What To Do If Your Child Goes Missing

The first 48 hours following the disappearance of a child are the most critical in terms of finding and returning that child safely home. Use this checklist immediately.

• Dial 911. Immediately report your child as missing to your local law enforcement agency.

• Make sure to get the name and telephone number of the law enforcement investigator assigned to your case and keep this information in a safe place.

• Ask for an Amber Alert.

• Ask law enforcement to enter your child into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Missing Persons File.

• Ask law enforcement to put out a Be On the Look Out (BOLO) bulletin.

• Ask law enforcement about involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the search for your child.

• Ask law enforcement about spreading the word to the media.

• Call NCMEC at 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678) to ask for help with photo distribution.

• Email Special Operations at with (a) your child’s full name, (b) birth date, (c) photo, (d) your name, (e) phone and (f) address. Please tell us (g) which law enforcement agency you first contacted with your report and (h) the names of officers you spoke with.

• Write a detailed description of the clothing worn by your child and the personal items he or she had at the time of the disappearance.

• Make a list of friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who might have information about your child’s whereabouts.

• Designate one person to answer the telephone. Keep a notebook with you to write down your thoughts or questions.

• Take good care of yourself because your child needs you to be strong.

How Predators Groom Kids:


To establish trust

Groomers peruse middle schools and high schools targeting young girls / boys who are most at risk: those with low self-esteem who are struggling with family, friends, money or schoolwork. They become best friends with the youth and stay good friends for months.


To control them

Sex traffickers make sure your daughter / son is having "fun" and feels a sense of independence. He readily supplies the child with alcohol and drugs, often getting the youth addicted so the person does not know what is happening to him / her.


To separate them from family

The groomer criticizes parents, says their rules are unfair, muses child should run away and deserves better.


To separate them from friends

The groomer introduces teens to new "friends" who are more "fun."


To change a victim's moral compass

The groomer shows them porn, convinces them it's exciting, that parents don't understand their generation, etc.


To make money off them

The trafficker physically lures the victim away from families and friends through brainwashing and coercion in order to make money selling the child for sex and to have sex with them themselves.

Note: It is illegal to file a false crime report. Doing so could result in up to six months in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both.

A Child’s Perspective

“He told me he loved me and that he cared about me.”
"He made me feel loved and secure. That I could trust him and tell him everything that I was going through at that time. Never made a “pass” at me then, just showed what I thought was ‘genuine friendship.’”
"He was very sweet and loving and said that he would never force me to do anything that I didn’t want.”
"He acted like he cared for me and had my best interest at heart.”
"He was really nice. He gave me things. He was attractive. He was supportive.”
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Source: Thorn survivor insides study 2018; Polaris.