What is Missing Children Day?

What is Missing Children Day?

The story highlighted in this blog is based on actual survivor experiences but is not an actual account.

A 9-year-old girl, Anneliese, plays on her iPad while her mom, April, finishes up her work for the day.

Anneliese is playing a game online and chatting with a new friend she met through that game.

Anneliese and her new friend talk about their mutual love for ice cream cones and how nice it is to have new friends.

This new friend suggests to Anneliese that they should go get ice cream at the local North Carolina ice cream shop beside her school the next day after school.

Anneliese asks her mom if she can go get ice cream after school and tells her mom that her friend will bring her home after, her mom agrees.

Tuesday afternoon at 5 p.m.: April paces around the house, Anneliese should have been home hours ago from getting ice cream.

April decides that it is time to call 911. The cops search for Annelise but end up with no leads. They question her mom and ask where she was supposed to be, April tells them that Anneliese was out this afternoon getting ice cream with a new friend.

April soon realizes she knows nothing about this new friend Anneliese made. The officers search Anneliese’s room for any clues and find her iPad and conversations she has been having with another user.

They track the IP address of the friend Anneliese has made to that of a registered sex offender.

Now knowing Anneliese is in grave danger the community comes together and forms search parties to help the authorities try and locate this little girl. The community rallies around April, yet there is no hope, weeks go by without any leads.

Years later, a 13-year-old girl is rescued out of sex trafficking in Colorado.  The young girl had been manipulated and sold to have sex with people all over the country. They identify her as Anneliese a missing child from North Carolina and she is soon reunited with her mom.

Anneliese endured four years of exploitation and sexual assault not only by her abductor but the men she was sold to.

May 25 is Missing Children’s Day.

However, many children in Anneliese’s situation never get out, they are used and abused all through their childhood into adulthood. Others never to be seen again because the obscene acts of an abuser.

May 25, International Missing Children’s Day, serves as a day to remind parents, relatives, caregivers, and others to make child well-being and safety a priority.

As well as reminding communities to observe those around us and to report situations that are unsafe for children.

Why do kids go missing?

In Anneliese’s story, she is abducted by a new friend found online, but this is not always the case.

Family abductions, runaways, child sex trafficking, and infant abductions are ways children can go missing.

Family member abductions are the most common over 60 percent of missing children are taken by a parent or family member.

Many of these children are taken because of a custody disagreement, while others are taken to be sexually assaulted or sold into sex by family members.

Sadly, for children with rough home lives, they can become easily trusting to adults who give them attention.

This can lead to child sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, or advertising of a minor child for the purpose of a commercial sex act, which involves the exchange of anything of value – such as money, drugs or a place to stay – for sexual activity. 

Children or teens who are runaways are especially at risk for child sex trafficking.

They are often running from their parents and law enforcement, which makes it easy for traffickers to persuade them by telling them they will be taken care of and fed.

Infant abductions are oftentimes by a female of childbearing age who looks pregnant and is close to the family or caregiver of the child.

The abductor could be a nanny or babysitter who has the desire to become a mother.

What Can I Do?

It may be easier than you think to get involved and help stop children going missing. 

Ensuring safety measures on your children’s electronics, looking out for children in your community, and reporting suspicious behavior are all ways to help. 

It is important to make sure a child can identify a safe adult in their life whether it be a teacher, relative, or neighbor that they can go to if they feel they need to run away from home.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children have great resources to use to educate children and adults on prevention measures as well as a hotline and victim and family support.

To learn more about what you can do go to missingkids.org

NCMEC Hotline: 1-800-843-5678

Hannah Simpson is an intern for NC Stop Human Trafficking. To reach her, email info@ncstophumantrafficking.org.

Become a member of NC Stop Human Trafficking today. Click to find out more.

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