On November 15, Missing Children Europe celebrated its 20th anniversary with a High-level dinner at the Palace of Charles de Lorraine in Brussels. During the ceremony, the organization honored Her Majesty Queen Paola of Belgium, Honorary President of Missing Children Europe’s Patrons’ Council, for her outstanding devotion and support to the cause of missing children, raising public awareness of the cause on important occasions.
Twenty years have passed, and many children have been brought home or saved from situations of abuse. Since the launch of the 116000 number in 2007, hotline operators across Europe have answered over 2 million calls and supported more than 70 thousand cases of missing children.
But the work is never done. The war on Ukraine and the expansion of the internet with both its opportunities and risks of harm for children are just two of the more recent challenges that need tackling. Missing Children Europe aspires to continue its work to better protect and empower children through research, training, advocacy, and awareness raising.
“We are proud to dedicate Missing Children Europe’s 20th Anniversary to the Ukrainian children who are being forcibly displaced to Russia. Amnesty International is calling these disappearances a war crime. We appeal to the European institutions to advocate for their safe return.” – said on this occasion Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, President of Missing Children Europe.
The celebration of the 20th anniversary of work was also attended by member organizations of the MČE network, among them ASTRA, which has been running the European number for missing children in Serbia since 2012.