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Archive for October, 2007

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There seems to be so much depressing publicity with regard to the Police in Malaysia that I am trying hard to find good news to post on this blog. As I surf, I chanced upon the story of Yang Ji-seung, a nine year old Korean schoolgirl who went missing on 13 March 2007. She was missing over a month and the publicity surrounding her case prompted the Korean Police to initiate the Amber Alert. Alas, the little girl was later found dead. This news posted on the website of the Korean National Police Agency here that puts our own police to shame: 

Korea Adopts AMBER Alert System

The National Police Agency signed an agreement with Seoul City and the Ministry of Construction and Transportation on April 9th to adopt and implement the AMBER Alert system for missing children.

Named after Amber Hagerman, who was abducted and murdered in Texas in 1996, the AMBER Alert system notifies the general public about a missing children by various media outlets such as signboards and mobile phones.

The first Korean case using the system is that of 9-year-old Yang Ji-seung, last seen on Jeju Island on March 16th. Relevant data was posted along some 50 roads and on 3,000 subway signboards nationwide.

The news of the little girl’s disappearance was widely reported by the Korean media including KBS Global here. As I dig further I find this depressing bit of news posted in The Korea Times:

Kidnapped Girl Found Dead

By Bae Ji-sook
Staff Reporter

Yang Ji-seung, the elementary girl reported missing last month on Cheju Island, was found dead Wednesday, Cheju’s Sogwipo Police said Wednesday.The police found Yang’s body double wrapped in vinyl in a trash dump next to a public toilet. The accused murderer is a gardener from near Yang’s house. He allegedly lured the girl to him by asking her to read something for him, saying he was illiterate.

Song, 49, with 20 criminal convictions, said that he strangled her after molesting her because he was afraid he would be punished again. He has already spent time in Cheongsong Correctional Facility, being released in 2004 for an attempted child kidnapping.

“We tried everyway to find the body, but since the toilet smell was so strong, the sniffer dogs weren’t able to track it down,” a police officer said.

Yang was in the third grade of elementary school. She was on her way home from a “hagwon,” a private learning institute, on March 16, when she was abducted. Since then, many of the island’s residents joined in a search for her.

I am a self-confessed addict of Korean dramas and movies, especially those involving my favourites Bae Yong-jun and Choi Ji-woo. With regard to the proposal to do a movie on Nurin’s abduction and murder please read this heartfelt plea written by a English teacher at Wolgye Middle School in Kwangju published in The Korea Times here. Please, don’t ever make a movie about Nurin!:

Where Are You, My Child?

By Choi Tae-hwan

“Where is my daughter? What are you saying? Is my daughter there? No! I thought she followed you down to the parking lot to get a bowling ball. No way! She was not with me on the way to the parking lot. I can’t find her at all. Where is she? Let’s look for her around here and also outside. I’ll go down the main street to check. Why don’t you hurry down to the back parking lot. Go! Go!” My wife and I almost went insane while running around the bowling lounge and near vicinity frantically shouting our daughter’s name, who at the time was only four years old. When I went down the stairs from the second floor, I had not noticed my daughter following me. On the way down the stairs, my daughter couldn’t catch up with me, so in the blink of an eye she went outside to the main street from the opposite side of the parking lot. It seemed to me to take forever to get around the building to the main street until I finally found my daughter sitting in front of a restaurant on the other side of the same building. How can I forget such a terrible five-minute “nightmarish’’ moment of thinking my daughter had gone missing? Nobody can imagine how horrific the experience is for a parent until you actually go through it yourself.

Have you seen the movie, “His Voice?’’ This is a movie offering a reward for the arrest of a kidnapper and murderer based on the real kidnapping and murder case of Lee Hyung-ho, a nine year old boy who was found dead in a sewer after 44 days of threatening phone calls from the kidnapper 15 years ago. “I couldn’t get drunk even if I drink a lot because I’m out of my mind thinking about the kidnapping and murder of my son, Hyung-ho, who is now in heaven. How can I ever forgive his murderer who is now leading his normal life?’’

Have you ever heard of the “Amber Alert?’’ This system was introduced by the government in order to find missing children by spreading information about them and kidnappings through traffic broadcasts, cell phones, electric signboards, radio broadcasting on highways, subways, and in every nook and cranny of the country. It is true that this system, “Amber Alert,’’ was so named after the nine-year old girl Amber Hangerman who was kidnapped and murdered in Texas in 1996. This system has been adopted in 49 states in the U.S. and is said to have helped recover 311 kidnapped children.

