Criticism of the NCMEC: some red herrings

For what anyone would consider to be a group reasonably beyond reproach, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children receives more than its fair share of criticism. What makes these critiques similar is the use of red herrings to argue it is an organization devoted to profit and that it does not help the issue of missing children. I will address some of these claims here.

The biggest argument used about the NCMEC is that most missing children recovered by them are family abductions and runaway juveniles. This is true, of course. The NCMEC has never tried to deny this and has published several things about the problems of both. Implicit in this criticism is that these are not really significant problems and the only worry is true stranger abductions, which are rare. But it is truly the media who focuses on stranger abductions and makes them seem a disproportionate issue. And both runaways and parentally abducted children are endangered; the streets pose great dangers to a homeless teenager (who are often running from serious problems at home or school) and many parentally abducted children are abused or have even died at the hands of their abductor. The second criticism mentions that they do not respond under the Freedom of Information Act. However, that is for one simple reason: NCMEC is not a government organization. You can no more get documents from them under FOIA then you could about the private company you work for. The third is that NCMEC is a for-profit organization, or has been so in the past. I am uncertain about where this came from as none of it is true – NCMEC is not and has never been a for-profit organization.

I suspect these points will never die out and will be raised forevermore. Many of them I first saw in a misleading article in Fathering Magazine, but I have seen them in news accounts and from parental abductors who wish to whitewash their crimes. While I do not work for NCMEC and never have, I do applaud their work, especially since several other missing childrens’ organizations have been forced to shut down for lack of funds. Even so, when NCMEC does the lion’s share of the work with missing children, people still do not give them much deserved credit. this!

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Linda Williams said,

    March 17, 2010 @ 3:20 am

    Thank goodness for organizations that understand an abducted child, run away teen, these children are most at risk of danger. New information is hard to get posted and errors in original posts are even harder to clear up. If it were not for organizations such as this and others who care; it’s hard enough to deal with the loss alone, but not having someone who listens would drive the parent, friend, loved ones left behind with no voice. With the new technology kids are being found, some alive, it’s no time to bicker how now.

  2. 2

    forthelost said,

    March 17, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

    I’ve always found it amusing that the people who complain about the runaways and family abductions never mention the lost , injured, or otherwise missing that make up the third largest category, but that would actually make the issue seem important.

  3. 3

    Linda Williams said,

    March 18, 2010 @ 1:48 am

    I totally agree and with our new technology kids are being found. How many missing people out there just don’t even know who they are anymore. Does that mean we quit looking, I don’t think so.

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