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AMBER ALERT Hellas

The Greek Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, administrated by our Association, The Smile of the Child, hosts the annual event to mark International Missing Children’s Day. This year May 25th was even more significant for finding missing children. The date was used not only to commemorate our commitment to finding our children, but was also used to launch the AMBER alert program in Greece. As many know, the AMBER alert program is an emergency broadcasting system used when a child is missing and considered to be in danger. The system enables the public to assist law enforcement in finding a child.

 

In November 2006, The Smile of the Child and NCMEC organized a training seminar for the Greek National Police. Presenters at the seminar consisted of a team of expert law enforcement officers from the United States and Europe. They trained Greek Police on investigation techniques in finding missing children. On November 16th, 2006, the last day of the seminar, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Evripides Stillianides launched the Greek site on www.missingkids.com. This was yet another tool that could be used by both the Greek Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and the Greek National Police to locate missing children.

 

Since its inception, the Greek Centre for Missing & Exploited Children has had a positive relationship with national media. In appropriate cases, where a child is missing, the Centre has asked national television stations to broadcast its posters with the Centre’s hotline SOS 1056. The public response has been overwhelming and there is almost 100% recovery of these children. While this program is effective in certain cases, the Centre realized that it often took hours before the posters were shown during the allocated news hours and in cases where the child might be in immediate danger those precious hours were vital. With this in mind The Smile of the Child contacted all governmental agencies that would be involved, all media outlets, internet service providers and mobile subscription companies were also contacted and committed to becoming partners in the effort to find children through the effective and efficient activation of AMBER alert. Below we have listed all the partners to the AMBER alert program. After a lot of hard work and a lot of negotiations The Smile of the Child managed to bring the AMBER alert program to Greece.

 

Finally, on May 25th, 2007 the AMBER alert program was officially launched in Greece. Representatives from almost all the ministries, including the Ministries of Health & Welfare, Transportation & Communication, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs and Public Order were also present.

 

The Minister of Public Order, Mr. Polidoras, officially launched the AMBER alert program in Greece and undertook to provide as much personnel as is necessary for the AMBER alert program to be successful in Greece. The Ministry of Transportation & Communication committed to activating AMBER alerts on all roadways, highways, airports, seaports and other modes of transportation. The Ministry of Interior also announced that Local Citizen Service Offices (KEP), located literally in every city, town and village in Greece were committed to assisting in any way possible. The result is that there will literally not be any place in Greece where the AMBER alert program will not be activated.

 

AMBER alerts will be issued in Greece only in cases that meet certain criteria including risk of harm to the child. The Greek National Police will determine when to issue the alert and The Smile of the Child will then administrate the activation of the whole program.

 

All private and public national television and radio stations, Internet service providers and mobile telephone companies have signed agreements to be partners in the program. People have been invited to send an SMS message with only their postal codes to SOS 1056. They will automatically be included in the alerts issued through their mobile telephone provider. So far the number of subscribers demonstrates the public’s desire to assist in finding missing children.

 

Television stations have committed to interrupting their regularly scheduled programs to televise AMBER alerts. They will do so continuously at regular intervals until the alert is concluded.

 

Where possible, alerts will have a photograph of the missing child. In all alerts issued there will be a brief description of the missing child and details of the disappearance will be broadcast. Anyone with information will be asked to call either the police emergency number, 100 in Greece, or The Smile of the Child hotline SOS 1056. The personnel answering the hotline have been trained for the purpose of collecting such information. All information whether or not it is anonymous will then be passed to police to investigate.

 

The Smile of the Child will immediately upload the information on both its own Internet site (www.hamogelo.gr) and the NCMEC site (www.missingkids.com). Of course if the child is not found within a reasonable time, The Smile of the Child will continue with the poster campaign and other publicity until the child is finally returned to safety.

 

The launch of the AMBER alert program in Greece is yet another example of how collaboration with our partners at NCMEC will save the lives of more children. We all agree that in our current global village the only way to save our children and thus our future is to join our forces and work as a global team!

 

Below is the list of national partners in the Hellenic AMBER alert program:

 

MINISTRIES- PUBLIC AGENCIES

  1. Ministry of Public Order

  2. Ministry of Transportation and Communication

  3. Ministry of the Public Works

  4. Ministry of Interior Public Municipalities

  5. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  6. Ministry of Print and Mass Media Communication

  7. Ministry of Justice

  8. Ministry of Health and Welfare

  9. Ministry of Growth

State Airport Thessalonica “Macedonia”- Public Airport Services

 

NATIONAL TELEVISION CHANNELS:

  1. NET (Public Television)

  2. ET 1 (Public Television)

  3. ET 3 (Public Television)

  4. ANTENNA (and syndicates)

  5. MEGA

  6. ALPHA

  7. ALTER

  8. STAR

  9. SKY

 

RADIO STATIONS:

  1. SKY

  2. ANTENNA RADIO

  3. RHYTHM

  4. EPA

  5. ALPHA RADIO

  6. JOHN GREEK

  7. CAPTAINS JACK

 

INTERNET (FOR AMBER ALERT BROADCASTS)

  1. ANTENNA (INTERNET)

  2. PHGASOS (e-go.gr)

 

INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS AND STATIONARY TELEPHONES:

  1. OTE (Hellenic Telephone Communication Company)

  2. FORTHNET

 

MOBILE TELEPHONE COMPANIES (SMS AMBER ALERTS)

  1. COSMOTE

  2. VODAFONE

  3. TIM (NOW WIND)

  4. Q

 

PRIVATE SPONSORS/AGENCIES

  1. ATHENS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT “EL. VENIZELOS”

  2. ATTICA METRO OPERATIONS COMPANY

  3. ATTICA ROADS AND HIGHWAYS

  4. AEGEAN AIRLINES

  5. DB DATABANK