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The White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children-->

Speeches and Multimedia

  • Remarks by the President at White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children
  • October 7 marks the one-year anniversary of the beginning of combat operations in Afghanistan. Many of the coalition's objectives in Afghanistan have been accomplished
    • With the coalition's help, Afghanistan is moving forward to rebuild their country and restore civil government.
    • One month after military operations began, the first major city -- Mazar-e-Sharif -- was liberated. A month later, the last major city -- Kandahar -- was liberated from the Taliban.
    • The al Qaeda went on the run days after Oct. 7 -- losing their power, their safe havens and much of their leadership. Today, they are fragmented and their leaders are missing, captured, killed or on the run.
    • Humanitarian aid to Afghanistan started on day one of the war, with 37,000 humanitarian daily rations airdropped while the attacks were underway.
    • The international community has pledged $4.5 billion over five years to reconstruct Afghanistan; $2 billion was committed for use in 2002. Of that $2 billion, $1.3 billion has been utilized or will be available this year.
    • More than 575,000 metric tons of food have been delivered since the start of the war; 1.7 million refugees have returned to their homes. Schools, hospitals and roads have been rebuilt.
    • An elected head of government - Hamid Karzai - today works with regional leaders in a transitional government as civil authorities continue to establish control.

    The coalition continues to pursue terrorists, whether by financial, diplomatic, legal or military means.

    • More than 160 countries have issued orders freezing terrorist assets, and others have requested U.S. help in improving their legal and regulatory systems so they can more effectively block terrorist funds. Since September 11, the U.S. has blocked more than $34 million in assets of terrorist organizations; other nations have also blocked more than $77 million.
    • Terrorists and terrorist cells continue to be disrupted or destroyed on a daily basis. With the global efforts of law enforcement and intelligence agencies in cooperation with some 90 countries, resulting in the arrest of some 2,400 individuals, and approximately 650 enemy combatants under U.S. control.
    • The North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) has conducted more than 25,000 Operation Noble Eagle sorties, including, 17,600 combat air patrols. At the same time, U.S. fighters have been scrambled or diverted to respond to over 750 domestic airspace security incidents.
    • On Sept. 12, 2001, the North American Treaty Organization invoked article V for the first time. Coming to the aid of the U.S., NATO planes flew more than 350 sorties and logged more that 4,300 flight hours as part of operation Noble Eagle.

    Global War on Terror: Facts & Figures

    • The United States has provided some $588 million in assistance since October 2001. Another $1.45 billion has been authorized for this purpose over the next four years.
    • The U.S. has provided 7,000 metric tons of seed and 15,000 metric tons of fertilizer, benefiting more than 140,000 Afghan farmers.
    • On September 12, 2002, Japan and Saudi Arabia joined the U.S. in announcing support for the rebuilding of the Kabul-Kandahar-Herat highway. The U.S. pledged $80 million and our partners $50 million each.
    • Ten water projects were completed during the first six months of 2002. These included 83 wells, benefiting approximately 260,000 Afghans, at a cost of $193,000. Focus for this effort was Kandahar and Mazar-e-Sharif. An additional 16 new water projects have been approved in the provinces of Paktika, Khowst, Kandahar, and Kabul, with an estimated total cost of $246,000.
    • De-mining teams from Norway, Britain, Poland and Jordan have helped clear land mines from more than 1.8 million square meters of terrain.
    Infrastructure projects

    Infrastructure projects: 154 approved projects in 10 provinces:

    Completed Underway
    Agriculture 2 2
    Roads and Bridge 1 7
    Hospital / Medical 5 14
    Schools 61 44
    Water and Wells 10 16
    Other Projects 4 9

    Background on Presidential Action

    President Bush hosted the White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children to promote public awareness of the need to improve children’s safety, and to generate recommendations and best practices from experts in the field. More than 600 people from across America came to the Conference, including parents of victim children; law enforcement officials; federal, state and local leaders; citizen experts; and other leaders involved in the cause of missing, exploited, and runaway children.

    According to the Department of Justice, almost 800,000 children are reported missing to law enforcement each year, while another 500,000 children go missing without being reported to authorities. The White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children focused on a wide range of topics related to children’s safety, including child abduction; runaway and homeless youth; international child abduction; sex trafficking of children; child pornography; Internet safety, and corporate and community involvement.

    President Bush’s Commitment to Increasing Children’s Safety

    For FY 2003, President Bush has proposed a 26% increase in funding for the Missing and Exploited Children's Program, which provides training for state and local enforcement on handling missing child cases. As a result, the President’s budget request would almost double funding for the Department of Justice’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) program.

    In August, the President also announced the release of a new guidebook – the “Parent’s Guide to Child Safety.” The guidebook is designed to help parents take specific steps to improve the safety of their children, and it includes information that children of all ages can understand. The guidebook reflects the work of experts on child safety from the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is available online in English and in Spanish at The Department of Education sent a copy of the English and Spanish version to every public and private school and all main public libraries in the country, reaching over 110,000 schools and more than 6,000 libraries. In the two weeks following the mailing, the Department of Education took orders for more than 1 million additional copies of the English version and nearly 200,000 copies of the Spanish version.