ASTRA as an organization that has been running the European Missing Children Number in Serbia since 2012, marked the International Missing Children Day with a performance for children at the Kalemegdan Park, Belgrade, on Sunday, May 24.
While boys and girls were having fun watching children choirs of the Children Cultural Centre and the Dance Factory, boys band “Pakleni Ribnikari” and a puppet play by ZIT Theatre, their parents had an opportunity to talk with the representatives of ASTRA about what ASTRA does with regard to missing children reports, about prevention and how the 116000 hotline number works.
|International Missing Children Day is marked globally on May 25 in memory of a six-year old boy Etan Patz who disappeared in New York in 1979. After Etan’s disappearance, US president Ronald Regan established the International Missing Children Day, symbolized by the sentence “forget-me-not”.|
ASTRA’s basic activity when receiving a missing children report is to provide support to child’s parents/guardians and the police, as well as to inform and alarm the public so that the child can be found as quickly and safely as possible. By calling the 116000 number, parents/guardians can get information what to do if their child disappear, whom to contact, what documents to collect etc. This SOS helpline is free of charge and available 24/7.
With regard to statistical data obtained based on calls received to the 116000 line, it can be said that the majority of missing children calls refer to runaways, followed by parental abductions and abductions by third parties, i.e. criminal abductions. This helpline in Serbia has been recognized by the parents who suspect that their babies had been stolen from maternity wards in the period since the Second World war until today.
With this event we wanted to inform not only parents, but also all citizens who may give their contribution to efficient search for missing children by following photos and news on missing children on our Facebook page and our website, and report any knowledge they have that may help in finding a child and safely returning it to the family. Further, an initiative to introduce the child abduction alert system – in Serbia named Tijana Alert – is underway.