ICMEC was founded in 1998 and launched by the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and works to identify and coordinate a global network of organisations fighting child sexual exploitation and abduction.
In 1998 the International Centre of Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) launched the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN). The GMCN provides member countries access to a multilingual database featuring photographs of and information about missing children around the globe to help law enforcement agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in recovering missing children.
There are now more than 20 countries forming the Network, working together to help bring missing children home. In addition to the technology, the GMCN offers members various opportunities to share their experiences, practices, investigative techniques/tools and research projects with each other. The GMCN provides technical training for new countries joining the network, as well as training in forensic imaging (age progression) for local investigators.
The GMCN member countries are invited to an annual member conference on current issues and trends in the missing children’s sector which allows them to discuss and share best practices, projects, and initiatives to strengthen policies and strategies on missing children.
The GMCN is comprised of websites that feed into a central multilingual database. The database enables law enforcement and non-government organisations to quickly and easily enter information into the missing children management database which can then be viewed by the public through the individual country sites as well as the GMCN site in hope that someone will recognise and assist in the return of a missing child around the world.
Member countries are trained and given access to a website interface, which allows them to:
- customise their countries’ missing childrens websites,
- access the database to display photographs and information about missing children in their countries, and
- create posters of missing children quickly and easily for public distribution.
ICMEC provides this database and the associated technology free of charge to those whose mission is to protect children from abduction and going missing. There are more than 4,000 missing children featured through this Network today.
International Missing Persons Organisations
New Zealand Police provide a specialist missing persons bureau to assist Police Districts in the investigations of the 16,000 people reported missing each year. The New Zealand Police and Australian Police have strong partnerships through the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA).
NCMEC is based in the United States and aims to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; help find missing children; and assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them.
Missing People UK is the United Kingdom's only charity that works with young runaways, missing and unidentified people, their families and others who care for them.
The National Missing Persons Bureau is part of the UK Police to exchange information connected with the search for missing persons both nationally and internationally. The Bureau focuses on cross matching missing persons with unidentified persons.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation through their Violent Crimes Against Children program investigate non-family child abductions in the United States.
Run by the U.S. Department of Justice, NAMUS is the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System for the United States. It is comprised of three databases:
- The Missing Persons Database contains information about missing persons that can be entered by anyone; however before it appears as a case on NamUs, the information is verified. NamUs provides a user with a variety of resources, including the ability to print missing persons posters and receive free biometric collection and testing assistance. Other resources include links to state clearinghouses, medical examiner and coroner offices, law enforcement agencies, victim assistance groups and pertinent legislation.
- The Unidentified Persons Database contains information entered by medical examiners and coroners. Unidentified persons are people who have died and whose bodies have not been identified. Anyone can search this database using characteristics such as sex, race, distinct body features and even dental information.
- The UnClaimed Persons Database contains information about deceased persons who have been identified by name, but for whom no next of kin or family member has been identified or located to claim the body for burial or other disposition. Only medical examiners and coroners may enter cases in the unclaimed persons database. However, the database is searchable by the public using a missing person's name and year of birth.
When a new missing persons or unidentified decedent case is entered into NamUs, the system automatically performs cross-matching comparisons between the databases, searching for matches or similarities between cases.
The National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is Canada's national centre that assists law enforcement, medical examiners and chief coroners with missing persons and unidentified remains investigations across the country. The NCMPUR incorporates the existing National Missing Children Operations (NMCO).