Missing Children’s Statistics
Robert Gorter, MD, PhD and Gurwant Brar, Msc.
One Missing Child Is One Too Many
The lack of a common definition of “missing child,” and a common response to the issue, results in few reliable statistics on the scope of the problem around the world.
Even with this challenge, it is reliably documented that:
In Australia, an estimated 20,000 children are reported missing every year. (Source: Australian Federal Police, National Coordination Centre).
In Canada, an estimated 45,500 children are reported missing each year. (Source: Government of Canada, Canada’s Missing – 2015 Fast Fact Sheet.
In Germany, an estimated 100,000 children are reported missing each year. (Source: Initiative Vermisste Kinder).
In India, an estimated 96,000 children go missing each year. (Source: Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Missing Children of India).
In Jamaica, an estimated 1,984 children were reporting missing in 2015. (Source: Jamaica’s Office of Children’s Registry).
In Russia, an estimated 45,000 children were reported missing in 2015. (Source: Interview with Pavel Astakhov MIA “Russia Today”, Apr. 4, 2016).
In Spain, an estimated 20,000 children are reported missing every year. (Source: Spain Joins EU Hotline for Missing Children, Sep. 22, 2010).
In the United Kingdom, an estimated 112,900 children are reported missing every year. (Source: National Crime Agency, UK Missing Persons Bureau).
In the United States, an estimated 460,000 children are reported missing every year. (Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation, NCIC).
This, however, is only a snapshot of the problem. In many countries, statistics on missing children are not even available; and, unfortunately, even available statistics may be inaccurate due to: under-reporting/under-recognition; inflation; incorrect database entry of case information; and deletion of records once a case is closed.
The lack of numbers, and the discrepancy in the numbers that do exist, is one of the key reasons why ICMEC developed and advocates for the Model Missing Child Framework, which assists countries with building strong, well-rounded national responses, and facilitates more efficient investigations, management, and resolution of missing children cases.
It is firmly believed that one missing child is one too many, and we are committed to improving the global understanding of and response to missing and abducted children.
(CNN) Here is a look at missing children in the United States. There are several different types of missing children: runaways, family abductions, lost or “thrown away” and non-family abductions. Advances in technology, communications through public alerts and greater cooperation from law enforcement have facilitated the recovery process.
According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Person File, currently, there are 87,438 active missing person records, of which juveniles under the age of 18 or less account for 30,618 (35%) of the records. (as of December 31, 2019)
“AMBER (America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response) Alerts are emergency messages broadcast when a law enforcement agency determines that a child has been abducted and is in imminent danger. The broadcasts include information about the child and the abductor, including physical descriptions as well as information about the abductor’s vehicle – which could lead to the child’s recovery.”
The AMBER Alert system began in 1996 and was named in honor of Amber Hagerman, a 9-year-old who was abducted in Arlington, Texas, sexually and ritually abused and then murdered.
There is no unity in defining “missing child” as (as an example) a runaway child that returns home gets registered as missing”
At the Global Missing Children’s Research Initiative, we define “missing child” as “any person under the age of 18 whose whereabouts are unknown.” However, we also know that children can go missing for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it is important for countries to further define “missing child” by categorizing disappearances according to risk and circumstances. This will assist in the investigative response.
Categories of “missing children” (with “child” being defined as any person younger than 18 years of age) include, but are not limited to:
Endangered Runaway: a child who is away from home without the permission of his or her parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The child may have voluntarily left home for a variety of reasons.
Family Abduction: the taking, retention, or concealment of a child or children by a parent, other family member, custodian, or his or her agent, in derogation of the custody rights, including visitation rights, of another parent or family member.
Non-Family Abduction: the coerced and unauthorized taking of a child by someone other than a family member
Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing: a child who has disappeared under unknown circumstances. Facts are insufficient to determine the cause of a child’s disappearance.
Abandoned or Unaccompanied Minor: a child who is not accompanied by an adult legally responsible for him or her, including those traveling alone without custodial permission, those separated by an emergency, those in a refugee situation, and those who have been abandoned or otherwise left without any adult care.
Approximately 45% to 55% of all disappearing minors disappear without leaving a trace. Here is the strong suspicion of being sacrificed in sexual and blood rituals (Satanistic sacrifice). Of course, these minors (often younger than 5 years of age) leave no traces and their numbers will never be well-estimated and documented.