“Yang Ji-seung, a 135 cm tall boy with short hair and square glasses, wearing a brown sweatshirt and carrying a blue schoolbag, disappeared in front of his house after getting dropped off by a private piano institute’s bus on March 16, 2007.’’? Being the first such case in Korea occurring with the new Amber Alert system in place, detailed information involving the disappearance of Yang was immediately posted on all types of electric signboards in every corner of the country and on the Internet site of the missing children center, http://www.182.go.kr, as well as on 3,311 signboards at subway stations and 449 along highways. Information regarding missing children is also sent to all cell phones.

Recently, it was known that during 2006, of five children that were kidnapped, four were rescued but one was killed, and during 2005, two children were kidnapped with one killed and one saved. This year it has been reported that there are lots of copycat kidnappings that have occurred after the movie “His Voice’’ was released across the country. (Please click on title for the full story)

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It’s been a busy time for me lately but this news articles on Harian Metro below and Malay Mail here caught my attention. I wonder if this is a copycat or the real killers? Would the killers be so brazen as to be cruising the same area for more victims? I’m not sure what to make of this? It would seem that no child is safe until we get the perpetrators but since that does not seem likely, are they mocking the police? I am so grateful that the mother saw the van and rushed to her son’s rescue. This is giving me the shivers. Does this mean that no child is safe outside the home now?

Why Wangsa Maju? Indeed, if they are working as a gang, they can drag just about anyone into a van? Can this mean Nurin’s killers or any copycat criminals have become so brazen? The fact that it has been so long since Nurin’s body was dumped in the sportsbag and the police have still not caught on to them yet that may be pushing the killers to turn the police investigation into a mockery.

Citizens have to be on the alert! I believe the Police really need us to help them now. If this is the case of copycat criminals, we need to be extra vigilant not only on our children’s safety but also on the neighbourhood children too. Can we get the Rukun Tetangga, Residents Associations, surau and mosque congregation and any neighbourhood watch groups to be on the lookout for strangers in their neighbourhood? This is truly cause for community concern.

We need to get the children alerted on this too. It will be school holidays soon and kids will be roaming the play grounds, going to friends houses and just enjoying their freedom from school and homework. Teach them not to talk to strangers. Get them to tell you as soon as anyone strange approahces them. Tell them to run, scream for help if anyone bothers them and don’t ever be anywhere alone.  Please, whatever happens, the Police must take these reports seriously. Until we get the NURIN Alert system running, the criminals will know that the police can’t catch them fast enough.

Be on the lookout in your own community please! Work with the Police to stop these criminals from harming our children! This is what Nurin Alert is all about – working together as a community to keep children safe! Citizens, be on the alert!

In the meantime, it does not take rocket science for anyone to see that the Nurin Alert does make sense. Just read what UKM Prof. Datin Dr Rohaty Mohd Majzub had to say about the Amber Alert in her Letter to the Editor of New Straits Times here. Thank you professor for that insightful comment. Finally the NST has relented enough to mention the Amber Alert. Better late than never!           

Van putih ekori anak

Oleh Mohd Jamilul Anbia Md Denin
KUALA LUMPUR: Mimpi ngeri kes penculikan dan pembunuhan kejam Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, 8, lebih sebulan lalu, hampir berulang apabila suspek jenayah sama sekali lagi muncul dan cuba menculik seorang kanak-kanak lelaki di lokasi sama Nurin dilaporkan ghaib, Ogos lalu.

Suspek, seorang lelaki dikesan cuba melarikan seorang kanak-kanak lelaki berusia 11 tahun itu selepas berusaha memujuk mangsa mengikutnya di Seksyen 1, Wangsa Maju di sini, tidak jauh dari tempat Nurin dilaporkan hilang.

Bagaimanapun, dia terselamat apabila ibunya yang terlihat kelibat lelaki terbabit dari dapur rumahnya menjerit sekuat hati meminta pertolongan menyebabkan suspek bergegas melarikan diri.

Lebih memeranjatkan apabila suspek dikesan melarikan diri dengan menaiki van putih, iaitu kenderaan model sama yang didakwa pernah digunakan untuk menculik Nurin Jazlin pada malam 20 Ogos lalu.

