Children are the most likely group of people to be reported as missing. Teenagers aged 15 to 17, in both genders, are much more likely than younger children to be reported as having disappeared. For parents, the possibility that a child might disappear is an absolute nightmare. But not all cases of child disappearances are due to nefarious reasons. It is, after all, possible for children to lose their way, particularly in crowds. Most disappeared cases are solved within a day as well. Then again, it’s important to be aware of the possibility that a child could disappear to prevent it from happening in the first place. See below for a list of common reasons why so many children disappear each year:
Most missing people cases involving children are caused by runaways. In fact, roughly 50 percent of child disappearances cases are the result of teens running away from home. Teenagers under 16 are considered minors by law. If a teen is reported as having disappeared, the case would be treated as a child disappearance and will be promptly investigated. Runaway disappearances have many reasons. Most kids run away from home to avoid abuse, conflict, and in some cases, neglect. Children placed in institutions like foster care are also highly likely to run away. Runaways can also be caused by coercion. There have been a number of reported cases where young children have been groomed by online predators to run away from home only to be exploited later. Most runaways end up on the streets, sleeping roughly, resorting to petty crime, and also likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. A large number of runaways also suffer from mental illnesses like depression.
Parental Child Abductions
Parental child abductions shockingly cause a number of child disappearances each year. This is a form of kidnapping that occurs when two parents, often fighting over custody, take a child away without the other parent knowing or willingly consenting. Even if the parent that takes the child is not running away with the kid, the cases will be treated as an abduction. Some parental child abductions seriously harm the child. It’s not uncommon for some abducting parents to harm the children just to get back at other parent. Some parents might take a child against the other parent’s knowledge and run away overseas to avoid custody orders. Regardless of the reason for the parental abduction, children do get hurt, either emotionally or physically, by parental abduction.
Unaccompanied Migrant Children
Migrant children face harrowing journeys into regions like the U.S., Australia, and the E.U. and disappear. If a child is underage and is crossing borders without being accompanied by an adult, then that child is considered missing or uncared for by law. Some migrant children cross borders with their families, only to get lost in the crows or the new country. Unaccompanied migrant children are highly at risk for exploitation, disease, and abuse. They can be exploited by criminal gangs that prey on vulnerable children, in addition to all the other risks disappeared children face.
Kidnapping by a third party unknown to the parents of children, the most well-feared type of child disappearance, can also be a reason. However, these kidnappings occur more rarely compared to the reasons given above.