Child abduction is defined as the unauthorized removal of a child under the age of legal adulthood from the custody of the child’s natural parents or legally appointed guardians. Whether child abduction occurs when a stranger kidnaps a child or whether another family member abducts a child, the facts speak for themselves – child abduction needs to be taken extremely seriously.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) releases several statistics every year. Among them:

In 2014, there were 466,949 missing children under the age of 18 entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center.
According to a 1999 comprehensive national study,

  • Approximately 800,000 children under the age of 18 were reported missing
  • Over 200,000 children were abducted by other family members

As of April 2015, the NCMEC has received over 4,133,068 calls to its hotline since it was created in 1984

In certain cases, child abduction has resulted in finding a child and safely bringing him or her back to his or her parents or guardians. In other cases, child abduction has lead children to very dangerous situations including sex trafficking and child pornography.

The Impact of Technology on Child Abduction

Today, our youth thrives on technology, with most teens and preteens spending many of their waking hours online. The internet has exposed our children to the world of online predators. Many of these online sexual predators are masters at manipulation, luring vulnerable children to their homes or other locales, and thereby abducting them from their families. Profiles and statuses on Facebook and various chat rooms ease the abduction process of sexual predators, as with their manipulative language, they are able to abduct a child by getting the child to come to them.

Child Abduction Initiatives

Today, there are many initiatives in place to help mitigate the risk of child abduction as well as to aid in finding missing children. In the United States, the AMBER Alert program is a child abduction alert system put in place in 1996, which alerts communities of child abductions by notifications distributed via various media. This program has been proven relatively effective; as of April 29, 2015, 767 children have been found as a result. This programs success in the United States has also led to its expansion into other countries. There are also many other resources to help prevent children from abduction such as FBI and other organization guides to internet safety.