By now, we’re all well aware of the travesty currently unfolding in Nigeria, with the disappearance of over 300 schoolgirls. The grim reality is that kidnapping happens everywhere and it’s only one of the ways kids go missing. Here in America, May 25 could very well be the saddest days of the year. It’s National Missing Children’s Day. One of the scariest things for a parent anywhere in the world, the thing that makes your heart race frantically, is the notion of—even for a moment—not knowing where your child is. Consider multiplying that feeling by hours or days or even years, and you will get a window into the anguish parents feel when their child disappears.
National Missing Children’s Day has been commemorated since 1983. President Ronald Reagan signed the proclamation with a deeply held conviction that the United States could no longer ignore the problem, or label it as an “issue of underdeveloped nations.” The date was chosen following the abduction of Etan Patz, a young boy who went missing (on May 25) on his way to the school bus. Despite national attention and widespread media coverage, Etan’s body was never recovered. In 2012, however, his abductor finally confessed and is awaiting trial.
So many of the variables surrounding these tragedies are beyond our control. But maybe having a basic awareness, by knowing some of the ways kids go missing, you can be better poised to protect your family.
1. Predators abduct children for child pornography. Since the 1990’s, which brought the advent of the Internet, there’s been an astronomical climb in child pornography. For all the positive benefits of the Internet, this technological advance has also made it easier to produce and access pornography of all kinds—including child porn. Children who innocently schedule a face-to-face meeting with their Internet “friend” then enter a hell they could never imagine.