Missing and Exploited Children
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As Americans we tend to feel a little comfortable reading a story of thousands of children kidnapped in China or some other country. The distance between the U.S. and China separates us from the reality that thousands of children are kidnapped right here at home in the United States. The Chinese story reads a thousand children, several as young as eight, have been kidnapped and sold to work as slaves. We are going to read the United States story. The problem of keeping our children safe encouraged Congress to act. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was created by Congress in 1984. NCMEC assisted law enforcement with more than 148,160 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 132,300 children. NCMEC staff includes former, career law enforcement officers with experience at federal, state, and local levels, as well as forensics experts, technologists, analysts, attorneys, and social workers.
In 2007 in the United States there were 44,501,051 children ages 0-10 years. In the 11-17 age group there were 29,400,682 . ( Puzzanchera, C., Sladky, A. and Kang, W. (2008). "Easy Access to Juvenile Populations: 1990-2007." Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.gov/ojstatbb/ezapop/ )
National Estimates of Missing Children
Key findings presented in the NISMART Bulletin National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview include the following:
- The total number of children who were missing from their caretakers in 1999 (i.e., their caretakers did not know their whereabouts and were alarmed for at least an hour while trying to locate them) is estimated to be 1,315,600.
- Nearly all of the caretaker missing children (1,312,800 or 99.8 percent) were returned home alive or located by the time the study data were collected. Only a fraction of a percent (0.2 percent or 2,500) of all caretaker missing children had not returned home or been located, and the vast majority of these were runaways from institutions who had been identified in the survey of juvenile residential facilities.
- The number of missing children who were reported missing in 1999 (i.e., reported to the police or missing children’s agencies in order to locate them) was estimated to be 797,500, which is equivalent to a rate of 11.4 children per 1,000 in the U.S. population.
- Most of the caretaker missing children became missing because they ran away (48 percent) or because of benign misunderstandings or miscommunications about where they should be (28 percent).
- Children who were missing because they became lost or injured accounted for 15 percent of all caretaker missing children.
- Less than one-tenth (9 percent) of caretaker missing children were abducted by family members, and only 3 percent were abducted by nonfamily perpetrators.
Nonfamily Abducted Children
Key findings presented in the NISMART Bulletin Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics include the following:
- During the study year, there were an estimated 115 stereotypical kidnappings, defined as abductions perpetrated by a stranger or slight acquaintance and involving a child who was transported 50 or more miles, detained overnight, held for ransom or with intent to keep the child permanently, or killed.
- In 40 percent of stereotypical kidnappings, the child was killed, and in another 4 percent, the child was not recovered.
- An estimated 58,200 children were victims of nonfamily abduction, defined more broadly to include all nonfamily perpetrators (friends and acquaintances as well as strangers) and crimes involving lesser amounts of forced movement or detention, in addition to the more serious crimes entailed in stereotypical kidnappings.
- Fifty-seven percent of children abducted by a nonfamily perpetrator were missing from caretakers for at least 1 hour, and 21 percent of the abducted children were reported to the police for help in locating the children.
- Teenagers were, by far, the most frequent victims of both stereotypical kidnappings and nonfamily abductions.
- Nearly half of all child victims of stereotypical kidnappings and nonfamily abductions were sexually assaulted by the perpetrator.
Children Abducted by Family Members
Key findings presented in the NISMART Bulletin Children Abducted by Family Members: National Estimates and Characteristics include the following:
- An estimated 203,900 children were victims of a family abduction in 1999. Among these, 117,200 were missing from their caretakers, and, of these, an estimated 56,500 were reported to authorities for assistance in locating the children.
- Forty-three percent of the family abducted children were not considered missing by their caretakers because the caretakers knew the children’s whereabouts or were not alarmed by the circumstances.
- Forty-four percent of family abducted children were younger than age 6.
- Fifty-three percent of family abducted children were abducted by their biological father, and 25 percent were abducted by their biological mother.
- Forty-six percent of family abducted children were gone less than a week, and 21 percent were gone 1 month or more. Six percent had not yet returned at the time of the survey interview.
National Incidence Studies
Approximately every ten years the US Department of Justice conducts a study of missing child cases in the United States. The latest, National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children -- 2003 (NISMART-2), was published in October 2003. Before we continue, let’s take a closer look at the report title. We can understand the missing, abducted and runaway children better than the “thrownaway”. The number of U.S. youth projected to have experienced a runaway/thrownaway episode in 1999 is 1,682,900. An estimated 628,900, or 37 percent of those, were “caretaker missing” children. No more than an anticipated 357,600 youth, or 21 percent of all runaways/ thrownaways, were reported missing to police or to a missing children’s agency for reasons of finding them. Estimated on 17 indicators of damage or impending threat, 1,190,900 of the runaway/thrownaway youth (71 percent) were anticipated to be endangered.
