This holiday season I want to encourage everyone to take a few minutes to give the gift of hope.
This may sound lofty, but it is easy and all you need is the intention to use your awareness for good.
Thousands of children are missing and their families will spend a devastating holiday wondering where their loved ones are, if they are alive, if they are being harmed, and if they will ever see them again.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) works with the Department of Justice, other federal agencies, private companies, and most importantly local law enforcement to try to bring these children home.
The most important part of this massive, 24-hour, seven days a week, coordinated effort is you. Often it is the complete stranger who cracks the case because they recognize a child from a NCMEC poster.
Your ability to recognize a face in the crowd – to identify somebody you otherwise may simply not notice or see somebody you know in a different light – is the most powerful tool in the search for missing children.
Please take time this holiday season to look at the faces of the missing children. Keep them in mind as you enjoy time in your community, also encouraging your family and friends to look.
Do not hesitate to report anybody you think may be missing. Sometimes the missing person does not know anyone is looking for them. Some children are told their parents died. All missing children need help from strangers who care.
Here at the Department of Justice, we are proud to support the people on the front lines who are making our communities safer and finding the missing children.
I ask that you join the Office on Violence Against Women this holiday season by taking time to look at the faces that are missing from so many families. Just knowing that you are helping them look for their child will give so many families hope that they might be found.