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Online ads find missing children – European first for German AMBER Alert


28 Feb 2014


Justice & Home Affairs
Social Europe & Jobs

Hamburg (Germany), 28 February 2014

New addition to German AMBER Alert system presented at Dutch, Czech and German Police Expert Meeting organized by Initiative Vermisste Kinder and AMBER Alert Europe

In Germany, people surfing the web will be informed immediately and proactively of a missing child through online advertisements. Online ads will help widen the reach of AMBER Alerts in Germany, by adding to the many media already used to instantly alert all when a child goes missing, such as social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.), outdoor media (screens at train and tram stations) radio, TV, SMS text messages, email, etc. The new addition to the AMBER Alert system in Germany was developed by Ströer Media AG, a major player in outdoor and online advertising in Germany, together with Initiative Vermisste Kinder, Germany’s largest missing children organization. It is the first time online advertising will be used to help find missing children in Europe.

With this move, Germany follows the example of Google US, which in 2012 launched its add-on to the US AMBER Alert plan called Google AMBER Alert / Child Alert. However, in the US, Google only displays AMBER Alerts if you use Google Search to search for related information (such as the word ‘missing’), or if you use Google maps at a location a child was reported missing.

The German AMBER Alert takes this one step further: anyone in a specific area will see the photo and description of the missing child.

The new online advertising project is presented at an expert meeting for police specialists from the different German states and bordering countries, taking place in Hamburg, Germany. At the expert meeting, organized by Initiative Vermisste Kinder and AMBER Alert Europe, the Europe-wide child rescue alert initiative, police experts from the different German states, the Netherlands and Czech Republic discuss AMBER Alert criteria, technology, procedures and recent close-to-the-border cases.

“Anyone is eager to help find a missing child. Especially if it went missing from an area close to where you are. With this new medium, online advertising, we can target exactly those people. And, we can target multiple areas at the same time, for example the city where the child was taken but also the area where the child was last seen or might have been taken to. This makes online advertising a great addition to the media we are already using to alert all of an urgent missing child or child abduction,” says Lars Bruhns, president of the Initiative Vermisste Kinder.

“Research shows that of the children that are abducted and are later found to have been murdered, 76 percent is killed within the first 3 hours. So we only have minutes to make sure everyone to be on the lookout for a child. That is what AMBER Alerts are for. And that is why we feel an AMBER Alert should be issued via all media available – from email, text messages, highway signs, social media, radio and TV. It is great that now also online advertisements can be used to further increase the reach of an AMBER Alert. We therefor call on other providers of online advertisements to contact us, and follow this excellent example set by Ströer,” says Frank Hoen, founder of AMBER Alert Europe.


Press information and photography on the topic can be found on the website:

About Initiative Vermisste Kinder

Initiative Vermisste Kinder is the largest missing children organization in Germany. The organization offers support to parents and family when a child goes missing and helps the search for the child. Together with its partner organizations Initiative Vermisste Kinder uses billboards, social media, SMS and email to inform people on missing children. They recently launched a Google map with missing children and AMBER Alerts (child alerts). The organization also hosts the 116 000 number in Germany. This European hotline for missing children is an initiative of Missing Children Europe.

About AMBER Alert Europe

The aim of AMBER Alert Europe is to rescue children during the first hours after their abduction or after becoming the victim of human trafficking. On the website, you can see which children are missing in your country through the Google Child Alert and endangered missing children map.

People that want to help turn the AMBER Alert Europe platform into a real lifesaver in all EU member states, can register to receive free alerts and be updated on the latest child rescue alert developments in their country on


Please contact the AMBER Alert Europe Press office:


Phone: +32 2 808 2159


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