The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), in partnership with Google's YouTube, and The Find Madeleine Campaign today announced the creation of a new initiative that will provide worldwide exposure to information and videos of missing children. A new YouTube Missing Children's Channel, Don't You Forget About Me, has been created exclusively for posting videos of missing children. The new channel will be operational today.
Case information and videos of missing children will first be submitted to ICMEC for review and verification before posting on the new channel. ICMEC will work with analysts at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), local and national law enforcement on U.S. cases, and with Interpol on international cases to confirm it is an open case and verify the details of the case and video. After the case information has been certified, it will be forwarded to YouTube for posting. Anyone with information about a missing child featured on the Web site will be directed to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.
"Every year hundreds of thousands of children go missing around the world and some are abducted to other countries, creating unique challenges for law enforcement and family members searching for them," said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of ICMEC. "In the U.S. alone, nearly 800,000 children are missing each year or about 2,000 each day. Photos remain the single most effective tool for finding a missing child. This new resource will provide unprecedented exposure for missing children, reaching potentially millions of viewers every day and increasing the opportunity that someone has seen them."
The timing of the announcement coincides with the 100th day since Madeleine McCann went missing. Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007 while on a family vacation in Portugal. This past June, Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, sought ICMEC's assistance to create an international resource that would quickly disseminate pictures of missing children throughout the world. Gerry McCann recently visited the headquarters of NCMEC and ICMEC in Virginia where he and Allen discussed the need for disseminating information and images of missing children on a broader, global basis.
"Kate and I are really enthusiastic about this powerful new resource," said McCann. "We believe it will help in the search for Madeleine and many other children. We are grateful to ICMEC for its leadership on behalf of our child and so many others."
YouTube's popularity and global reach made it a natural choice as a partner in this project. The channel's headline banner, "Don't You Forget About Me," is named after the hit song by the Scottish rock group "Simple Minds."
In addition to information and videos of missing children, the channel will include child safety and educational materials in several languages as well as Public Service Announcements and messages from dignitaries, celebrities and others including First Lady Laura Bush and soccer star David Beckham.