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The 2nd meeting of the Team for introducing the Amber Alert system in Serbia

The Team for introducing the Amber Alert system in Serbia was formed at the beginning of the year by order of the Minister of the Interior Affairs, Bratislava Gašić. ASTRA has a memorandum of cooperation with the MoI on missing children cases, and we run the European missing children hotline in Serbia 116000. Bering that all in mind, we approached the MIA and offered to contribute to this process, especially considering our knowledge and insights from a ten-year-long experience managing the number 116000. The Team for the introduction of the Amber Alert system in Serbia consists of representatives of the Criminal Police Directorate (MIA), Sector for International Cooperation, European Affairs and Planning (MIA), Secretariat (MIA), Sector for Analytics, Telecommunications and Information of Technology (MIA), Material and Financial Affairs Sector (MoI), Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Information and Telecommunications, Ministry of Human Rights and Social Dialogue, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Family Care and Demography, Ministry of Internal and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Tourism and Youth, Ministry of Labour, Employment, Veterans and Social Affairs, Center for Missing and Abused Children and Association ASTRA – Anti-trafficking Action.

The second meeting of the Team, held last Friday, March 18, served to define the starting points for introducing the early warning system, which plays a vital role in cases of reporting the disappearance of a minor.

The start of the re-initiative to introduce the Amber Alert system in Serbia coincided with the celebration of 10 years of operation of the 116000 hotline in Serbia. So, ASTRA prepared an illustrative review of experiences, statistics and observations on trends in work on cases of missing children collected by conducting this line. In addition, ASTRA also engaged an independent expert to prepare the analysis of multiple modalities of early warning in cases of missing children.

These two publications were shared with Team members at the second meeting last week:  MISSING CHILDREN SERBIA: European Missing Children Hotline 116000 in Serbia – The First Ten Years of Operation and SYSTEM OF EARLY ALERT in Missing Children Cases.

In this way, ASTRA contributes to understanding the complexity and sensitivity of introducing an early warning system in cases of missing children, finding a focus and making concrete conclusions for further work. In addition to the specifics of practice in Serbia, shown in the 10-year report − the second publication (comparative analysis) brings valuable insights into international experiences from countries that have already introduced the Amber Alert system, as well as experiences of working on related support systems such as the European number for missing children.

At the Team’s second meeting, the representative of ASTRA drew attention to the contents and main findings of the publications. Also, she announced that the publications will be presented to experts and the general public and offered additional support in the form of further consultations with an expert or the ASTRA team engaged on line 116000.

According to the announcements of the head of the Team, Danilo Stevandić, State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the scheduled deadline for finalizing the preparatory actions and introducing the Amber Alert System in Serbia is November 2023.

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