Ukrainian girl who vanished at start of war is one of thousands now missing
On March 3, 2022, 15-year-old Arina Yatsiuk and her family were trying to evacuate from Ukraine when Russian troops killed her parents and yanked her from their car. Now, the Ukrainian teen is the face of an alarming fallout from Russia’s invasion: She’s among thousands of Ukrainian children who have vanished. Ukrainian officials believe Russia has forcibly deported children and is attempting to “Russify” them. (And Ukraine’s Children’s Rights Commissioner reports more than 16,000 known cases of children who have been forcibly deported.) Some of the children are reportedly held in camps to be politically re-educated; others are put in institutions or orphanages, or quickly adopted and given citizenship, even as relatives search for them. Ukraine’s government, which is seeking help from the international community, has secured the return of about 300 children so far. Arina’s relatives remain hopeful. “We all believe she is alive, and we will soon find her,” her aunt said. “We are considering all options, including that she might have been adopted.”
Canadian police credit AMBER Alerts for helping saving children’s lives
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) report that more than 90 percent of AMBER Alerts in Canada’s most populous province have resulted in the safe recovery of the missing child. The OPP has issued 21 Alerts since 2018, an average of about four a year. In noting the effectiveness of the program, the OPP credits the public with being the eyes and ears in the safe recovery of children. They also urge people to be vigilant in checking AMBER Alerts and reporting incidents, even if they may seem insignificant. “Without your help, we might be reporting very different statistics today,” a department official said.
EU wants big-tech accountability in keeping children safe online
Fourteen European organizations have teamed up on a new campaign to help stop online child sex abuse and exploitation. The “Right in Front of Us” (#ChildSafetyOn) initiative aims to spread awareness of and seek support for legislation that would bring accountability to large tech companies such as Meta, Google, and TikTok. Under a new law the European Union is considering, the tech companies would be required to identify, remove, and report any child sexual abuse material on their platforms. “The proposed legislation is necessary and urgent to prevent and combat child sexual exploitation such as grooming,” said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, president of Missing Children Europe. In addition to working with teachers and educators to strengthen the message, the campaign includes a website (childsafetyineurope.com) with videos and a petition supporting the proposed legislation.