Pan-European hotline for missing children agreed

11 Jun 2007

Fixed and mobile telecoms operators across Europe have signed Industry Guidelines for the implementation of the “116 000” pan-European hotline number for missing children.

The guidelines were signed in the presence of Rodolf Strohmeier, head of the cabinet of Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner of Information Society and Media.

The guidelines were agreed in co-operation with Missing Children Europe, Cable Europe, the European Competitive Telecommunications Association, the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association and GSM Europe.

The initiative follows the European Commission’s decision in February to reserve national numbers starting with “116” for pan-European services of social value and to attribute the first one to hotline services for missing children.

By agreeing the guidelines, the operators are being urged to make the 116 000 hotline number available and operational with minimum delays and to make all the necessary interconnect agreements to ensure all operators can carry the calls.

Many operators across Europe are already providing assistance to national missing children projects.

In related news, it emerged today that a total of 76 children have been rescued from abusive environments over the past year through the work of a new UK-based online child protection agency.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre directly, without the help of other agencies, saved 10 children and also smashed paedophile rings involving as many as 800 people.

By John Kennedy