MONTREAL — A Quebec non-profit group is launching a public awareness campaign for the cases of 35 missing children through a partnership with MSN Quebec.
Throughout May, which is Missing Children's Month, the MSN website will display records of children whose disappearances date from a few months ago to a few years ago.
"They have close to a million visitors a day on their website, so imagine the number of people who will become aware of this," said Pina Arcamone, executive director of the Missing Children's Network.
"Maybe someone in this group will have the information that will ultimately allow a family to have closure," she said, noting that partnering with MSN Quebec will also help the organization share safety tips.
Arcamone said the Missing Children's Network has become a reference point for groups at home and abroad — particularly in Europe's French-speaking countries — taking on 32 cases of missing children outside of Canada.
"For us, there is no border when we talk about missing children," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
"All we want is communicate the information that a child is missing, support the family and work with the authorities so that we can find these young people and, above all, bring them home."
Runaways account for between 75 per cent and 80 per cent of all reports, according to Arcamone
The number of missing children in Quebec fell by 18 per cent last year, due mainly to a steep drop in the number of runaways reported to police.
There were 5,927 reports of missing children to police in Quebec in 2018 compared to 7,025 the previous year, according to an annual RCMP report listing all missing children across Canada.
"I believe that young people are better equipped today to better recognize risk situations. They also know the importance of seeking help if they find themselves in difficult situations," Arcamone said.
"I hope that prevention and awareness campaigns are starting to bear fruit."