The organisation Missing Children Switzerland (MCS) has launched a new emergency number: 116 000. Around 25,000 Swiss children go missing every year.
The new freephone line was offered to MCS by the OFCOM (the Federal Office of Communications) in recognition of its mobilising work across the country. It is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in four languages (English, French, German, and Italian). Previously, MCS was reachable through a longer, shared-cost, number.
The announcement is part of a wider awareness-raising campaign by MCS timed to coincide with the International Missing Children’s Day on May 25. Each year, this day is observed around the world to raise awareness about child disappearance and to show support to parents who remain without news of missing children.
A sub-group of the continent-wide Missing Children Europe, MCS was founded in 2011 and offers advice and orientation, as well as coordination with the wider network in Europe: the 116 000 number is active across 31 European countries.
Coordination and fast reaction times are imperative in case of disappearance, said the organisation yesterday. This is particularly important in Switzerland, as 80% of the population lives close to a national border, at which point tracking becomes more complicated.
In Europe, 250,000 children are reported missing each year, while MCS estimates that 25,000 children run away from home in Switzerland each year. As of today, information is requested about 25 missing children reported on the organisation’s website.
swissinfo.ch with agencies/dos