out the European service across the European Union. The 116 000 hotline can have an even larger impact if more people become aware of its existence and more countries commit to its full implementation by all stakeholders involved, at every level. Together, we can make Europe a safer place for our children,” concluded Sir Francis.