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INVITATION

     

The Smile of the Child would like to invite you to an event that it is hosting to commemorate the International Day for Missing Children. The event will take place on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. in the Exhibition Hall of the Metro Station “Constitution Square” (Εκθεσιακή Αίθουσα του Μετρό Συντάγματος).  The event’s purpose is not only to celebrate the children that have been found safely but to also remember the missing children and give them and their families the message that we have not forgotten them and that together we will help them find their way home.

 

This year the May 25th event will combine the European and international activities of our two partners, Missing Children Europe (MCE) (www.missingchildren.eu) and the Global Missing Children’s Network (www.missingkids.com).  MCE has 23 members in 16 EU countries that along with the 8 international partners from the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN) will hold activities, raise awareness and join together to pass the message that “together we can help them find their way home”. The GMCN is part of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) which is based in Washington D.C.  The Smile of the Child is on the Board of Directors of both MCE and ICMEC and runs the Greek Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, providing assistance and support to children, their families and law enforcement in cases of missing children.

 

This year the focus of the international campaign for May 25th will be parental abductions which are alarmingly increasing.  As the borders around us fall and the planet becomes a global village, children are abducted and increasingly taken across national borders.  The result increases the trauma for all involved- the child who is not only denied the comfort and support of his/her family, friends, school and environment but also faces a language and culture shock; but also the left behind parent, family, friends and law enforcement.

 

International Missing Childrens Day celebrates the children that have found their way home, commemorates the children that have fallen victims of crime and provides hope to the families of children that are still missing.

 

Members of the Global Missing Children’s Network are:

Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Greece, Irelands, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Romania, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Many of the MCE members are also member of GMCN and like The Smile of the Child will combine the two organisations’ activities.  MCE member states include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the United Kingdom.

 

During the days events, the television spot created by the Australian Federal Police will be broadcast.  As well, the public will have the opportunity to write messages and release virtual balloons from the site created especially for this day: www.helpbringthemhome.org.au. Data on missing children in Greece collected by both The Smile of the Child and the Greek National Police will be released that day.    During the event there will also be a presentation on AMBER Alert Hellas and the new ECAAS (European Child Alert Automated System) to the participating agencies and bodies.  Following the event, balloons with the faces of missing children from around the world will be released in Constitution Square.  The same balloons will be released in the other participating countries.

 

Simultaneously to commemorate the event in Europe, Sir Francis Jacobs, President of MCE and Ms. Margarida Barosso, will open the Brussels Stock Exchange and hold a press conference.  As well, a field of solar dancing forget-me-nots will be exhibited at the European Commission Berlayont building.  Commissioner Reding and other European parliamentarians will be wearing the “forget-me-not” flower in support of the event.

 

The May 25th event will also be used to kick-off a 3 day meeting between Greek and French law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, NGO’s and other stakeholders in order to exchange information, knowledge and best practices on combating trafficking in human beings, especially children. Equally significant, the Conference will provide the opportunity to build a relationship of trust between the various agencies and professions and strengthen the network that exists in combating human trafficking.

 

Please come join us on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. at the Exhibition Hall of the Metro Station “Constitution Square”.

 

We hope that with everyone’s presence we can spread a message of hope to missing children and their families in Greece and around the world.  Together we will find them.

 

For further information please visit our site at www.hamogelo.gr

 

Help us bring our children home.

 

                                           

 

Costas Yannopoulos                                                     Maggie Lazaridis B.A. LL.B.

President of the Board of Directors                            Greek Centre for Missing

and Exploited Children