May is National Missing Children’s Month and Deb Gordon’s guest was Ambassador Maura Harty, President and CEO of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC).
ICMEC, a private 501(c)(3) non-governmental non-profit, strives to ensure that every child, irrespective of socioeconomic status and location, is kept safe from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation.
Discussed were the myriad ways that ICMEC works on behalf of missing children including advocacy and training, their global collaborations, and the positive strides that have been made in the sphere.
ICMEC recently held its third annual fundraising gala in New York at Gotham Hall. The Academy Award-nominated film LION was honored and producer Harvey Weinstein was on hand to accept the award.
“It is a poignant, compelling story about a little Indian Boy who gets stranded,” said Harty about LION. “A missing child is a vulnerable child…the drop down menu – if you will – of risky behaviors that are possible because a child is not where they should be, are almost too gruesome to consider, and in very short order in this movie, you see a series of them.”
Harty added: “I would beseech anybody…to think the next time you walk through a terminal, a train station, a mall, and see a child alone, and just take that extra minute to think and look, ‘where is the adult…and is the person who eventually unites with them, welcomed by that child’? Pay attention. We all have a responsibility to do that.”
The gala which raised $1.3 million for ICMEC’s Global Impact Fund also honored Facebook, which recently introduced an emergency child alert response system.
During this awareness month, Kiehl’s has partnered with ICMEC to draw attention to the issue and also raise funds: Through May 31st, Kiehl’s will donate 100% of profits from the sales of the Midnight Recovery Collection, to benefit ICMEC.
In addition, renowned artist Jeff Koons, an ICMEC Board member with first-hand experience about the issue, unveiled a public art installation titled “Seated Ballerina” at Rockefeller Center through June 9, to help raise awareness.
“We look for a day, hope for a day – dare we hope for a day – when children can live absolutely free from the fear of child sexual abuse and exploitation, and the prospect of going missing…and we need everybody’s help to do that,” said Harty.
For more information about International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and to help, visit www.icmec.org.