EU Child abduction alert system to be adopted in the UK
In 2006 from the European Commission on «Children - Violence against children»
Within the framework of the protection of children, the Commission adopted a Communication on 4 July 2006 entitled “Towards an EU strategy on the Rights of the Child". It aims at establishing a comprehensive EU strategy to promote and safeguard the rights of the child in the European Union's policies and to support Member States' efforts in this field.
The Communication, whose main goal is to underpin the existing legal structure, follows on from other measures taken in the area of violence against children, such as combating trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of children, child sex tourism, child pornography, and civil society's contribution to finding missing or sexually exploited children.
Measures listed in the communication that have already been taken in this area include the "116000" hotline phone number for missing children and reflections on how to implement an alert system for missing children throughout Europe, such as the “Child Alert” system recently launched in several European countries, with has been a resounding success .
From the European Commission Press Release system, on 25 May 2009
On International Missing Children's Day, organised by Missing Children Europe, Mr Barrot took part in launching a high-profile publicity campaign for the 116 000 hotline. He expressed the Commission's encouragement for the initiative and its willingness to continue working closely with associations active in the field of protecting children's rights. He expressed his personal commitment to encouraging the adoption in each Member State of an "abduction alert" type of system, which could save lives. He regretted that the 116 000 hotline to social support services for missing children and their families was only operational in five Member States and found the delay difficult to explain. In his view, it showed the importance of resolute action to ensure that the EU's instruments produced practical results on the ground.
On the same occasion, the President of Missing Children Europe, Sir Francis Jacobs, said: "While establishing one and the same telephone number for missing children across the EU sounded quite ambitious and farfetched at first, it is now becoming a tangible reality. With the launch of the campaign in 10 EU Member States, we look forward to reaching out to many children and parents across the EU, through the immediate support granted by our member organizations operating a 116 000 hotline at national level. Every member of society is encouraged to call the number immediately if they know or even suspect that a child is missing or abducted."
To show solidarity with all parents and missing children, Mr Barrot asked European Commission staff to express their support for families affected by a disappearance by wearing a forget-me-not: missing children must not be forgotten.
A Commission Decision of 2007 requires the EU countries to make the number available but does not require them to assign it to a service provider or operate these services. This calls for a firm commitment on the part of the national authorities. The Commission has repeatedly urged the Member States to make this number operational as soon as possible. So far this has been the case in five Member States: Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.
As of today, 25 May 2009 - according to information received by the national organisations concerned - the number is also operational in France, Belgium, Poland, Italy and Slovakia. This headway is undoubtedly due to the awareness-raising campaign conducted throughout 2008 as part of a Commission-funded project under the Daphne III Programme which was designed to encourage the EU countries where the number is not yet in use to assign and operate the 116 000 hotline.
"Child abduction alert" system
The Commission has adopted a working paper on best practices for launching a cross-border child abduction alert, which was welcomed by the JHA Council on 27 and 28 November 2008. It has published a call for proposals totalling €1 million as support for the Member States that have not yet adopted a "Child Alert" type of system.
Combating trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography
In March this year the Commission adopted two proposals containing new rules to step up the fight against trafficking in human beings, the sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. These new proposals will guarantee greater assistance for victims and harsher measures against the criminals responsible for the sexual exploitation of children and trafficking.
As of 29 June 2009 the EU Child Alert System was implemented in Portugal, as reported in this blog entry :«Portuguese Child Alert System in Action»
As of today, Portugal has a child abduction alert system that will allow to gather, immediately after the crime, elements that can help quickly locate an abducted child.
A protocol that will be signed today at the Polícia Judiciária Superior School in Loures will associate several tens of public and private entities, including Lusa agency, which are apt to broadcast the message of abduction alert, with the judiciary and police authorities.
The creation of the national child abduction alert system follows the proposal that was presented during the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union at the Justice and Home Affairs Council informal meeting, which took place in Lisbon, where Portugal proposed the creation of a Europe-wide mechanism.
Today the UK News Agency Press Association reports:
Kidnap alert system to be unveiled
Police will unveil a new nationwide alert system for enlisting the public to help them rescue abducted children next month.
Officials have been working behind the scenes for months to iron out bureaucratic hurdles to broadcasting sensitive information.
Kate and Gerry McCann have campaigned for such a system to be introduced since their daughter Madeleine disappeared in Portugal in May 2007. They emphasised how the first hours after an abduction are crucial and that an alert would spread information more quickly.
The new network, comparable to the amber alert system in the United States, will be compatible with other European countries for the first time.
As a result a continent-wide alert could be issued in circumstances where youngsters may be taken across national borders.
Although some 100,000 children are reported missing to police each year, senior officers expect the national alert to be used extremely rarely.
The upgraded child rescue alert system will use new computer software to handle the anticipated deluge of calls from concerned members of the public.
Similar alerts in France provoked 600 calls within the first three hours, leaving investigators struggling to prioritise information.
Regional and national television and radio stations will broadcast messages, in some cases interrupting scheduled programmes. Those behind the system also hope to eventually use internet and text messaging as well as motorway information signs.
The system is being co-ordinated by the National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) and any national abduction will be led by Greater Manchester Police.
Related: British Media: How lies are spun, grown and perpetuated «Again the British newspapers keep perpetuating the myth - the McCanns did not have the idea nor did they campaign for the EU Wide Child Alert System, at best they opportunistically obfuscated the real protagonists of the EU Child Alert System: Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini, who was the among the first ones promoting this project, along with Ludmilla Putin, Margarida Sousa Uva Barroso - link to an article of 2005, Laura Bush, and a few European Union MEP's.»