November marks National Runaway Prevention Month. It’s an effort to call attention to the estimated 1.6 to 2.8 million children in a year who run away.
Reporting a missing person is the first step a family member or other loved one can take when faced with this situation. There is also the Missing Persons Checklist available from the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Leads to the whereabouts of missing persons can also be submitted.
For those out on the street, resources are available. Call 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) to speak with someone. All calls are confidential.
There are resources in Ohio, too. For example, Huckleberry House, commonly known as Huck House, is located in Columbus. Its mission is: “Reaching young people and their families to build stronger lives.” The 24-hour crisis shelter and crisis hotline number there is 614-294-5553.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has long been an advocate for the safety and welfare of all children, including the special vulnerability of runaways. For example, as a United States Senator, DeWine was a founding member and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children.
Shortly after becoming Ohio’s Attorney General earlier this year, DeWine continued an effort he started when he was a U.S. Senator. Envelopes sent out by several sections of the Attorney General’s Office carry the image and information of missing children from Ohio. The envelopes reach upwards of 100,000 recipients every two months.
Attorney General DeWine has also reconvened the Human Trafficking Commission. It’s looking at ways to combat human trafficking with help from crime victim advocates, to law enforcement, to faith-based organizations, to elected officials.
What amounts to modern-day slavery finds as one of its targets runaways. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that at least 100,000 American children become engaged in child prostitution and child trafficking each year.
During November and throughout the year, think about what you can do to help those who have run away or are thinking about it. Whether it’s talking with your own children, volunteering, or being aware of those who have been reported missing, you can make a difference.