According to NISMART-2 the information on endangered runaways/ thrownaways presents a picture of a huge quantity of youth afflicted from drug problems and physical or sexual abuse. Disturbing numbers of runaways/thrownaways are in the party of violent, sexually exploiting, or drug-abusing travel companion or suffer an actual or attempted assault while away from home. These children are unmistakably among the subgroups of runaways/thrownaways in utmost necessity of assistance—help that goes far beyond simply finding their location and sending them back to their homes. In actuality, for some youth, such as the physically and sexually abused, being sent back to their homes may enlarge rather than alleviate their danger. For this rationale, any law enforcement reply to runaway/thrownaway children should include a strong social service and mental health module that can attend to the child mistreatment, family conflict, substance abuse, and traumatic stress that precipitate and complicate these episodes. Runaways/thrownaways comprise the largest section of children reported missing to authorities. They make up almost half (45 percent) of all children reported missing and significantly minimize the children who are reported missing because of family or nonfamily abduction or who are lost or injured.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2002WWW.USDOJ.GOV Press Release: AMBER - America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response - was created in 1996 as a legacy to 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was kidnapped while riding her bicycle in Arlington, Texas and then brutally murdered. After this heinous crime, Dallas-Fort Worth broadcasters teamed with local police to develop an early warning system to help find abducted children.
From a updated Tuesday, October 14, 2008 http://www.ojp.gov Press Release: 426 Children Safely Recovered Since Program Began. More than 300 AMBER Alert Coordinators from all 50 states, tribal communities, U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, Canada and Mexico met at the conference to receive additional training and discuss ways to improve and enhance the current AMBER Alert Program. The conference highlights Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) and individual state training tracks and sessions geared toward participants working to bring the AMBER Alert program to Native American communities.
The goal of an AMBER Alert is too instantly galvanize the entire community to assist in the search for and safe recovery of the child. Every day review the active list of missing children and broadcast via your social network like Facebook and Twitter, as well as emails. We are so willing to forward noise and spam over the Internet, let us forward something important.
Are Sex Offenders Living Near Your Children?
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Sex offender is a broad label, with sexual predator often being used to describe a more severe physical or repeat sexual offense. An individual may be labeled a "sexual predator" if their crime involves the internet in any way. Each state in the United States defines the term "sex offender". Several U.S. states place restrictions on where convicted sex offenders may live after their release. They are prohibited from living within a designated distance of schools and daycare centers. Sex Offender can live anywhere if they are using the Internet.
The Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice, is a joint endeavor between the jurisdictional agencies hosting public sexual offender registries and the federal government. The Website is a search tool permitting a user to submit a solitary national query to obtain information about sex offenders through a number of search options.
The conditions for searching are restricted to what each individual state may provide. The federal government does not provide the information. The states provide the information. Therefore all results should be verified. Searchers are warned to visit the corresponding state Websites for further information and/or guidance, as appropriate.
“Child Pornography: A Closer Look” By Michelle K. Collins, Director, Exploited Child Unit (NCMEC), Police Chief Magazine March 2007
“Communications: Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Missing Persons Hotline: Harnessing Technology to Reunite Families” By Ben Ermini, Executive Director of Case Management Operations (NCMEC Retired), Police Chief Magazine March 2006
Finkelhor, D., Hotaling, G., and Sedlak, A. 1990. Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children in America. First Report: Numbers and Characteristics National Incidence Studies. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
National Center for Health Statistics (2008). Estimates of the July 1, 2000-July 1, 2007, United States resident population from the Vintage 2007 postcensal series by year, county, age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin. [Released 9/5/2008; Retrieved 9/1/2009]. Prepared under a collaborative arrangement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Available online from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/about/major/dvs/popbridge/popbridge
Puzzanchera, C., Sladky, A. and Kang, W. (2008). "Easy Access to Juvenile Populations: 1990-2007
Sedlak, A.J., and Broadhurst, D.D. 1996. Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect: Final Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Monthly Postcensal Resident Population, by Single Year of Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin (e9899rmp.txt, e9999rmp.txt, and e9900rmp.txt). Web site: www.census.gov/popest/archives/1990s/nat_monthly_resident.html.
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