Children go missing for a wide array of reasons. Some are parentally kidnapped when relationships between co-parents sour. Others are trafficked for sexual or labor exploitation. And still others are sent overseas for the purpose of being forced into early marriage. Whatever the underlying facts or circumstances, the impact is invariably devastating on children and families.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25 National Missing Children’s Day, a day to commemorate missing and abducted children who have been restored to their families, reaffirm our commitment to making child protection a national priority, and redouble efforts to locate and recover missing children. The International Community has adopted the same day to observe International Missing Children’s Day.
This International Missing Children’s Day, GJI salutes the many volunteers who donate their time and expertise to help protect and recover internationally missing children. We celebrate the members of Team HOPE – mothers, fathers, siblings and extended family members, of missing or sexually exploited children – who have turned their personal tragedies into vital lifelines of support for other families. We honor the adult survivors (formerly missing children) at Take Root who share their experiences to improve America’s missing-child response. And, we tip our hats to the volunteer lawyers of the U.S. State Department’s Attorney Network who represent low-income left-behind parents of internationally abducted children pro bono in the U.S. courts.
Missing Children’s Day is also an apropos occasion for parents to visit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children for tips on how to keep kids safe.