In 2018, competent law enforcement issued 26 AMBER Alerts for 30 missing children in Europe. In 97 percent of these cases, the children were safely recovered. In the Netherlands, for example, a 6-month-old baby girl was found thanks to a national AMBER Alert. In Luxembourg, a 7-year-old boy was located after the country issued its first AMBER Alert ever.
While many more children go missing in Europe, AMBER Alerts are only used in the most urgent cases. Police issue a national AMBER Alert when they believe a missing or abducted child’s life is in imminent danger and the public can help in the search for the child.
Successful cross-border cases in 2018
In the Netherlands, informing the public resulted in the successful recovery of a 6-month-old baby girl. The infant, who was placed in foster care, was violently taken by her biological parents in February. Because police feared they had crossed the border, the Dutch AMBER Alert was also shared with police and citizens in Belgium and Germany. A vigilant citizen saw the AMBER Alert, which led to the quick recovery of the girl in a German town near the Netherlands. The baby was found in good health.
In July, Luxembourgish police authorities, in turn, issued its first ever AMBER Alert in response to a violent parental abduction of a 7-year-old boy. The child was kidnapped in front of his school by his father, who was considered to be dangerous. The AMBER Alert was shared via media, social media and on billboards and traffic boards nearby Luxembourg’s main highways. Simultaneously, a European arrest warrant was issued against the father of the boy. That same day, Luxembourg police were able to locate father and child in the French city of Villerupt nearby the border. While the child was reunited with his mother, the father was arrested by French police officers and extradited to his home country, where he will face criminal charges.