The emotional turmoil suffered by parents of missing children is unbearable. And no parent is prepared for such pain.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can use to help those parents find their children. This article tells you how you can volunteer to help find missing children.

But before we dive in, first things first:

What is International Parental Kidnapping? 

International parental child kidnapping is a criminal act that involves the removal or retention of a child outside their country of birth.

Generally, parental kidnapping happens in three ways: parental child abduction, abduction by strangers, or abduction before birth. Let’s look at each:

  • Parental child abduction happens when a family member decides to have unauthorized custody of a child. For instance, they can choose to remove the child from the other parent’s care. 
  • Abduction or kidnapping – While abduction by strangers is rare, it can always occur to any child. In most abduction cases, kidnappers try to extort a ransom from parents. But sometimes, they may kidnap a child to raise the child as their own. Or to sell the child for human trafficking.
  • Abduction before birth – This rare crime happens at the earliest ages of the child’s life. It takes various forms, from a noncustodial parent abducting the infant to a stranger abducting the child from the hospital. 

How We Can Prevent International Parental Kidnapping 

Use one of the below tips to prevent international child abduction:

1. Act at once – Take action to protect your child as soon as the child is born. First, make sure that you get a court order or custody decree. A court order will include various provisions like passports, travel restrictions, or custody. This way, no one will travel overseas without your permission.

2. Consult a lawyer – If you are unsure about specific provisions of a custody decree, we recommend that you enlist the help of a legal expert. A family lawyer can also help you obtain an order that prohibits your ex-spouse from traveling with a child without permission.

3. Be on the lookout for signs – There are always warning signs that the other parent may abduct a child. For instance, one parent may quit a job or decide to relocate to another state. 

If you believe your child is missing, use one of the following things:

4. Call the police – Once you notice that your child is missing, alert the police immediately. The police will put your child on the ‘Be on The Lookout Bulletin. 

5. Publish a notice – Don’t wait for the police to find your child. Instead, be a proactive parent. Use your local newspaper, radio, and social media to alert the public about your missing child. 

6. Hire a private investigator – If you can afford a private investigator, hire a private investigator to search for your abducted child. Private investigators use their unique methods to find missing children. Also, ask about the possibility of using an FBI agent.

7. Check the missing people website – Fortunately, various websites provide missing people information. All you have to do is provide the data, and it will be available to all users. 

Why Does Volunteering to Find a Missing Child Matter

Not knowing where your child is, is one of the most emotionally and physically draining experiences. One minute you will feel hopeless. Then the next minute, you will feel a surge of hope. 

You can’t help parents of missing children feel better as a parent. But you can increase the chances of reuniting them with their child. And you can do this by volunteering.

Volunteering to find a missing child goes a long way toward helping another parent find closure.

Use your compassion as your driving force to find missing children. The Committee for Missing Children operates as a nonprofit that supports, funds, and donates to help parents reunite with their missing children.

How to Become a Volunteer to Help Find Missing Children

Follow these easy steps to become a volunteer: 

Step 1: Register with your local nonprofit 

There are many nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping parents find their abducted children. Most of them have online and on-site volunteer opportunities. 

For instance, you can register with Find The Kids, a parent advocacy group that helps parents reunite with their missing children.

Then go to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, or NCMEC, website to find online and on-site volunteer opportunities.

Step 2: Use a missing child poster program

Most nonprofit organizations allow parents of missing children to use a missing child poster program. Once you sign up for this program, you’ll receive missing child poster email updates. 

Step 3: Contact Find The Kids for local volunteer opportunities 

Find The Kids offers free services. The services allow parents to focus on working with their lawyer to secure custody of their child and appear in court. 

The Find, The Kids’ committee has all the information on missing and abducted children. They will ensure that you get all the assistance you need, assisting you in litigating in a particular State or internationally in a foreign country. 

The committee started as twenty advisors who would meet to suggest ways to implement photo distribution within the school supply industry. Today, they continue to play a massive role in reuniting missing children with their parents. 

Step 4: Become a volunteer 

Help the other parent reunite with a missing child. Volunteer your time and resources to trace the child.