Ibu mangsa yang hanya mahu dikenali sebagai Hamidah, 48, berkata pada sekitar jam 9 malam Jumaat lalu, anaknya keluar dari rumah untuk menghadiri rumah terbuka Aidilfitri di kawasan kejiranan berhampiran.

Dia yang ditemui wartawan Harian Metro pagi semalam berkata, ketika kejadian anaknya, Haziq, 11, ke kawasan rumah teres berhampiran untuk menghadiri jamuan rumah terbuka anjuran seorang ahli perniagaan.

“Ketika itu, saya sempat memesan kepada Haziq supaya membawa pulang sedikit sate. Haziq kemudian pergi berhari raya sebelum pulang ke rumah melalui kawasan meletak kenderaan bersebelahan flet yang kami diami.

“Sewaktu berjalan berseorangan di kawasan itu, sebuah van putih tiba-tiba muncul berhampirannya. Seorang lelaki tiba-tiba keluar dari van itu sebelum menyapa anak saya,” katanya.

Menurutnya, lelaki terbabit yang berpakaian gelap menegur Haziq dengan pura-pura bertanya mengenai rumah terbuka di kawasan itu.

“Haziq yang cukup berhati-hati dengan orang tidak dikenali segera menjauhkan diri daripada lelaki terbabit sambil berjalan lebih cepat.

“Bagaimanapun, lelaki terbabit tidak putus asa dan terus memanggil dan memujuk Haziq mendekatinya sekejap. Haziq tambah takut apabila lelaki itu terus mengekorinya,” kata Hamidah.

Menurutnya, dia yang ketika itu menunggu kepulangan Haziq dengan memerhatikan dari dapur rumah mula menyedari sesuatu tidak kena apabila lelaki terbabit terus cuba mendekati anaknya.

“Berikutan itu, saya menjerit meminta tolong sambil bergegas mendapatkan anak saya yang menangis ketakutan.

“Pada masa sama saya sempat melihat van terbabit meninggalkan kawasan ini tanpa sempat saya melihatnya dari dekat,” katanya.

Hamidah berkata, kejadian itu menyebabkan anak bongsunya daripada tujuh beradik trauma dan lemah semangat.

“Dia yang mempunyai penyakit jantung berasa takut setiap kali melihat van. Saya bersyukur kerana anak saya terselamat, namun bimbang perkara sama berulang kepada kanak-kanak lain,” katanya yang membuat laporan di Balai Polis Wangsa Maju, sejurus kejadian.

Pada 15 September lalu, seorang lelaki misteri dilaporkan pernah cuba memperdayakan seorang kanak-kanak perempuan berusia 11 tahun menggunakan taktik mirip ‘lelaki kucing’ ketika mangsa berada di pasar malam di Setapak Jaya.

Kanak-kanak terbabit yang dipujuk untuk membantu mencari kucing yang hilang, bagaimanapun enggan mengikut lelaki itu, sebaliknya terus pulang ke rumah menceritakan kejadian itu kepada ibunya.

Kejadian berlaku dua hari sebelum mayat Nurin Jazlin ditemui dalam beg sukan di Petaling Jaya, selepas hampir sebulan dilaporkan hilang ketika ke pasar malam berhampiran rumahnya.

Terdahulu, pada 27 Jun lalu berhampiran Tadika Perpaduan Islam Masjid Jamek Kampung Baru di sini, seorang kanak-kanak perempuan dibawa seorang lelaki yang menggunakan umpan kononnya meminta bantuan mangsa mencari kucingnya yang hilang dan berjanji memberi aiskrim sebagai upah.

Ketika itu, mangsa menunggu ibunya datang menjemput kira-kira jam 11 pagi.

Kanak-kanak itu diculik seorang lelaki bermotosikal dan dibawa ke sebuah rumah tidak diketahui lokasinya sebelum kemaluannya disumbat terung oleh lelaki terbabit manakala kaki dan tangannya diikat dan dikurung dalam rumah itu.

Mangsa ditemui ibunya dalam keadaan lesu serta tidak bermaya 100 meter dari tadika terbabit selepas lima jam mencari di sekitar Kampung Baru.

Pada 3 Julai lalu, seorang kanak-kanak berusia lima tahun pula menjadi mangsa cabul lelaki yang juga menggunakan alasan sama iaitu mencari kucing.

