BRUSSELS, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Specifically designed to rescue children after abduction by using community of 1.5 million EU citizens
Vice-President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes calls on everyone to join the AMBER Alert Europe initiative
The AMBER Alert Europe Initiative (http://www.amberalert.eu) today launched the first EU wide child rescue alert platform: AMBER Alert Europe. In the US similar systems, joined in the AMBER Alert Plan, already have saved the lives of more than 600 children.
Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for the Digital Agenda: "The Digital Agenda for Europe is about using technologies to make a real difference. The AMBER Alert Europe Initiative is a great example of just that, because it uses modern technology to help saving children that may have been abducted. I call on everyone - citizens, NGO's, corporations and member state governments - to join the AMBER Alert Europe initiative and ensure that when a child goes missing in Europe, we can alert everyone in the area immediately - even across borders and across language borders."
The aim of AMBER Alert Europe is to rescue children during the first hours after their abduction or after becoming the victim of human trafficking. AMBER Alert does this by:
- Creating a child rescue alert system for EU countries that do not yet have one, and further strengthen the different child alert initiatives that already exist in EU member states;
- Linking all child alert systems present in Europe, using international alerting standards and the child alert best practices set by the European Commission;
- Starting by mapping all missing children in Europe;
- Using the EU citizenry's situational awareness and willingness to help (citizen sourcing) in order to help rescue the approximately 1 million children that go missing in the EU every year;
- Allowing for the quick issuing of crossborder alerts when a child goes missing near an EU border;
- Allowing for easy cross language border alerting, through automatic translation of the missing child poster.
With the new platform, AMBER Alert Europe offers an EU wide response to the EU objective (DG Justice) on Child Alerts, which states that an early warning system for child abductions, with cross-border interoperability, should be established in all 27 EU countries.
"When a child is taken, there is not a moment to lose. US research showed that in 76 percent of the missing children homicide cases studied, the child was dead within three hours of the abduction-and in 88.5 percent of the cases the child was dead within 24 hours*. That is what an AMBER Alert is for - to be a lifesaver by ensuring that within minutes the entire nation is on the lookout for a missing child," explains Frank Hoen, founder of both AMBER Alert Europe and AMBER Alert Netherlands. "Many EU member states responded to the EU commission's call for action and have launched a national child alert system. That is great. Now we need to take the next step, as in Europe borders are always near. A child abductor will not stop at the border, so neither should a child alert."
"With this system, building on the EU Commission's best practices, EU member states can strengthen their existing child alert system, or - if there is no system yet - can make use of the full toolkit and establish a child alert system in their country," he adds.
"The system honors children that went missing in the EU - such as Madeleine McCann, Alessia and Livia Schepp, Jeremi Vargas and Ben Needham," adds Hoen. "The next time a child goes missing like they did, a picture of that child should instantly be seen by everyone in the area: citizens, media, law enforcement officials and border authorities across Europe. And when a child is abducted close to a border: those just across the border should also be alerted; with the possibility to widen the search with one push of a button."
The technology currently being used by AMBER Alert Europe builds on the technology already used in the Netherlands for the Dutch AMBER Alert plan since 2008. The Dutch AMBER Alert was launched in 2008 by the Dutch minister of Justice, and currently has 1.5 million participants including thousands of large organizations who help further promote the AMBER Alert free of charge. With a success rate of 64 percent**, the Dutch AMBER Alert system is an example case of effective citizen sourcing.
The technology used allows for the immediate issuing of alert messages to police, press and public, using any medium available - from electronic highway signs, to TV, radio, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, pop-ups and screensavers on PCs, large advertising screens (Digital Signage), e-mail and SMS text messages, smartphone apps, printable posters, RSS newsfeeds and website banners and pop ups.
Want to help turn the AMBER Alert Europe platform into a real lifesaver in your country? Then register now to receive free alerts and be updated on the latest child rescue alert developments in your country: http://www.amberalert.eu
*Source: Child Abduction Murder study, Washington State Attorney General's Office, 2006
** Number of AMBER Alert children saved thanks to the AMBER Alert, source: AMBER Alert Netherland, 2013
NOTE TO THE EDITORS, NOT FOR PUBLICATION
Press information and photography on the topic can be found on the website: http://www.amberalert.eu/press.aspx
About AMBER Alert Europe
The aim of AMBER Alert Europe is to rescue children during the first hours after their abduction or after becoming the victim of human trafficking.
People that want to help turn the AMBER Alert Europe platform into a real lifesaver in all EU member states, are asked register to receive free alerts and the be updated on the latest child rescue alert developments in their country: http://www.amberalert.eu
Key sponsors of AMBER Alert Europe
As with the Dutch AMBER Alert system, key sponsors of AMBER Alert Europe are software company Netpresenter and hosting provider Jitscale:
- About Netpresenter - http://www.netpresenter.com
Netpresenter offers innovative communication software that helps organizations to get information across to employees and clients. Netpresenter software can also be used to notify everyone quickly and effectively in case of an emergency.
- About Jitscale - http://www.jitscale.com
Jitscale is an IT management organization that specializes in designing, organizing, managing, and optimizing a wide range of business-critical IT platforms.
SOURCE AMBER Alert Europe