Gordon Vance, Director of Programs at the National Runaway Safeline in the US, kindly agreed to represent Child Helpline International at the May 2018 UN/DPI/NGO Tuesday Chat Series. The event was hosted by Child Helpline International’s partner, ICMEC (International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children) in New York City.
‘I was thrilled to participate in this international forum to discuss missing and runaway youth,’ said Gordon. ‘It was a great opportunity to share and promote the critical role that Child Helpline International and its 181 members in 147 countries have in providing 24 hour, 7 days a week, year round phone, chat and text-based helpline services and resources to youth and families in crisis.’
The Tuesday Chat Series provides a platform for NGOs and the NGO Relations Unit of the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) to engage in an informal discussion on thematic issues. Organised monthly, the Tuesday Chat Series is open to representatives of NGOs formally associated with DPI to join the conversation about ideas, initiatives and best practices that will help civil society organisations advance positive change and promote the UN agenda.
Gordon had been invited to share his experiences on missing youth, and to discuss the relationship between going missing and being sexually exploited and/or victimised by violence. He reflected upon the reasons young people run away, or are pushed out of their families, and the difficulties and exploitation they face. He talked about the support systems they need, and how child helplines are striving to help meet that need. He also highlighted the work of Child Helpline International and its member helplines who provide phone and digital-based crisis intervention and support services worldwide, and across cultures and languages.
Caroline Humer, the Director of ICMEC’s Global Missing Children’s Centre, also talked in detail about the new ICMEC/Child Helpline International joint programme to fight online sexual exploitation and abuse. The initiative allows us to support children in five countries: Jordan, Kenya, Peru, the Philippines and Romania.