According to AMBER Alert Europe, every year over 300,000 children go missing in Europe. Today is International Missing Children's day, a global awareness day that seeks to educate and connect countries and the different agencies involved in finding a missing child and to encourage a united effort in ensuring missing children reports are shared and everything possible is done to keep children safe.
The International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) define a missing child as 'any child under the age of 18 whose whereabouts are unknown... This includes children who have been abducted, abandoned, separated from their parents, or are running away from a home that is not safe.'
At asphaleia, keeping children and young people safe is an essential component of all our services. On this awareness day, we want to highlight the TikTok campaign for young people called the #5stepchallenge. AMBER Alert Europe have created this TikTok challenge that on first glance appears to simply be a 5-step dance to a love song. However, the words subtly describe the five stages of grooming and this will be highlighted across the platform by different organisations and agencies on Tik Tok today.
Highlighting this campaign to young people you know can help alert them to the risks of online grooming. The campaign webpage also gives more information on the five stages of grooming, myths about online grooming, and what to do if you're being groomed.
Empowering children and young people to keep themselves safe is an important part of preventing them from going missing. You can play your part by;
Sharing the campaign and information about online grooming
Looking out for the children and young people you know or work with and contacting your local child protection agencies if you have any concerns
Sharing public announcements about missing children
Considering donating to the organisations who are working to find them