Kanak-kanak perempuan terbabit dilarikan seorang lelaki berjaket hitam, berbaju putih dan berkaca mata ketika bermain bersama sepupunya sebelum ditinggalkan tidak jauh dari rumahnya di Jalan Raja Bot, Chow Kit, kira-kira jam 3.30 petang.

Mangsa yang pada mulanya diajak mencari kucing hilang, turut dikurung dan diikat dalam sebuah bilik dan dibebaskan selepas dicabul.

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I’m going to be really busy these next three days and thought I’d just take a peek at what’s happening in Jasni’s blog. He hinted yesterday that he had a big surprise and Alhamdullilah what a fantastic one it was indeed! He wrote: 

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Nurin Alert on TV3

Nurin Alert was given another breakthrough when airtime was accorded to it via TV3’s Wanita Hari Ini aired live at noon today.Citizens for Nurin Alert, represented by Kamal Ariffin, Nuraina and me, further explained on the Nurin Alert initiative as well as the need for it to be implemented in this country of ours.

After buzzing in the blogsphere for several weeks, a report on it appearing in The Star last Friday, and now a live TV show, it is definitely a development that augurs well for the Nurin Alert project.

Registration of interested volunteers are now pouring in through sos@nurinalert.org and with all the expertise at Nurin Alert’s disposal, the only path for Nurin Alert now in none other than going forward.

Thank you for all the support, let’s make it real.

And bless blogger zaitgha-dayindayout.blogspot.com for posting these screencaps of the Wanita Hari Ini programme on her blog here. Yaaayy Nurin Alert!!! Yaaayy TV3!!! What an uplifting bit of news for my frantic day! I am reposting her screencaps for those who have not seen it yet.

The lovely Nuraina Samad

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Kamal Affandi Hashim 

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Jasni Abdul Jalil

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amber-hagerman200.jpgI’ve been blogging about the Amber Alert but never took a closer look at the little girl who inspired this brilliant system credited with saving the lives of hundreds of missing children. Surfing the web, I find news of how the nation marked the 10th anniversary of her death on 13 January 2006. Her mother recalls here that it took only Eight minutes—eight minutes from the time she rode away on her bicycle until that man called 911. People have to know that this is how fast these things can happen.” for Amber to disappear from view in broad daylight only to be found four days later in a ditch with her throat slit. Her case had capture media headlines with her photos placed on the front page of the local paper the day after her abduction. Her killer was never found, yet the report here says even ten years after her death 15 detectives continue to work the case and remain determined to solve it despite having to followup on 6,100 leads compiled over the years. Investigators still keep reminders of the case close and refuse to call it cold.They commemorated the anniversary of her death in various ways, giving awards to those who played an important role in the safe recovery of a child after an AMBER alert was issued in Florida here. Even the US Attorney-General honoured her memory here and credited the Amber Alert for saving the lives of 241 missing children nationwide ten years since it was first created. He said:

Today we honor the memory of Amber Hagerman, and we are reminded that the death or disappearance of just one child is a price that no parent should have to bear,” said Gonzales. “I am proud that the Department of Justice is part of the effort to build a system that tracks abducted children more quickly and alerts police and citizens as soon as possible. The AMBER Alert program has made a meaningful difference, and for the sake of Amber and every other child who we’ve lost in this manner, we must continue to rededicate ourselves to the safety and support of the most vulnerable in our society.”

The US government even had a postage stamp made to honour the Amber Alert system created by local broadcasters and law enforcement in Texas because of the outrage following Amber’s death. This system has spread to other states and other countries and has continued to change the rest of the world. The city of Arlington, Texas where Amber went missing never forgot her and mourn for her still here

A city in mourning

Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, then the Arlington police spokesman, said the kidnapping devastated the city unlike any other case he’s seen in 25 years.

At the time, WFAA-TV (Channel Eight) had been working on a story about families struggling to get off welfare, and Amber and her mother were two of the subjects. The station provided the police with hours of video that was distributed to other television stations.

While Amber was missing, thousands of viewers watched footage of her blowing out birthday candles, playing with her brother and being tucked into bed.

“In those four days, she became a very real person,” Sheriff Anderson said. “She wasn’t just a photograph they were looking at. … It was almost like she became Arlington’s child.”

Even Sheriff Anderson wasn’t immune to that sense of loss. When Amber was missing, his 5-year-old daughter would climb into his lap and ask: “Did you find her?”

“No, not yet,” he would answer.

Then she asked the question after Amber’s body was found in a creek several miles away.

“I just lost it,” Sheriff Anderson said.

