International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) is annually observed across the globe on May 25 to commemorate missing children and generate awareness about the kidnappings of children.
- The day is widely referred to with a forget-me-not flower as its emblem.
i. IMCD was initiated in 1983 by then-USA (United States of America) President Ronald Reagan as National Missing Children’s Day.
ii. The International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), Missing Children Europe and the European Commission formally recognised May 25 of every year as International Missing Children’s Day.
iii. The 1st ever International Missing Children’s Day was formally recognised on 25th May 2001.
Why May 25?
The date marks the disappearance of a 6-year-old boy Etan Patz on 25th May 1979, who was kidnapped on his way to school in New York City, USA.
- Etan Patz was one of the first children to be profiled in the “Photo on a milk carton” campaigns of the early 1980s.
i. On the eve of International Missing Children’s Day, Child Rights and You (CRY), an Indian non-governmental organization (NGO), released a booklet based on the post-rescue lives of missing children on 24th May 2023.
- The booklet named “Missing Childhoods” includes case stories of survivors from 4 states of North India, including Madhya Pradesh.
- The booklet is a first-of-its-kind documentation which highlights the stigma of child victimisation.
ii. According to the data from CRY, Madhya Pradesh (MP) reported the highest number of missing children (11607) among all states in India in the year 2021, which means that every day, 31 kids went missing in MP in 2021.
Indian Laws Against Child Abduction:
i. On 30th March 2009, the Law Commission of India presented the 218th Report titled “Need to Consent to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980”.
ii. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) has been implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, namely the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) since 2009.
iii. National Informatics Centre (NIC) developed the TrackChild Portal, designed and developed sticking to the guidelines provided in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Model Rules 2007.