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Early warning system for missing & abducted children: Seán Kelly MEP calls for EU-wide Amber Alert

Published: Wed, 06 November 2013

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“Each year one million children go missing across the EU. Every minute a child is missing is a vital minute in the race against time to safely locate and return the child to its parents or guardians. It is essential that we have an effective early warning system in place like the Amber Alert initiative, so the authorities can resolve these cases quickly,” Sean Kelly MEP said today, in support of the Amber Alert early warning system for missing children.

“AMBER Alert Europe is the pan-European Child Alert initiative, aiming to save the lives of children who are abducted or go missing, launched in March of this year. It emerged in response to a real need in Europe for an alert system due to the numbers of child abduction or missing children cases each year.

“It follows the success of the Amber Alert system in America due to which over 650 children have been found alive,” Mr Kelly continued.

AMBER Alert Europe provides a free-of-charge child alert system to all EU member states that do not have a child alert mechanism (also called an AMBER Alert). IT specialists and police specialists in missing persons also provide best practices and support for child alerts to EU member states. It links all existing child alert systems in the EU, both technically and procedurally, for easy and quick cross-border alerting.

“Ireland launched the Child Rescue Ireland (CRI) Alert in 2012, which is triggered if Gardaí believe a child has been abducted and that there is an immediate and serious risk to his/her health or welfare,” the MEP continued.

“We need such alerts across Europe due to the Single Market and free movement of people across European borders.

“Since its inception, there have been notable successes under the Amber Alert. In June of this year, a four year old boy was returned to his parents safely in the Netherlands thanks to the alert system. In December 2012, a two day old baby abducted from a French hospital was found and a woman was held on suspicion of kidnapping.”

Mr Kelly will raise the importance of the Amber Alert system in the European Parliament later this month and will call on all Member States to ensure it is fully implemented and effectively coordinated to save missing children.

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