In May 2022, Polish member ITAKA Foundation received a report about a Polish missing teenage couple. This was not the first time Anna, 14 years old, and Tomek, 16 years old, had gone missing together. It was likely that, this time, the pair had gone to Rome, and their phones had remained inactive since the start of the trip. 

With permission of the parents and law enforcement, ITAKA Foundation, started search activities, issuing a publicity appeal in Poland. and reached out to Missing Children Europe so the publicity appeal could be published  in Italy as well. During the search, the organisation cooperated closely with  Italian member Telefono Azzurro as well as the police in both countries.  

The fact that cost of the journey from Poland to Rome had cost around 12,000 PLN, while neither Anna nor Tomek had access to that amount of money, was an issue of great concern. The fare had been paid in cash in advance, and while in Italy, the teenagers used an unknown person’s phone to arrange rides through an app. 

Despite these concerns, after two weeks of searching,  the missing couple were found in Rome and returned safely to their parents. 

*The young person’s names have been changed for protection purposes 

About Missing Children Europe

Missing Children Europe represents 32 Non-Governmental Organisations active in 27 countries across Europe for the prevention, protection and support of missing and sexually exploited children and their families. We provide the link between research, policies, and organisations on the ground to protect children from any form of violence, abuse, or neglect that is caused by or results from them going missing. Missing Children Europe coordinates the network of 116000 hotlines for missing children, and the network of cross border family mediators and facilitates coordination of cases that involve cross-border issues, ensuring that vulnerable children receive the help they need no matter where they are in Europe. 


About ITAKA Foundation

ITAKA Foundation was established in 1999. It is the only organization in Poland to provide comprehensive support and help in a situation where somebody goes missing. ITAKA Foundation helps look for the missing people and offers support to their families. It consists of a group of people united by common values: concern for other people’s well-being and safety, respect for human and citizen rights and respect for people’s right of self-determination.


About Telefono Azzurro

Telefono Azzurro is an association created to be able to listen to children’s requests for help, a concrete response to the “right to listen” recognized to the child by the International Convention on the Rights of the Child signed by the United Nations. Today Telefono Azzurro is helplines and intervention lines, by telephone and online (mobile, web, chat, app, social network), emergency interventions in the event of calamities and disasters, projects for children of prisoners, projects in the area and prevention through education and awareness in schools, towards adults and towards those who decide.