2020 has been an exceptional one to say the least. The limitations and hurdles the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, compelled us to rethink our priorities and reinvent ourselves in every possible way. In-person meetings and events, shifted to the online realm, as did everyday activities and campaigns. Together with its network, AMBER Alert Europe has taken on new challenges in an effort to save more missing children in Europe. Frank Hoen, Chairman and Founder of AMBER Alert Europe, presents the Annual Report 2020 and elaborates on how the foundation has worked towards #ZeroMissingKids the past year.

Common European Approach on Missing Children – Missing Persons
Every year, 600.000 people go missing in Europe. Half of whom are children. Even though these numbers are staggering, missing is still ‘missing’ on the EU agenda. We want to change this. Together with the Police Expert Network on Missing Persons, we have devised the Common European Approach on Missing Children and Missing Persons (CEA), a European-wide strategy supported by 4 pillars, that will help prevent children from going missing and ensure that appropriate action is taken if a child does go missing.

Preventing children from becoming victims of online grooming
The COVID-19 pandemic has also shed a light on other pressing issues. Cybercrime against children, such as online grooming, increased tremendously during the COVID-19 pandemic. To fight this issue, we launched a campaign against online grooming in cooperation with Europol, national police forces, and NGOs in the field of missing children and children’s rights. The #DontBeAnEasyCatch campaign was met with wide support in 23 countries.

Exponential growth
In 2020, our organisation has also grown exponentially. We have formed new alliances with national police forces in Finland, Greece, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Kosovo, Serbia, North-Macedonia, and Hungary, as well as with NGOs and organisations in the field of child protection in Greece, Albania, Israel, Portugal, and Spain. My gratitude goes out to our partners, new and old, who fight every day to better protect children in Europe. I am personally looking forward to joining forces in 2021 and beyond.

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