Photo for illustrative purposes only Image Credit: Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Interior has launched a smart alert system called “Missing Child Alert” to help find missing children, in collaboration with Facebook.

The United Arab Emirates is the first country in the Middle East region and the 20th country in the world to join the Facebook Missing Child Alert family

The first phase of the “Missing Child Alert” system was launched by Lieutenant General Saif Al Shafar, Undersecretary of the ministry, in the presence of consultant Alia Mohammad Saeed Al ketbi, Director of the Abu Dhabi Family Prosecution, Sara Shuhail, Director General of Ewa’a Centres Shelters for victims of Human Trafficking, and other officials.

If a Missing Child Alerts is activated by UAE Police and you are in the designated search area, the alert will appear on your Facebook page on your mobile and desktop device. The decision to declare an Alert is made by Ministry of Interior when investigating abductions. Once an Police has been notified about an abducted child, they must first determine if the case meets their Alert criteria, which are:

The child is under the age of eighteen years old

There is a reasonable belief that the child has been abducted

There is a reasonable belief that there is an immediate and serious risk to the health or welfare of a child

There is sufficient information available to enable the public to assist Ministry of Interior in locating the child

The alert will include important details about the child such as a photo, description, location of the abduction, and any other available information that can be provided to the public to aid in the search. People are also able share the alert with friends to further spread the word and help galvanize the community.

The alert will be deleted once the child is found. Lt. Gen Al Shafar said the ministry's partnership with Facebook is a leading step towards strengthening the ministry’s efforts in achieving its strategy aiming at enhancing safety and security in the country.

He said the ministry is planning to develop the “Missing Child Alert” system to include live alerts, in its efforts to harness the latest technologies and social media platforms in ensuring security and safety.

“The UAE has developed unprecedented standards to protect children and put their welfare at the top of its community policies."

The move aims to activate community responsibility and strengthen the ministry’s efforts in its quest to achieve security and safety in the country. The system will be activated only when a parent officially reports the missing child to the police.

Emily Vacher, Director of Trust and Safety said "We are proud to partner with the UAE Ministry of Interior to introduce the Missing Child Alert to help reunite families. When a child is missing, the most valuable thing we can do is get information out to the public as quickly as possible. With the scale of the Facebook community and innovative technologies, together with the UAE’s law enforcement agencies, we are committed to ensuring the safety of children across the country."