Every year in America an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members, and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. The primary motive for non-family abductions is sexual. Each year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions, taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the intent to keep.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) wants to remind the public that National Missing Children’s Day is May 25, which coincides with the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend this year. The organization wants parents to know there are things they can do to keep their children safe and it urges parents to take 25 minutes and review the attached safety tips which are a part of NCMEC’s Take 25 national child safety campaign.
“We know teaching children about safety works,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “It is important that parents take the time to talk to their children about safety.”
An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 88% of the cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions, by yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention.
May 25th is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school and has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since 1983 when it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan. Etan’s story captivated the nation. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. The powerful image of Etan has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families. The search for Etan continues. He is still missing.
Next year will be the 25th anniversary of the creation of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. It is the leading nonprofit organization dealing with the issues of missing and exploited children. Since the organization was created, the recovery rate of missing children has increased from 62% in 1990 to 96% today. In 2007, NCMEC assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more missing children than in any other year in the organization’s 24 year history.