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Number of missing child reports made to the FBI in 2019:

421,387

As the nation's clearinghouse and comprehensive reporting center for all issues related to the prevention of and recovery from child victimization, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) leads the fight against abduction, abuse, and exploitation - because every child deserves a safe childhood.

Learn more about NCMEC.

Hope Is Why We're Here.

How NCMEC Helps

During the last 36 years, NCMEC’s national toll-free hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), has received more than 5 million calls. NCMEC has circulated billions of photos of missing children, assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 341,000 missing children and facilitated training for more than 377,000 law enforcement, criminal/juvenile justice and healthcare professionals. NCMEC’s Team HOPE volunteers have provided resources and emotional support to more than 76,000 families of missing and exploited children.

Missing Children

In 2020 NCMEC assisted law enforcement and families with more than 29,800 cases of missing children.

Case type:

  • 91 percent endangered runaways.
  • 5 percent family abductions.
  •  3 percent critically missing young adults, ages 18 to 20.
  •  Less than 1 percent nonfamily abductions.
  •  1 percent lost, injured or otherwise missing children.

Of the nearly 26,500 runaways reported to NCMEC in 2019, 1 in 6 were likely victims of child sex trafficking. In 2019, NCMEC responded to more than 10,700 reports regarding possible child sex trafficking.

NCMEC’s forensic artists have age-progressed more than 7,100 images of long-term missing children and created more than 595 facial reconstructions for unidentified deceased children. NCMEC is currently assisting with more than 682 cases of unidentified children’s remains, and so far has assisted in165 identifications.

Exploited Children

NCMEC operates the CyberTipline, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation.

In 2019 the CyberTipline received more than 16.9 million reports, most of which related to:

  • Apparent child sexual abuse material.
  • Online enticement, including “sextortion.”
  • Child sex trafficking.
  • Child sexual molestation.

NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program, which helps to locate and rescue child victims in abusive images, has reviewed more than 322 million images and videos.19,100 child victims have been identified.

Our Origins

A message from our founder, John Walsh:

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NCMEC’s mission is personal to my family because in 1981 my own son, Adam Walsh, was kidnapped and murdered. During our two week search for Adam, my wife and I would infuriatingly hear the words: “We're sorry, but there's not much else we can do” over and over again from the authorities.

This was before NCMEC.There was no hotline to call when he went missing. There wasn't a search protocol in place inside the Sears store where he disappeared to help find him. There wasn't an alert system to notify law enforcement across state lines. And there were no missing child posters to solicit the public's help. We were desperate for help that they couldn't give because there really was "not much else" they could do.

We hated those words and we vowed that no parent of a missing child in America would ever have to hear them again.

That's why in 1984 my wife Revé and I founded the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to help find missing kids, reduce child sexual abuse, and prevent child exploitation from ever happening.

Now, NCMEC runs the 1-800-THE-LOST 24-hour hotline to receive calls and tips. We have the Code Adam protocol in place at many stores so employees know what to do if a child disappears. We are a secondary distributor of the AMBER Alert notification system which is activated in serious child abduction cases. And our missing children’s posters reach millions of people to solicit help in the recovery of missing kids.