There are many resources for parents that think their child may have been abducted. Law enforcement will typically do their best to help, the child abduction hotline also has people that will work tirelessly to help you find your missing child. But what exactly is the child abduction hotline? Who are you speaking with when you call it?
There are actually several different child abduction hotlines that you could call, depending on the situation or state that you live in. For instance, if you believe that your child has been abducted and taken to another country it’s likely that you would need to speak with the local District Attorney's office or the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues.
If you don’t believe your child was taken out of the country, but you do still believe that your child was abducted more than likely you’d end up calling the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This center is the comprehensive reporting center for missing and exploited children and is a non-profit organization created by the United States Congress in 1984. Their headquarters is in Virginia, but they have resources all across the country so no matter where you are they would be able to help you.
The first person you should always call if your child goes missing is your local law enforcement agency. They’re going to have the easiest time getting boots on the ground to start searching for your missing child and have the resources to follow any leads they may have. After you speak with them, it’s always advised to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They have the ability to work with both public and private sector authorities to help find your child, as well as coordinate between different departments.
Many people think that you should wait at least 24 hours before reporting someone missing. This is categorically incorrect. In the vast majority of cases, a search or other action must be started within 48 hours. This is crucial to ensuring that your child is returned home to you safely. It’s always recommended to report it immediately if you believe that your child has gone missing. The sooner you do, the sooner and more likely it is that your child will come home.
Most missing children reports happen because of things like the child running away, misunderstanding their family’s plans, or just getting lost. Even knowing that, it’s still recommended to contact law enforcement immediately to be safe. In the event that your child was abducted, it makes it much easier for the police officers to locate the child if they are informed as soon after the disappearance as possible. In many cases, abductions are done by someone you know. The vast majority of abduction cases are actually parents during custody disputes, followed by family acquaintances usually committing another crime at the same time.
They say that it’s better to be safe than sorry, and that especially applies when it comes to your children. Make sure to always report your missing children immediately to give law enforcement a head start on locating them and bringing them home. There are many organizations and people that work together to do their best to ensure your child’s safe return, and in an overwhelming majority of cases, they are able to do just that. The world can be a scary place for everyone, but it is comforting knowing that there are people looking out for you and your family, even in the worst-case scenarios.