Law enforcement is inundated with shortages of resources and an overwhelmed workforce. Couple that with talks of reform and defunding, the profession is bending over backward to meet the demands of the job. Fortunately, a lot of resources are stepping up to extend assistance needed when they’re shorthanded. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the United States Marshals Service’s (USMS) Missing Child Unit are providing support to missing and exploited child cases for more comprehensive and focused operations.
This session’s speakers are Laura Joyner and Angela Aufmuth. Laura is a Senior Inspector for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Missing Child Unit (MCU). Meanwhile, Angela is the Executive Director of Analytical Programs in the Analytical Services Division of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Together, they will be discussing what their respective organizations can offer to provide support for missing and exploited children cases. Specifics include:
- What the USMS and NCMEC are and what they have been doing for missing and exploited children cases.
- Defining what a missing child is and understanding the prevalence of this issue.
- The different classification of missing children based on the circumstances surrounding the case.
- How the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act provided the USMS with the authority to support local law enforcement agencies with missing and exploited child cases and the scope and limits of the mandate.
- Statistics from the USMS and the NCMEC that exhibit each organization’s work and success in providing support towards solving these cases.
- Getting to know the missing children by understanding some of their common characteristics.
- Ways to connect with the local Marshals’ office and NCMEC to employ their help.
- The different divisions within NCMEC and the resources they utilize and provide to conduct a thorough missing child operation.
- Other support structures and resources available to support the cases
- Team ADAM that utilizes retired law enforcement officers with specialized skills in missing child cases.
- Team HOPE which is made up of individuals who are family members who had a missing child in the past or had lived experience of being a missing or exploited child.
- NCMEC’s Family Advocacy Division (FAD) that provides professional emotional support and guidance to families.
- CST Recovery Services Team which coordinates the USMS as they assist in these cases and prepare a recovery plan specific for sex trafficking cases.
- Steps to help missing children, their families, and the agencies working on these cases through:
- Prompt reporting of cases to law enforcement and NCMEC
- Familiarizing with the scope and limits of the USMS’ mandate in terms of working on missing child cases.
- Proactively building relationships with the different stakeholders that can provide help when working on a missing child operation or recovery.
- The importance of changing the mindset about these children, treating them with respect, attending to their needs, and remembering that they are victims.
- Working on protocols that ensure the safety of both the recovered child and the officers involved.
Questions and comments from the audience were about:
- Assisting in cases of trafficked Native American youth.
- The best way to reach out to one’s local USMS office.
- Handing off of a recovered child from the USMS to the local law enforcement.
- The value of raising awareness about missing and exploited children.
- Entities to coordinate with when locating missing children outside the US.
- How the USMS can only provide support and that the local law enforcement remains to be the owner of the cases.
- How NCMEC case numbers are assigned when there is more than one child missing.
- Volunteering for NCMEC.
- Informing local agencies of and raising awareness on the immediate support the USMS can provide.
Resources and Handouts
- USMS Missing Child Law Enforcement Assistance
- Child Sex Trafficking in America: A Guide for Child Welfare Professionals
- “I really liked that we learned what the Marshalls can’t do and that is helpful.” — Stephanie
- “Before participating in this webinar, I didn’t realize the breadth of resources available to LE (and families, survivors) from NCMEC and USMS. I will definitely be reaching out to both Laura & Angela for more info regarding how my agency can benefit from the available resources on our child MP cases and suspected CST cases.” — Rosemary
- “GREAT presentation, this topic especially is so important to me as I care so much about the exploited, missing, trafficked children, and my heart goes out to them! Thank you so much presenters, and Justice Clearinghouse! Aaron, you did a great job facilitating as always.”– Nicole
- “You 2 are who I want to be when I grow up. I’ve referred a lot of people to NCMEC but had only a general idea of what you did. I am blown away and thank you to USMS for standing up this unit as well. Bless you and be safe.” — Kirsten
- “AMAZING Webinar! Valuable information and thank you to Laura and Angela for the work they do, it is so very important! Thank you Justice Clearing House!” — Kathy
- “As an Intelligence Analyst, it was refreshing to see the many contributions the analytical support section provides to find the missing children and the various agencies assisting with the mission.” — Angelique