The criminal investigation into Amber’s death continued, but some police officials and broadcasters began talking about what could be done the next time. Through trial and error, they created the Amber Alert using the same system reserved for storm warnings.

“We have a lot of really smart law enforcement people who sat around and never contemplated that,” Sheriff Anderson said. “We live with that frustration every day. If we’d have been smarter, if we’d have been faster, we might have had a different outcome.”

In Arlington, police and other officials who made up the Amber task force once filled an entire command center dedicated to solving the girl’s abduction and murder.

They chased more than 5,000 leads and spent more than $1 million looking for anything that would lead them to the person who committed what they considered a very personal crime.

Leads continue

Even though it’s been 10 years, Amber’s abduction and murder is not considered a cold case because viable leads still come in.

Arlington police Sgt. Mark Simpson, who led the task force, said the Dallas-Fort Worth community, and, eventually, the nation was outraged by the crime and wouldn’t let it go.

“And they should be outraged, and they shouldn’t let it go,” he said. “Whoever did this is still out there somewhere.”

Sgt. Simpson said he’s proud that the national alert system has made people more aware of their children, but “it’s a sad commentary that our kids can’t play outside as freely.”

He said he is frustrated to not have a conclusion to the case. But he said the 10th anniversary holds no more significance to him than any other.

“The only date I’ll attach any significance to is the arrest date,” he said.

Why are we already forgetting Nurin Jazlin Jazimin?

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Amber Hagerman was just an ordinary little girl who lived an ordinary life. Yet, the impact of her death gave so much meaning to the lives of so many other children that she will forever be etched in the annals of history. Why is it in Malaysia we are trying to forget Nurin Jazlin Jazimin ever existed? Are we never to learn from the mistakes we made that led to her tragic end? Are we destined to mourn other Nurins because we refuse to admit that we made mistakes? Will forgetting Nurin ever erase the pain and torture she was subjected to in life and the indignities that followed her death? We owe Nurin a debt of gratitude for having shown us the flaws in our system. Nurin Alert is her legacy for all the children of Malaysia. We must never forget Nurin!

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“Citizens fo Nurin Alert” has received tremendous support for the proposed Nurin Alert from Malaysians from all walks of life. Even at a recent family gathering I could not help but keep talking about it in the hopes that many more will spread the word. I note the buzz in Jasni’s, Nuraina’s, Rocky’s and sos@nurinalert.org and am greatly moved by the many good hearted Malaysians out there. People power rules!

Just to push the point home, watch this videoclip on what the UK government is doing to keep the still missing four-year-old Madeleine MaCann in the minds of the public ever since she was abducted in Portugal on 3 May 2007. Her parents and the public have not given up on Maddie. No matter how long it takes, we must never give up on a mssing child. Please let us not forget how important it is for Malaysia to have the Nurin Alert. Join “Citizens for Nurin Alert” at sos@nurinalert.org and let’s make this happen.

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It is Friday and a quick visit to Jasni’s blog here brings tears to my eyes. Having lost my first born son at birth, I know that a parent never forgets a child for as long as the parent still lives. Each year on his birthday, which is also sadly the day he died, I celebrate it silently with an ache in my heart. The tears may have dried but the memory never dims. Watching over my two other children as they go through their phases of growing up, always I wonder about my little boy. He would have been a young man now, tall and athletic like his younger brother. He would be in college, have a girlfriend or two, be mad about drums and basketball and drive me crazy with outrageous phonebills. My little boy has been with Allah for some time now but his spirit will always be alive within me.

Maybe that is why I have taken Nurin’s plight to heart. Although I feel only a fraction of the anguish that  Nurin’s parents  must be going through, I wish I could have helped them. I am guilty for my indifference. I am part of the system that failed Nurin and her parents. The Jazimins were people I hardly knew and were none of my business. At least the media especially Utusan Malaysia and The Star, concerned citizens, Michael Chong and the MCA, RHB Bank and many others who helped in the search for her will know they did their best. Maybe that is why I am still blogging about it, because I did nothing. I feel like I will not have closure until the authorities really take on the Nurin Alert and maybe then, I will move on.

Jasni has some positive news: On the positive front, Nurin Alert will be getting another boost as an article on the subject will be carried by a national daily within the next few days. Hopefully, with its exposure to the public beyond the blog sphere, more public support on it will be garnered. With greater public support, the journey of Nurin Alert from ideals to reality would be faster and easier.

