Blaine wants missing children legislation
Children’s rights advocate and founder of lobby group Hear the Children’s Cry, Betty Ann Blaine, is calling for the government to introduce a missing children legislation.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch of national missing children’s awareness week, Blaine argued that there is a need for laws to be in place to deal with the issue of missing children.
She says stronger measures are needed to punish those who hurt children.
Blaine says the issue requires greater attention and action from the government and law enforcement.
Meanwhile, Blaine says her organisation will be working with the United States-based International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children to look at models to design the legislation.
She says thereafter she will be making representation to parliament.
Blaine says the situation of missing children in Jamaica is now a crisis.
While noting that 75 per cent of missing children are reunited with their families, she says many are still unaccounted for.
According to Hear the Children’s Cry, 622 children have been reported missing since January.
It says four hundred of these children have returned home, while nine have died.
Meanwhile, Policy Director for Latin America and the Caribbean for the Centre, Katia Dantas, says the issue of missing children is a global problem.
She says it is difficult to deal with because there is no international consensus on the definition of a missing child.