The 116.000, the Unique European Number for Missing Children, has been active in Italy since 25th May 2009 - the first International Missing Children's Day.

The 116.000 Service is an emergency hotline related to the Ministry of the Interior which, with the signing of a Protocol of Understanding on 25/05/2009, has entrusted its operational management to Telefono Azzurro.

In order to deal with the phenomenon of missing children and the variety of cases that this macro-category includes, the European Commission, with decisions taken on 15/07/2007 and 29/10/2007, allocated the 116 numbering range to services of social value, thus activating the 116.000 service and urging Member States to introduce it and make it operational.


116.000 Service

The service, which is geared towards the best interest of the child, is free, multilingual, active 24/7, reached by:

How we work

The 116.000 service receives reports of missing, spotted and found children and adolescents.

Once the necessary information has been obtained, the operator immediately contacts the competent local Law Enforcement Agencies (by phone) and draws up a report to be promptly forwarded (by pec or email) to them.

The 116000 service works in synergy and cooperation with 116000 hotlines in other EU Member States.

 If a report is made in a country where the European hotline for missing children is active, it is immediately forwarded to the hotline in order to cooperate in finding the missing child and protecting his/her rights.

Missing children and adolescents

Of the 61,826 missing people in Italy still to be traced since 1974, 45,028 are minors (about 73%). Of these, about 67% are of foreign nationality. There are 62,105 minors missing in Italy from 2014 to 2018, of which 31,087 have been found and 31,008 are still to be traced. In 2019, there were 8,331 reports of missing children in Italy, of which 5,736 were foreign minors and 2,955 were Italian.

At European level, in 2019, the 116.000 hotlines received 55,284 reports and handled 7,582 cases: of these, 55% involved unaccompanied foreign minors and 23% minors abducted by their parents.

 

The 116.000 service deal with all types of disappearance:

  • escape and removal from home, institution, community
  • child abduction
  • international child abduction
  • kidnapping
  • unaccompanied foreign minors
  • lost children, missing children, cases of disappearance not otherwise specified

 

International networks

The 116,000 is an active member and contributor to the projects and advocacy activities of:

Missing Children Europe is a European network consisting of 30 organisations active in 26 European and non-European countries with the aim of developing prevention and protection systems for missing children and adolescents. Particular attention is given to the issues of migration, trafficking and exploitation.

Telefono Azzurro, thanks to the signing of a memorandum with ICMEC, joins the Global Missing Children Network (GMCN), a network composed of law enforcement officers and NGOs from 28 countries and 5 continents, working on issues related to missing children (prevention, training, investigation, recovery).

 

Projects

The JUST project, co-financed by the European Commission and led by Telefono Azzurro with the support of the Government’s Extraordinary Commissioner for Missing Persons, started in October 2016 with the involvement of the Prefectures of Treviso, Milan, Naples, Reggio Calabria and Ragusa. The aim of the project was to train 116.000 hotline operators on specific topics related to the promotion and protection of the rights of unaccompanied foreign minors (MSNA), to support the various institutional and non-institutional actors involved in preventing and responding to the phenomenon of missing MSNA and to create an integrated system of stakeholders capable of providing effective responses to the phenomenon of missing MSNA, strengthening cooperation between the Prefectures and the 116.000 service.

A.S. Roma has partnered with Telefono Azzurro in Italy and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States to raise awareness about missing children, using the club’s official pages.

The campaign has led to the discovery of seven missing children. The latest result was the finding of a 17-year-old Italian girl, missing since 7 August 2020, whose photo was included in the video announcing the return of Roma player Chris Smalling.

The project includes the use of the “Not-Found Pages 404” of websites to disseminate images of missing children, in order to make it easier to find them.

The project “Minimizing violence through quality control: monitoring and evaluating 116,000 hotlines to prevent, support and protect missing children”, funded by the European Commission through the Daphne Programme, aims to develop a set of standards and quality indicators on the basis of which an accreditation mechanism has been built to which all 116.000 hotlines dealing with missing children should be submitted.

The AMINA project – designed by Missing Children Europe in cooperation with its member organisations – is based on the awareness that in an increasingly digitalised and interconnected world, cross-border cooperation activities are necessary to effectively combat the phenomenon of missing children. One of the main aims of the project is to improve the operational standards used by professionals working on international cases of unaccompanied foreign minors at risk of disappearance and/or exploitation in Europe.

In the context of the AMINA project, the INTERACT report was published in January 2020.

The handbook provides a practical guide for professionals and stakeholders to strengthen cooperation between different agencies and organisations at national and cross-border level to prevent and respond synergistically to the disappearance and trafficking of migrant children.

Further information