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Greek Community“Has anyone seen my child?"

“Has anyone seen my child?”

Hellenic News
Hellenic News
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Dear Mr. Kotrotsios,


A different Greece is being presented on Euronews’s reportage.

A Greece of competence, strong will and efficient work, is being presented through the operating model of “The Smile of the Child”,

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The only Voluntary Organization for children in Greece, operating 24/7 throughout Greece, providing all kinds of supportive programs for the welfare, safety, psychological & physical health of all children in need.


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“Has anyone seen my child?”


It is a drama that families hope they will never have to face: the disappearance of a child. Amid the panic and the stress it is crucial that a support system is quickly made available, on top of whatever action the police may take. And for help organisations on the ground, it is a key part of children’s rights.


Some cases receive a lot of media attention; others become a lonely struggle for families desperate for help.


An estimated one million children go missing every year in the European Union. These include runaways, criminal abductions, those abducted by a parent, the lost or injured, as well as missing unaccompanied migrant children.


Many of the operators are members of Missing Children Europe, an umbrella organisation that has been pushing for the single, dedicated number.


Hopes are high that the number of cases solved will now increase.


Despite its financial troubles, Greece is one of the most active countries when it comes to having systems in place for when children disappear.


Emergency services and volunteers are geared up to be quickly mobilised when the hotline receives an alert.


Right On spoke to one mother who rang the number when her four-year-old boy wandered away from a holiday home on the island of Andros last summer.


After rescue teams and local residents were scrambled, the child was located several hours later safe and sound.


The rescued boy’s mother told euronews: “At first I felt panic, but the young woman I spoke to on the hotline reassured me and told me to keep calm, saying they would help find the boy as quickly as possible.


“Gradually I tried to cooperate with them as I was in a terrible state psychologically. I thought I would never see him again, never find him.”


The organisation that runs Greece’s hotline, The Smile of the Child, was behind the setting up of a missing children response team, to have rescuers on the ground in the early stages of a disappearance.


Whether it is the police or the hotline that receives the alert first, the aim is to waste no time in sharing the information.


Vassilis Orfanos, Coordinator of the Missing Children Response Team, said: “It is very important for us, whenever a child has gone missing, to get notified very very quickly, so we can respond to the incident as fast as we can.”


Greece also has a public alert system for suspected abductions, flashing up on television and the likes of motorway signs.


The Greek hotline received almost 6,000 calls in 2011 and dealt with the cases of 120 missing children. Eight of those have still not been found. But cooperation seems to be the key.


Costas Yannopoulos, Chairman of “The Smile of the Child” told Right On: “We are uniting our forces. That has been our motto, the message we want to show. We are combining forces for the children.


“The Smile of the Child, the Red Cross, Greek Rescue Teams, the Police, the Fire Service, the Port Authorities, Civil Defence – all together with a single goal.”


That message is echoed by the police. A fully automated computer system has been established, allowing the centralising of information, which can then be spread in different formats within minutes.


Captain Panagiotis Papantonis from the Missing Persons Unit of the Greek Police told euronews: “This initiative is very important, and it’s very good that we were the first country to establish this service now operating in Greece.


“It has helped us in many disappearance cases, because while the parents may not have given us some piece of information, we received it anonymously through the hotline.”


And sometimes just one small clue from the public is all that is needed to bring a missing child home.”





Αυτό το ηλεκτρονικό ταχυδρομείο είναι εμπιστευτικό. Οποιαδήποτε μη εξουσιοδοτημένη

κοινοποίηση, αντιγραφή, διανομή ή χρήση είναι απαγορευμένη και μπορεί να είναι παράνομη.

Εάν έχετε παραλάβει αυτή την ανακοίνωση λανθασμένα, παρακαλούμε ειδοποιήστε άμεσα

τον αποστολέα και διαγράψτε ολόκληρη την επικοινωνία από το σύστημά σας.


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