Here is the story in The Star:

Uncle comes up with Nurin Alert

KUALA LUMPUR: The pain of having his young niece’s life viciously cut short has spurred Jasni Abdul Jalil to come up with a “Nurin Alert” emergency response plan.  

“Talking and feeling helpless over Nurin’s death will not bring her back. But, we can use our feelings positively and do something,” said Jasni, who is the eldest brother of the victim’s father, Jazimin Abdul Jalil.  

The plan will bring the authorities and community together to search for abducted children in the shortest time possible after they go missing. 

The plan is modelled after the successful “Amber Alert” programme in the United States. Amber is the acronym for “America’s Missing: Broadcasting Emergency Response”. It was named after Amber Hagerman, a nine-year-old who was abducted and murdered in Arlington, Texas, in 1996. 

Jasni, a company secretary, started the nurinjazlin.blogspot.com to help search for eight-year-old Nurin Jazlin after she went missing on Aug 20.  

The “Nurin Alert” response was mooted after a commentator referred to “Amber Alert” in the blog. 

Within weeks, several bloggers and Jasni agreed on the urgent need to introduce a similar system here. 

With the help of the like-minded bloggers, Jasni met Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil just before Hari Raya to discuss the proposed emergency response. 

Jasni said Shahrizat asked them to forward a working paper on it.  

He thanked fellow bloggers Nuraina A. Samad, Tembam and Nik Faris, who have become the core group working on the project.  

Their work is supported by Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation’s Kamal Affandi Hashim, Protect and Save The Children director Madeline Yong and lawyer Abang Ariffin Abang Bohan. 

“We hope that Nurin Alert will eventually be realised. Nurin’s death should not be in vain, and no child should be so cruelly tortured and killed again,” said Jasni. 

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Maybe Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, our new First Lady, missed this conference held in January, 2007 in Paris, France so she might not know that the Amber Alert was discussed at that meeting. I am not sure if Malaysia was represented but the Nurin Alert based on the Amber Alert would seem a perfect cause for Datin Seri Jeanne to champion. She looks like a kind and compassionate person who is also a loving wife and caring mother.  I hope this suggestion will be taken seriously so that maybe when she attends the next meeting, she would have something to say on behalf of Malaysia.    

UNICEF News:

Queens and First Ladies call for mobilization against child exploitation

By Mélusine Harlé

PARIS, France, 18 January 2007 – Queens and First Ladies from around the world called for an international mobilization against child exploitation at a one-day conference held yesterday at the presidential Élysée Palace.

The first meeting of the Board of Honour of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children was hosted by French First Lady Bernadette Chirac and attended by her husband French President Jacques Chirac and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, among others.

“It is our duty to call for a massive mobilization of governments, NGOs, companies and citizens worldwide so that childhood remains the age of innocence and promises for the future, not a time of suffering and sadness,” said Ms. Chirac at the start of the meeting.

The French First Lady was also joined by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden, Her Majesty Queen Paola of the Belgians, First Lady of Egypt Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of the United States Laura Bush, First Lady of Russia Lyudmila Putina and the wife of the European Commission President, Maria Margarita Souza Uva Barroso.

Finding missing children

Some 2 million children are trafficked worldwide each year. At the meeting, the Board of Honour spoke about what can be done to protect children from abduction.

“It is time for a change,” Ms. Chirac said as she announced the creation of a hotline number for missing children that will be effective throughout Europe by next summer.

The French Government has recently started the implementation of a French version of ‘AMBER Alert’, an early warning system developed by US police and media to help find abducted children.

A unified legal framework

More than 100,000 websites use pornographic pictures or videos of children. Interpol currently has a database of more than 500,000 children whose images have been illegally posted on the Internet.

“It is not just websites, but also chats and blogs where paedophiles can reach children,” explained European Commissioner on the Information Society Viviane Reding. “More than 60 per cent of young chatters receive invitations to meet with strangers; 40 per cent go to the rendezvous.”

The Queen of the Belgians offered four proposals for all member countries in Europe to implement, including creating a specialized police force for child protection and asking Internet providers to report child pornography to the police.

A European forum on child rights, in which children will participate, is to be held in March  at which point a European Coordinator for Child Rights will be nominated.

Ms. Barroso supported the creation of a unified legal framework throughout Europe to deal with child exploitation. “We need to be able to go over to the children’s side,” she said.

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