AMBER Alert International – Summer 2018
Short News Clips on AMBER Alert & Child Protection Issues
Peru announces AMBER Alert system
Peru has launched an AMBER Alert system to help find missing and abducted children immediately after police are notified of their disappearance. Under the previous law, police had to wait 24 hours before they began looking for a missing child. Peru Minister Board President César Villanueva said he will also increase the number of emergency centers from 50 to 225 to better assist victims of sexual or gender-crimes. He is also increasing the number of municipal departments for children and teenagers. “One of our government’s main priorities is the protection of women and children against all types of violence,” stated Villanueva. “We cannot accept that this type of violence is still being tolerated by our society and by our public organizations.”
Lithuania launches national AMBER Alert system
Lithuania is the first Nordic country and the 19th member of the European Union to implement an AMBER Alert system. Lithuania began the abducted child alert system on March 14, 2018, to help recover missing and abducted children. The program alerts law enforcement and sends photos and information about the missing child to all Facebook users within 200 kilometers from where the child was last located. Belgium, Cyprus, The Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom already have a national child alert system in place. Bulgaria also launched its national AMBER Alert program earlier this year.
Canada tests emergency alert system that sends messages to all cell phones, allows drivers to legally check them
Canada tested its new emergency alert system on May 14, 2014. The system sends messages, including AMBER Alerts, to all cell phones in the country. The Alert Ready system is similar to the U.S. Wireless Emergency Alert system. Testing identified a glitch of sorts, as some people thought an actual AMBER Alert had been issued and some areas did not receive an alert sound. “The review ultimately determined there was a gap created during a recent server migration,” said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. Annie Linetau. “The test allowed us to identify a few issues, correct them, as well as implement a back-up system.”
While holding a cell phone when driving is illegal in most parts of Canada, the law does recognize the new Alert Ready system, allowing drivers to use their cell phones when alerts are issued. Most provincial laws currently allow drivers to use their cell phones to contact emergency services or to learn about an emergency in the driver’s vicinity.
Canadian police add new tool to find missing persons
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) marked its 2018 National Missing Children’s Day by unveiling a new national DNA program to help find missing persons and identify human remains. The RMPC National DNA Databank collects samples from missing persons and unidentified human remains to determine if there is a match to a convicted offender or crime scene DNA.
Europe kicks off campaign for 2018 International Missing Children’s Day
AMBER Alert Europe launched an educational campaign on Missing Children’s Day, May 25, 2018, to teach children how to protect themselves when they are lost or abducted. The campaign included a coloring book that helps children learn how to get from home to school and back safely. An animated video was also made available to instruct parents what to do if their child is missing. The prevention campaign was shared by police in Slovenia, France, Slovakia, The United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland and The Czech Republic.
Spain joins the European AMBER Alert program
Spain officially became part of the AMBER Alert Europe system on April 25, 2018. Police in that country hope membership will help improve the ability to find missing and abducted children. Police send alerts by text messages, email and message boards throughout Spain with information and pictures of missing children believed to be in imminent danger.
Europe creates fingerprint database to protect migrant children from abduction
AMBER Alert Europe is now gathering fingerprints of migrant children coming to the European Union to safeguard them from becoming victims of human trafficking, as smugglers are increasingly targeting young children. The Eurodac is a biometric database that maintains fingerprint data for children as young as age six. During the procedure, an adult representative or guardian must be present to help the child feel comfortable and to make sure the child’s rights are respected.