Missing Children

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Fighting Back Against Child Abduction

By LIZ GOFF

The voices on the tape are clear. One voice bears the unmistakable squeaky sound of a prepubescent boy, while the other is clearly that of a grown man.
Based on the raw language, the tone of his voice and his suggestions, it is also clear that the man is a child predator seeking sexual contact with the boy, or any other child he might charm into meeting with him.
The voices caught on the tape engaged in a total of 53 highly sexually explicit Internet chats during a period of seven weeks, police sources said. During their last chat, the man managed to convince the boy to meet with him in a fast food restaurant at a shopping mall in the boy’s suburban neighborhood.
The man hopped on a plane, traveling almost 1,100 miles from Orlando, Florida to meet with the boy. Inside the restaurant, his eyes scanned the crowd, searching for his young prey.

The man approached the youngster with caution. With introductions out of the way, the man put the boy at ease by talking small talk – conversation about taxi rides, skipping school and the man’s job.
Over the French fries, the man asked the boy to accompany him to his motel room, to do the things they had talked about in the Internet chat room where the pair first met.

As the pair stood to leave the restaurant, they were surrounded by fellow “diners”, a team of plainclothes cops who arrested the man. As he watched in anger and disbelief, the “boy” removed his baseball cap and raised his sweatshirt to reveal a detective’s shield.

The man cursed, grunted and shook his head as he realized that the “boy” was not a boy at all, but a female cop, who he had discussed having sex with during the 53 taped Internet conversations. The question is, why did police wait through 53 conversations? Why did they wait until the man arranged for sex with the boy before they arrested him? The answer is simple, frustrating and anger-provoking.

It is not illegal for any person to speak, suggest, or act-out sexual situations with another person over the Internet, even if they believe the other person is a child. Current laws mandate that any such charges would be an infringement of the individual’s right to freedom of speech.

However, it is illegal for an adult to arrange to meet with a person he believes is a minor (under 17 years old), for the purpose of sexual contact. The adult must suggest the sexual contact for the act to be considered a crime, law enforcement sources said. And until legislators act to amend the law, police are forced to track down child sexual predators over the Internet by becoming children themselves, the sources said.

In most cases, predators log on to an Internet chat room to meet youngsters for a number of reasons, including anonymity.

“Remember, the Internet gives these individuals the opportunity and the drive to prey on youngsters without the fear of arrest,” the sources said. “Until they take that final step where they meet with the youngster.
“These are a new generation of superhighway latchkey kids,” law enforcement sources said. “It’s amazing that we can teach kids not to speak to strangers on the street, while too many parents fail to tell their kids to stay away from strangers on the Internet.”

State legislators in 2001 made it more difficult for child predators to reach out and touch their young prey over the Internet.

Lawmakers passed the Sexual Assault Reform Act (SARA), hailed as the first major change in the state’s 1965 penal law defining sex crimes.
SARA amended Megan’s Law to require convicted sex offenders to provide their Internet accounts and screen names for publication on the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

Megan’s Law was named for seven-year-old Megan Kanka, who was abducted, raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her family’s New Jersey home. The law requires recently released child sex offenders to list their name(s), addresses and phone numbers on the state registry within 10 days of parole or probation.

The new provision (SARA), enhances Megan’s Law by expanding the categories of offenders covered by Megan’s Law, to include Internet child predators. Under Megan’s Law, offenders residing in New York state, who committed their crimes in other jurisdictions, must register in the other state as well.

For information on child sex offenders in your neighborhood, or for further information on Megan’s Law, log on to www.meganslaw.com
The recent kidnapping and murder of an eight-year-old Brooklyn boy cast new light on the horrors of child abduction.

Strangers in the United States abduct nearly 5,000 children each year. Almost 400 of these children will never be seen alive again.

Former police officer Bob Stuber took action in 2000 to help safeguard youngsters against child sex offenders who grab children off streets, from playgrounds, schoolyards, shopping malls and other public sites. They are real-life monsters who toss children down stairs, burn and beat them – and toss them away like trash, law enforcement sources said.

