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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
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
Ministry of Public Order
Ministry of Transportation and Communication
Ministry of the Public Works
Ministry of Interior Public Municipalities
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Print and Mass Media Communication
Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Health and Welfare
Ministry of Growth
State Airport Thessalonica
“Macedonia”- Public Airport Services
NET (Public Television)
ET 1 (Public Television)
ET 3 (Public Television)
ANTENNA (and syndicates)
INTERNET (FOR AMBER ALERT
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS
AND STATIONARY TELEPHONES:
OTE (Hellenic Telephone Communication Company)
MOBILE TELEPHONE COMPANIES (SMS
TIM (NOW WIND)
ATHENS INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT “EL. VENIZELOS”
ATTICA METRO OPERATIONS COMPANY
ATTICA ROADS AND HIGHWAYS