Child Sexual Abuse

When a child goes missing, this can be a red flag for abuse. Violence, conflict and abuse are key underlying causes of children running away from home, care, or reception centres. Grooming for sexual or criminal exploitation is a growing problem, particularly online, and is increasingly leading to child disappearances. To prevent children from going missing, all forms of sexual abuse and grooming, online and offline, need to be better detected, reported, and prosecuted. All actors including private entities such as payment and internet service providers need to be involved in this effort. Abuse and exploitation can also follow when a child goes missing (particularly in the case of runaways and missing children in migration). Europol has worrying intelligence that trafficking networks are increasingly taken advantage of children going missing in migration to exploit them

We are a member of the Lanzarote Committee, monitoring implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on The Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual abuse, and of the European Financial Coalition.

Facts & Figures

No 1

Violence, conflict or abuse is cited as the No1 reason for children to leave home, care or reception centres.


In 2019 instances of online grooming tripled compared to the year before.

1 in 6

runaways is attacked physically or sexually while running away.


CESAGRAM - Towards a Comprehensive European Strategy Against tech-facilitated Grooming and Missing

Online child sexual abuse is a growing phenomenon. The consequences of online child sexual abuse on young people are severe. Some of Missing Children Europe’s hotlines have raised concerns about grooming being an increasing factor in disappearances, particularly runaways.

CESAGRAM aims to address this problem by advancing the knowledge base and enhancing the understanding of the link between children who go missing and online grooming for sexual purposes.

Learn more
European Financial Coalition (EFC)

We led the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online, bringing together law enforcement, the private sector and civil society to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. In 2016 Europol’s C3 unit took over coordination.

Together against sexual exploitation of children

Jointly run by Missing Children Europe, ECPAT International and eNACSO. This project focused on identifying the manner in the EU Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography had been transposed by EU Member States.


EU fails to uphold protection of children from sexual abuse online through technology – News


Child online exploitation: How to protect children and young people who experience online grooming – Webinar

Together against sexual exploitation webinar presentations – Download resources here 

Contact person

Theresa Ryan-Rouger
Senior Project Officer for Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
Contact us

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