October 20, 2013 - When a child goes missing at a public facility in Korea, an alarm goes off, the entrances and exits are closed for ten minutes, the child's description is broadcast to the employees and public and then everyone concentrates on locating the child. If the child is not located within 10 minutes, the information on the missing child is reported to police.
A taskforce comprised of police officers and officials from related ministries has utilized the 'Code Adam' system for theme parks, department stores, discount outlets and parks. As well, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security has expanded the personal registration system for all children under the age of 14, the mentally challenged, and the elderly. Parents can register their children's photos, fingerprints and personal information where it will be stored in a database. Several municipalities launched pilot programs and the government has decided to expand it to six metropolitan cities nationwide.
According to the National Police Agency in 2011 there were 11,425 reports of missing children under the age of 14 and 99.5% were returned home leaving 61 children still missing. There were 7,377 reports of disabled people that went missing and 98.8% were located leaving 86 that are still missing.
The Korean Government selected a model program called 'Code Adam', (E-mart system) to react to children that go missing. This system was named after Adam Walsh (pictured left), a six-year-old boy who was abducted from a Sears Department Store in Florida and later found murdered. The 'Code Adam' system began in 1984 and has been utilized by more than 550 companies and 52,000 discount stores in Canada and the United States.
Companies that implement this program place a Code Adam decal at the front entrance of their business. Employees are trained to perform the following six steps according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:
- If a visitor reports a child is missing, a detailed description of the child is obtained.
- All exterior entrances and exits to the building are locked and monitored and anyone that approaches a door is turned away.
- An employee goes to the nearest in-house telephone and pages 'Code Adam', describing the child’s physical features and clothing. As designated employees monitor the front entrances, other employees begin looking for the child.
- If the child is not found within 10 minutes, law enforcement is called.
- If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, the child is reunited with the searching family member.
- If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, reasonable efforts to delay their departure will be used without putting the child, staff or visitors at risk.
- Law enforcement is notified and given details about the person accompanying the child.
- The 'Code Adam' alert is then canceled after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.
Developed by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection 'MissingKidsAlert' is a national public notification service that enhances the ability of law enforcement agencies to locate missing children by allowing Canadians to receive missing child alerts quickly through electronic platforms including Twitter, Facebook, email and fax.
MissingKids.ca offers families support in finding their missing child and provides educational materials to help prevent children from going missing.
Launched in May 2012, the MissingKidsALERT service uses an innovative system to facilitate the rapid and targeted distribution of critical information in a missing child case, allowing the public to serve as the eyes and ears for searching families and police. The more people that view the information, the greater the chance the child will be located in a timely manner.
The MissingKidsALERT service provides:
- Information on a broad spectrum of missing child cases where public notification and assistance has been deemed valuable.
- Notification to establishments, organizations and businesses in the event of a missing child in their region.
- The Utilization of new and evolving technologies to engage the Canadian public in the search for a missing child.
- Targeted and precise notification service, coordinated by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
- A complimentary service to the provincial AMBER Alert system. While the MissingKidsALERT does not replace AMBER Alert, it can be used in conjunction with those cases that meet the AMBER Alert criteria and as well, used in cases, which fall outside of the AMBER Alert protocol.
'MissingKidsAlert' was launched by The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
Statistics on Missing Children in the United States:
- Every year in the United States an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing which is the equivalent of more than 2,000 every day. Over 200,000 children are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members of which the primary motive is sexual.
- Ever year 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions where they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, held for ransom, or taken with the abductor's intent to keep.
- An analysis of attempted abduction cases by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) found that in 84% of the cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions.
- Since 1983, May 25th has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day and serves as an annual reminder of the thousands of children that are still missing and therefore it is imperative to make child protection a national priority.