Stuber, sponsored by Houston-based Service Corporation International and Dignity Memorial network of funeral homes, established the Escape School, dedicated to providing youngsters, parents, grandparents, guardians (and anyone else), with the means to help prevent child exploitation and abduction.

Escape School trainers are available nationwide, locally through the Thomas M. Quinn & Sons Funeral Home in Astoria. The trainers provide outreach and present Tips for Kids, and Tips for Parents on how to prevent child abduction.

Escape School trainers are also available to present the facts to community groups, schools, parent-teacher associations, civic associations, etc. Law enforcement officials hail the talks as “invaluable” in terms of much-needed guidance and instruction.

The Escape School offers information on preventing child abduction, school violence and kid-safe cyberspace, Stuber said.

Tips for Kids includes a question-answer session with youngsters, telling kids how to prevent abduction, offering the following advice:

When home alone, never tell a caller no one is there with you.

When playing away from home, run away from people who make you nervous.

Remember, no adult should ever ask kids for help with directions, finding a lost pet or other problems.

To escape abduction, you should throw something out of a car, disable the car by pushing a button or a penny into the ignition, when the car stops, push on the accelerator pedal to bump into the car ahead.

Scream, yell, kick, punch and do anything to attract attention from grownups nearby.

Youngsters are also taught to find a phone, dial 911 and say, “Help. I’ve been kidnapped,” then quickly put down the phone – but don’t hang it up.

Stuber advises parents to install pertinent information on their children into their smart phone, or cellphone, including a recent photo of each child.
Keeping this information with you at all times allows parents to provide instant information to law enforcement if a child is kidnapped or abducted, Stuber said.

Stuber offered the following “What to do” advice to help parents teach children how to prevent abduction:
What should your child do if a stranger approaches them on the street and tries to pull them into a car or other vehicle?
Take off running, Stuber said. Run in the opposite direction from the direction of the car. “It makes it harder for the predator to reach the child,” Stuber said. “And by the time the predator catches up to the child, they can be in a crowded area, or near stores where they can seek help.”
What should your child do if they are grabbed off the street and forced into the trunk of a car?
“Kick, scream, bang on the trunk,” Stuber said. “Parents should teach children how to disconnect tail and brake lights. It’s really not hard to do,” he said.
Statistics show there is a 50 percent chance that police on patrol will see the missing lights and stop the driver, law enforcement sources said. “If the vehicle comes to a stop and the child hears voices, teach them to scream at the top of their lungs until someone realizes they are in the trunk.”
What should your child do if a stranger tries to abduct them while they are riding their bicycle?
“Don’t let go of the bike,” Stuber said. “Hold on tight, because it’s too big and bulky to get into a car without being noticed. And it takes too much time,” he said.
“Kick, scream and use the bike as a weapon to get away from the stranger. Use the bike to stop him from overpowering you,” Stuber said.
“Children should be taught to never unlock a door when they are at home alone,” he added. “Tell children to remember – they are safe as long as the predator is outside, while they are on the other side of a locked door. And teach them to call 911 immediately if someone tries to break in.”

 

 

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CEOP - Missing Children Lead

From 1July 2011 the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre will take on the responsibility as lead agent for missing children in the UK.

CEOP will bring together the UK's first team of experts dedicated to searching for missing and abducted children. It is estimated that as many as 100 thousand children go missing in the UK each year.

Part of the role within the new initiative will be the development of expert training for professionals dealing in this difficult area of social work and policing.

There is an expectation that the organisation will take on high profile cases. In May 2011 the Prime Minister pledged support for the ongoing Madeleine McCann investigation and ordered detectives from the Met' to step-up their investigation. In fact, our source tells us that it will be the CEOP's responsibility to review and carry out the McCann Investigation.

