ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 22, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a non-profit organization that advocates, trains and collaborates with global partners to protect children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction, will host the 2017 Gala for Child Protection: Because All Children Deserve a Safe Childhood on Thursday, May 4 at 6 p.m. at Gotham Hall in New York City. The third annual gala will honor the 2017 Academy Award-nominated film LION in recognition of its critical role in raising the global community's awareness of the issue of missing children. Celebrated movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of The Weinstein Company which released LION, will accept the 2017 Champion for Children award in honor of the film. ICMEC also will honor Facebook with its 2017 Global Impact for Child Protection award for their longtime support of ICMEC's global programs and introducing child alert systems. NBC News and MSNBC anchor Kate Snow will serve as the evening's emcee.
LION, starring Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman and Oscar-nominated actor Dev Patel, is based on the true story of Saroo Brierley. At the age of five, Brierley was separated from his brother in a train station and ultimately was forced to survive on the streets of Calcutta before being adopted by an Australian family. Later, as a grown man, played by Patel, he used Google Earth to reunite with his biological family in India. LION is considered a leading contender for the 2017 Best Picture Oscar, and actors Patel and Kidman have both received Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominations this year. In addition, Australian screenwriter Luke Davies was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. In citing the work, Ambassador Maura Harty, ICMEC President and CEO, said: "The compelling film not only tells Saroo Brierley's story, but it also captures the tragic pain and loss suffered by missing children and their families anywhere in the world. We are grateful that Harvey Weinstein and LION unsparingly, but eloquently, helps raise awareness of this critical issue."
Facebook has long been an active and engaged partner, supporting ICMEC's global training programs, and recently introducing emergency child alert response systems to help locate children around the world. "Facebook could not be more proud of our longtime partnership with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children," says Emily Vacher, Facebook's Director of Trust and Safety. "Two years ago, in partnership with ICMEC, we were excited to announce that we would begin distributing missing child alerts on Facebook in several countries around the globe - empowering the Facebook community to aid in reuniting missing children with their families. We look forward to many more years of collaborative efforts to help reunite families and protect children around the world."
Proceeds from this fundraising gala will be directly invested in The Global Impact Fund. For ticket information, please visit the event website at gala.icmec.org.
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children is a private 501(c)(3) non-governmental, nonprofit organization. For more than 16 years, ICMEC has been a leader in identifying gaps in the global community's ability to protect children from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation, and expertly assembling the people, resources and tools needed to fill those gaps. ICMEC focuses on programs that have an impact on addressing the issues surrounding missing children, child abduction, child sexual abuse and exploitation.
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SOURCE International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children