It is our hope at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® that you will never need to know what it is like to have a missing child. However, we also know there is no such thing as too much preparation. Here are some first steps you should take if your child goes missing. For a more comprehensive checklist download our Missing-Child, Emergency-Response, Quick-Reference Guide for Families.
If your child goes missing, immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
Immediately call your local law enforcement agency.
After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).
If your child is missing from home, search through: closets, piles of laundry, in and under beds, inside large appliances, vehicles – including trunks, and anywhere else that a child may crawl or hide.
Notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found when in a store. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place.
Secure your child’s room and personal belongings until law enforcement conducts a search.
Secure any computers and wireless devices used by your child, but do not attempt to conduct a search of these devices on your own. Ask law enforcement to look for clues in any chat and social-networking sites your child has visited or hosts.
Have a photo of and information about your child ready to provide to law enforcement. For a full list of items and descriptive information to provide, visit www.missingkids.com/ChildID.
Restrict access to the home, no matter where your child was last seen, until law enforcement has arrived and had the opportunity to search the home and surrounding area.
Contact the National Runaway Safeline, if your child may have runaway, at 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) or visit www.1800runaway.org for assistance including information about developing communication with your child.
Stay in regular contact with law enforcement, the media, and local government officials during the search for your child.
Notify law enforcement, NCMEC, and other agencies assisting in the search as soon as your child is located.
Truckers use position on America’s roadways to fight trafficking
Lyn Thompson is a co-founder of Truckers Against Trafficking. With more than 30 years as a public relations professional, she uses her speaking, writing and public relations skills to help TAT fulfill its mission and goals.
No one can fight child sex trafficking alone. Effective solutions require multiple efforts along multiple fronts to identify and recover victims and bring offenders to justice.
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children reports that one out of every seven endangered runaways in 2013 was a likely child sex trafficking victim. These child victims often end up travelling and being victimized along the highways of America.
This is why Truckers Against Trafficking, a nonprofit organization, is joining forces with NCMEC to get posters of missing children at high risk for sex trafficking to as many truckers and truck stop operators as possible.
TAT and NCMEC have created the new High-Risk Child Poster Initiative where truckers can sign up for an email Listerv where they will receive geolocated posters of missing children at high risk for child sex trafficking. As of now, this Listserv is only available to truckers and anti-trafficking organizations conducting street outreach and services for survivors of sex trafficking.
TAT started in 2009 to fight human trafficking and, in particular, child sex trafficking. The more than 9 million members of the trucking industry are the eyes and ears of America’s highways, and now tens of thousands of them are educated and equipped to spot and report human trafficking wherever and whenever they see it.
TAT provides education for members of the trucking industry through videos and equips truckers with wallet cards, brochures and other materials. Additionally, TAT works to empower and mobilize the trucking industry. They help build coalitions between members of state and local law enforcement and general managers of travel plazas and truck stops to help them work more effectively together to fight human trafficking.
TAT also works with law enforcement and state transportation agencies to provide TAT training and materials to law enforcement. These agencies interact with truckers at every possible trucking venue in a state, from weigh stations and rest areas to truck stops and CDL renewal locations.
Posters like this are hung by Truckers Against Trafficking at truck stops and travel plazas across the country.
"The TAT material is well done. It doesn’t take a lot of time to train staff, and the information is well put together,” said Chief David Lorenzen of the Office of Motor Vehicle Enforcement at the Iowa Department of Transportation. “We fully embrace the efforts of TAT and will continue to work with them to get the information out to all professional drivers. Working together we can make a difference and curb this criminal activity."
TAT is proud to work with NCMEC to bring posters of these high risk children to the attention of truckers who travel the country and who may see these children and report a tip that could lead to their recovery.
If you are a member of the trucking or transportation industry or an organization that works with survivors of sex trafficking email Melissa Snow, NCMEC’s Child Sex Trafficking Program Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information about High-Risk Child Poster Initiative.
Grandfather turns to Team HOPE when grandson goes missing
Garry Henning’s grandson went missing in 2006 and was found deceased. Since then, Garry has volunteered for Team HOPE. Read about his experience in our ongoing series from volunteers withTeam HOPE, a peer support program for families with missing or sexually exploited children.
Quadrevion Henning was my grandson — the only son of my son Quentin. Quadrevion, who we called Dre, was always a smart kid. He was bright for his age.
Dre had the biggest smile and a loving personality. I wish that everyone would have known him. They would have loved him as much as we did.
Dre was a happy child, surrounded by family.
My son Quentin was in the Army and because of that he and Dre lived in Japan for a while. Usually when Quentin deployed, Dre lived with us.
When Dre came back to live with us we placed him in military school. He said he wanted to be like his dad, his papa, his uncle, his aunties — we all had served our country. He loved the school, after all where could you go and shout at other students and not get in trouble?
Dre was so proud of the school military awards he received. Two were for perfect attendance. Sometimes he would hold the certificates up and say with that shy smile, “Papa, did you and granny ever get one of these?” I was lucky if I went an entire month without missing.
The day Dre and his friend Purvis went missing was the worst day of our lives. The 27-day nightmare did not feel real. There was an overwhelming sense of helplessness, a feeling that this could not be happening. Our baby should have been home with us, with his granny, in his own bed, raiding the refrigerator, making noise with his cousin Eric.
Dre and Purvis’ bodies were found in a pond on April 15, 2006 near where they were last playing basketball.
As a teenager Dre accelled in both school and athletics.
It has been seven years since Dre’s death and sometimes I still see my wife sitting at the window watching for his school bus as she always did. I sit next to her and whisper to her, “Honey the school bus won’t stop in front of our house again.”
But she still sits there for a little while longer.
Our Dre lost his life trying to save his drowning friend. People say he was a hero. We say he was just being Dre.
Support from Team HOPE
When Dre went missing, our home was turned upside down. So many people were there, all times of the day and night. We had no private time for ourselves.
Church groups held prayer services in front of our home. Politicians gave press conferences on our lawn. Police, the FBI and sheriff’s deputies were in and out of the house. When we left our home, news reporters pushed microphones in our faces. There was so much madness.
We kept telling ourselves that they were just trying to help, but we needed someone with a level head.
As I look back, there are things I remember and some I don’t. But I do remember the call from Team HOPE member Colleen as if it was yesterday. That call from Team HOPE was as if an angel had been sent.
We were skeptical at first but Colleen made us feel safe. She understood our plight, but how could this be? So many had been calling and coming by. However she was different. She talked with understanding, talked as if she was in our shoes.
She reminded me to take care of myself, to tell the truth no matter what and to take some time for family. I can’t remember how many times she talked to me. But I do remember at times I would come home and ask, “Had that lady called?” She was my safety net. I needed to hear a voice of reason, not a voice trying to push me in one direction or another.
After this experience with Team HOPE, I also became a volunteer. When I went to my first Team HOPE training I did not know what to expect, but I was embraced with open arms. This was a very special group.
When it came time for me to tell Dre’s story, tears flowed, but this time they were tears of inclusion. The room with strangers not only heard the story, they got it. I knew then I wanted to be part of this. Team Hope became and still is my therapy. Even years later, I consider myself a referral, in need of my Team Hope family.
If your life has been touched by the heartbreak of having a missing or exploited child and you feel you need support contact Team HOPE at 1-866-305-HOPE.