Archive for Runaways

Adam Elkadhiri found safe and Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj found deceased

I have just received word from a blog commenter that Adam Elkadhiri has been found safe and reunited with hus mother. I wish them both the best. I have also seen numerous articles that state Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj has been found deceased in New Mexico. Apparently he died from an uncontrolled seizure, having not taken medication for his condition. He has been added as a victim of family abduction. The new cases on the site are those of Brianna Acevedo and Isabella Mobley. Also, Anita Qvist, Patricia Thomas-Wardell, and James Zapolski have been added to the California Kids pages.

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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.

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Excellent article on runaway children

The New York Times has a featured article about runaways and the life they face on the streets. None of this is new information, of course. The facts that runaways are usually running away from some sort of serious problem and that they frequently engage in illegal activity to survive has been documented since the 70’s. Still, more coverage of the issue is needed as many still do not consider it a serious problem.

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