Don’t You Forget About Me

New Global Internet Channel Launched to Find Missing Children
by: Jerry Liao

I am sure most of you who have access to the Internet have visited YouTube or any other video sharing website. You have watched your favorite music video, television show, movie trailers, personal videos and a lot more – most if not all are classified are entertainment videos. But is that all the video we can upload to video sharing website? Can we use these free websites to help do some social works? Like looking for missing children. The short answer – Yes and it’s here and available now.

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 has been created exclusively for posting videos of missing children. The new channel can be found at http://www.youtube.com/DontYouForgetAboutMe.

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 website 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 Gerry McCann, Madeleine’s father. “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, which is owned by Google, is a popular video sharing website and leader in online video. Its popularity and global reach made YouTube 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.

There will be no cost to post a video of a missing child on the new channel. Instructions and criteria for submitting a video can be found on the channel site or http://www.icmec.org. No incomplete or anonymous submissions will be accepted.

The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children is a private, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization. It is the leading agency working on a global basis to combat child abduction and exploitation. It is the sister organization of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

This project can also be duplicated here in the Philippines. Perhaps the Philippine government can join or create a website that will do the same. If videos are not available, then photographs will do. This is just one example, we can also setup a site where people can submit traffic violators, crimes, anomalies, and more – anything that can help improve government do its job. Let technology work for us, and not the other way around.

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