Around 40 kids a day go missing in the Czech Republic
New statistics from the Czech police suggest that thousands of children are going missing in the Czech Republic every year. Meanwhile, government proposals to put in place a system to alert the public to missing children remains stalled due to lack of financing.
So what exactly do these figures mean? Zuzana Baudyšová is the head of a prominent Czech foundation, which deals with numerous children’s related issues in the country:
“The number of missing children in the Czech Republic really is very high. The largest group is undoubtedly those that decide to run away from care homes. This tends to be fifteen to eighteen year-olds, who are sometimes institutionalised already because of prior criminal or other serious activities.”
A second crucial figure is represented by parents who for one reason or another abduct their children and take them overseas. In most cases messy divorces or drawn-out custody battles are to blame. Rarer still are abductions of children in which ransoms are extorted from wealthy parents. And then there are the even more rare seemingly inexplicable abductions, often believed to be attributed to paedophiles, sometimes coming from other countries.
Zuzana Baudyšová also serves as a member of the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Abused Children. In this capacity, she has also been lobbying for all European countries to introduce strict alert systems for when a child is declared missing. At present, missing children are publicised on the Interior Ministry’s website. But campaigners are trying to overcome government reluctance to do more.
“It is one of the major aims and goals of this international institution for the ‘Children’s Alert System’ to exist in all European countries and for it to be connected to a system which is capable of mobilising quickly to locate a missing child. I would be very happy if this could be put in place with the least number of laws having to be passed. Because the minute you have to start revising all kinds of laws, then it will become an endless procedure.”
And how exactly would that work?
“I would be happy if the current electronic motorway signs could be used not only for traffic purposes, but also to display information about missing children. And if a child has been abducted in a car, then for the information about this vehicle to also be displayed there. Also, I would like the radio and television services to play a role and to immediately diffuse the relevant information about a missing child.”
Despite widespread support, due to a cited lack of funds it remains unclear if and when the Czech Republic will introduce such a scheme.