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CHARLOTTE AMALIE – In 1983, President Ronald Regan proclaimed May 25th National Missing Children’s Day. The day was observed after a string of child abductions gained national attention.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, commemorates Missing Children’s Day with a ceremony honoring the heroic and exemplary efforts of agencies, organizations, and individuals to protect children.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, roughly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States. They estimate that approximately 90 percent of missing children are runaways, six percent are family abductions, one percent are lost or injured, one percent are non-family abductions and two percent are critically missing young adults between the ages of 18 to 20.
Since 2010, Virgin Islands Police Department statistics have recorded four missing children under the age of 18 and an additional four missing young adults between the ages 18-20.
“Protecting our children from exploitation and locating missing children is a key priority of the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our federal and territorial partners to ensure the safety of our children and to prosecute those who seek to do them harm.”
If you have any information or know the identities or whereabouts of any missing or exploited child please contact the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD) at (340) 774-2211, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at (340) 693-2250, or contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via toll-free 24-hour hotline at (202) 514-5678.
“All children deserve our love, support, and protection,” Shappert said.