Mr Palm's speech during the launching ceremony of the Center for Missing Children in Albania at ALO 116 on 7 June 2011
There is nothing more disturbing or shocking for parents than when their children go missing. Especially when they are travelling to foreign countries, there will be panic, because parents may not know whom to call, or they may not speak the language.
Anywhere, children may fall victim of deceit and abduction from strangers. Sometimes children feel that home is not a place where to be, and leave with the hope that their situation will change for the better.
It is all our duty, the duty of public institutions, civil society organisations to support children (and UNICEF) in some of their most difficult moments of life.
We need a quick, organized, reliable response. The Hotline must connect with law enforcement and the public, must be a system that people can trust and where calls are dealt with in a professional manner. It must be able to work across borders.
It must also be a number for those who know about missing children December 2006 common hotline number (116000) in 27 EU member states. Launched February 2007, now 13 member states.
17 November 2010 Press release by the EU, urging remaining 14 countries to install a hotline for missing children. Globally 19 countries only (including FBI and Australian police).
Albania is ahead of the curve.
I am happy to see such a good collaboration between General Directorate of Police, CRCA, ALO 116 and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and I take it as sign that such an approach will be had in all areas when it concerns the protection of children.
In all countries where the hotline works, the hotline is managed by a NGO, closely collaborating with police and border controls.
We are happy to have such a trusted and professional partner such as CRCA which operates ALO 116 a phone service for children of Albania. Which is free of charge thanks to all the telephone operators landline and mobile, in Albania. ALO 116 has been receiving hundreds of calls every day, and helped many children who need to talk to someone and want to be heard. 300,000 calls in two years.
UNICEF will always support initiatives that protect children. Last year we supported ALO 116 in organizing the first ever workshop on the issue of missing children in Albania.
Albania does not have many cases of children who have disappeared. One case is that of the 7-year old Bleona Mata. We hope that with the signing of this agreement Bleona and many other children will be found in time and that police and society will look out and care for these children to ensure they are safe. We need this system, that parents, children and institutions can rely on.
I wish you all good joint work. I would like to thank you the General Directorate of Police for their institutional support, CRCA and ALO 116 for their work to help children across Albania.