Missing Children Europe is the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children
connecting 32 grassroot organisations in 27 countries across Europe. Our mission is to support
professionals to protect and empower children and to prevent them from going missing through
research, training, advocacy, and awareness.
Our vision is that all children should be able to rely on effective and holistic systems of child protection, where all measures are taken to empower and protect them from any situation of harm.
Missing Children Europe’s 2022-2025 strategy focused on five main areas: 116000 hotlines,
runaways, international parental abductions, children in migration and research to help us identify new and under-addressed drivers and consequences for children going missing.
- 116000 European hotlines: Missing Children Europe promotes, supports, and
informally coordinates the European network of hotlines for missing children, which
serves as a vital central contact and coordination point for cross-border cases. These
hotlines provide free and immediate emotional, psychological, social, legal, and
administrative support to children and families 24/7.
- Children who run away: runaways make up the majority (53% in 2020) of missing
children cases. These children face physical and mental health problems and are at risk
of homelessness, sexual and criminal exploitation. Missing Children Europe conducts
comprehensive EU research to assess the root causes and consequences of running
away. Our goal is to raise awareness of running away as a result of and risk factor for
adverse childhood experiences and implement policy change to better protect these
- Parental abductions: these are cases in which a child is taken away to a country other
than their country of normal residence by one of the parents or persons having
parental authority against the will of the other parent or the person with parental
authority. Missing Children Europe advocates for prioritizing mediation over judicial
proceedings, as this approach has shown success in reuniting families. Our
coordination between hotlines is crucial when children abducted by a parent are
taken into different jurisdictions. Effective cross-border communication and cooperation
are necessary to ensure these children are found and reunited with their families.
- Children in migration: almost 50,000 migrant and refugee children are estimated to
have gone missing in Europe between 2014 and 2020. Missing Children Europe’s
children in migration program focuses on reinforcing cross-border cooperation in the
best interest of these children. We call for effective, durable, and child-friendly
European procedures for family reunification, including no detention for asylum-seeking
children and families.
New and under-addressed drivers and consequences of children going missing:
- Missing Children from Ukraine: since the escalation of hostilities in Ukraine, our local member, NGO
Magnolia, has been working tirelessly to provide online assistance to children and families. Every day,
they receive more than 100 requests regarding the search for a missing child and, in 2022, more than
2300 children have been reported missing (as opposed to an average of 300 cases every year in the
previous three years). We have recruited a Ukrainian and Russian-speaking Helpdesk Officer to
support NGO Magnolia with their caseload, to offer Ukrainian and Russian translation for all
Ukrainians phoning the 116000 number across Europe, and to manage cross-border instances of
- Online child sexual abuse: in the area of online child sexual abuse, our focus is on advocacy at the EU level. We organised a coalition of more than 30 organisations in 2020-2021 to support the temporary derogation from certain provisions of the ePrivacy Directive, through joint statements and an online symposium. We created ECLAG, the European CSA Legislative Advocacy Coalition, with ECPAT in early 2022, bringing together more than 75 child rights organisations to campaign for a strong legislation, and we continue to be one of the driving forces.
Any questions? Please contact Mr. Andrea Tedde, Senior Partnership and Fundraising Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org