Madeleine McCann Went Missing on 3rd May 2007

Madeleine McCann disappeared on the evening of Thursday, 3rd May 2007. She was on holiday with her parents and twin siblings in Portugal. The 4 year old went missing from an apartment, in the central area of the resort of Praia da Luza and has still not been found. Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have said that they left the children unsupervised in a ground floor bedroom while they ate at a restaurant a short distance away. The initial investigation by the Portuguese criminal investigation police, was based on the assumption that Madeleine had probably been abducted. After further investigation, the Police stated that there was a strong hypothesis that she might have died in her room, but could give no evidence to support this. During the investigation there were a number of unconfirmed claimed sightings of Madeleine in Portugal and elsewhere, and additional scientific evidence was obtained. The investigation involved the co-operation of the British and Portuguese police.

Madeleine McCann disappeared on the evening of Thursday, 3 May 2007. She was on holiday with her parents and twin siblings in Portugal. The 4 year old went missing from an apartment, in the central area of the resort of Praia da Luza and has still not been found. Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have said that they left the children unsupervised in a ground floor bedroom while they ate at a restaurant a short distance away. The initial investigation by the Portuguese criminal investigation police, was based on the assumption that Madeleine had probably been abducted. After further investigation, the Police stated that there was a strong hypothesis that she might have died in her room, but could give no evidence to support this. During the investigation there were a number of unconfirmed claimed sightings of Madeleine in Portugal and elsewhere, and additional scientific evidence was obtained. The investigation involved the co-operation of the British and Portuguese police.

On 7th September 2007 the parents were named as suspects, but were allowed to fly back to the United Kingdom. They were subsequently cleared, on 21 July 2008.

If Madeleine is found living with a family and that the parents were unaware of the 'abduction' status of 'their' child it would follow that they could apply to an English court for contact to Madeleine. Obviously if such an application was accepted then a full report would be ordered and the reporting officer, in line with the 1989 Children Act, must take into account the child's wishes. Madeleine could well be saying that she wanted contact.

Four years on there is still no tangible evidence leading to Madeleine’s whereabouts.

If you have any knowledge that may help please contact your local police or you can contact My Child Contact in anonymity here.

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Missing Children UK

      

Name: Madeleine McCann                                  Madeleine has a blemish in her right eye's iris.

Gender: Female

Nationality: British

Date Missing: Thursday 3rd May 2007

The Following pictures show Madeleine as she may be in 2011.

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Ceop to take the lead on services for missing children

By Janaki Mahadevan Wednesday, 25 May 2011

A team of experts from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) is to lead a national response to the issue of missing children, the government has announced.

Peter Davies: 'We will put into the hands of any investigation our collective specialism to reach rapid and effective conclusions'. Image: Ceop

From 1 July a dedicated team from the centre will be tasked with working with police, child protection bodies and non-governmental organisations to ensure suitable arrangements are in place to protect vulnerable children.

Making the announcement on International Missing Children’s Day, crime and security minister James Brokenshire said the group will also provide preventative support through products and training for children and professionals as well as operational support to local police forces.

"Around 230,000 missing children reports are made in the UK every year," he said. "The risks children are exposed to are severe and the harm they suffer can be very serious so it is crucial we can act quickly. Ceop's new responsibility for national missing children's services means they can bring their significant child protection expertise to tackle this important issue."

Ceop will provide support to the police through resources such as the Child Rescue Alert system and the MissingKids website. It will also aim to ensure arrangements are in place to co-ordinate the collective response to complex cases of missing and abducted children.

Peter Davies, chief executive of Ceop, said: "Partnership will be our key theme. We will look to learn, analyse and contribute our expertise to the wider policing community; we will work with children and parents to raise awareness of the risks and the options and we will put into the hands of any investigation our collective specialism to reach rapid and effective conclusions.

"We will also work to ensure the causes of children going missing are understood and addressed after their return."

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of charity Missing People, said Ceop's new role will help ensure the safety of thousands of children.

"We are delighted that Ceop will be joining the frontline of services to help find and protect missing children," he said "Their expertise in safeguarding vulnerable children and extensive work in education will help to ensure the safety of thousands of young people."

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