“It wasn’t nice in the institution. They were always yelling. I was always fighting with one of the girls in my group. So eventually I preferred going to A.. I didn’t think about anything. Ok, I had to sleep with men but I didn’t feel any particular way about it because I was under the influence of drugs.”
- 18 year old girl runaway, living in an institution
Every year, May 25 commemorates International Missing Children’s Day across the world since the disappearance of 6-year-old Etan Patz in New York City on the same date in 1979. In Europe, a child goes missing every 2 minutes. This year, Missing Children Europe needs your help to highlight the largest group of missing children: runaway children by hosting a symposium and collecting donations of children’s clothes, toys and books that will be used to trace out the 116 000 number in front of the European Parliament.
In 2017, cases relating to 5271 missing children were reported to 116 000, the European hotline for missing children. 3017 of those were runaways, making up the largest category of missing children cases reported to the network of hotlines operated through the 116 000 number.
When a child goes missing, it puts them at serious risk of harm, exploitation, sleeping rough and stealing or begging to survive. For those who loved and cared for these children, all they are left with is anxiety, grief and memories. That’s when the network of hotlines steps in, providing missing children and their families with emotional, psychological, social and legal support at a time when they need it most. With the percentage of runaways increasing yearly, the hotline’s role has never been more important in preventing and supporting this vulnerable often unheard group of children.
On June 6th, Missing Children Europe will host an event at the European Parliament with MEP Julie Ward to better understand trends related to runaways and other groups of missing children through the data collected annually by Missing Children Europe though the 116 000 hotline network; to learn about concrete, local initiatives in support of runaways from various countries and to set in motion a coordinated action involving relevant actors and stakeholders.
On the same day, Missing Children Europe will be constructing a large-scale installation to show what’s left behind when a child runs away, and to highlight the important work done by the hotline in supporting those in this difficult situation. To raise awareness of the European hotline number for missing children available in all EU Member States through the 116 000 number, Missing Children Europe will organise a stunt in front of the European Parliament for the occasion.
We are asking for donations of children’s clothes, toys and books that will be used to trace out the 116 000 number in front of the European Parliament. All proceeds will then be donated to charity after the event. Donations can be sent to Missing Children Europe, 5th floor, Mundo J. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for helping us bring children to safety!