President George W. Bush announced two new steps to help improve personal safety for the children of America.
The President will convene a White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children in October. The Conference will promote public awareness of the cause of missing, exploited and runaway children, and it will bring policy makers, experts, key officials, community leaders, teachers and law enforcement together to share progress made and generate new ideas to help prevent the victimization of children.
Each year, more than 58,000 children in the United States are abducted by non-family members, often in connection with another crime. More than 200,000 children are abducted by family members who are seeking to interfere with a parent's custodial rights. Although the vast majority of children (at least 98%) return from these abductions, too many children do not. In the most dangerous type of abduction - stranger kidnapping - fully 40% of children are killed.
In October, the President will host the first-ever White House Conference
on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children in conjunction with the Justice
Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
The all day conference will bring together members of the President's Cabinet;
federal, state and local officials; law enforcement; corporate leaders; citizen
experts; parents of victim children; and other leaders involved in the cause
of missing, exploited and runaway children.
The conference will focus on a wide range of topics related to children's safety, including missing and exploited children; runaway and homeless youth; international child abduction; sex trafficking of children; child pornography;child safety and Internet safety, and corporate and community involvement.
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 ($29 million - an increase of 26% over FY 2002). The program also supports the Department of Justice's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF). The President's budget request will enable the Department of Justice to double the size of the Task Force.