NEW YORK & WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® ((NCMEC) and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas (CCOA) (NYSE: CCO), subsidiary of iHeartMedia Inc., kicked off their ‘Summer of Hope’ billboard initiative, a national digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign calling attention to the plight of missing children and their families. Beginning today and leading into back-to-school time, Clear Channel will display images of missing children from Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland on the company’s digital bus shelters in Washington D.C. and digital billboards in Baltimore, Md. The initiative will expand in the coming weeks to other major cities, including Chicago, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn. and Los Angeles, Calif. The ‘Summer of Hope’ is part of the ‘Be Here for Kids’ campaign launched this past May by NCMEC and CCOA. ‘Be Here for Kids’ is a year-long national child safety awareness effort using digital billboards to communicate life-saving public safety messages, including “Never Wait 24 Hours to Report a Missing Child.”
Child safety continues to be a critical issue nationwide. In 2014, there were more than 460,000 reports of missing children made to law enforcement in the United States. Also, law enforcement agencies have seen a dramatic increase in cases of child sexual exploitation in recent years. Last year there were more than one million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation made to NCMEC’s CyberTipline®, a reporting mechanism for these crimes.
In a news conference earlier today at the National Press Club, Michelle Collins, COO, NCMEC, Toby Sturek, EVP, Specialty Businesses, CCOA, joined law enforcement officials and families of missing children from D.C., Alexandria, Va. and Temple Hills and Gaithersburg, Md., to speak with an audience of reporters and supporters, underscoring their continued hope in their search for answers and the need for ongoing support to bring missing children home safely.
According to NCMEC, photos are one of the most vital tools for law enforcement when searching for a missing child, and have the power to produce leads that can help law enforcement give families answers and help safely recover children. The Clear Channel out-of-home (OOH) activation enables NCMEC to reach as broad an audience as possible by distributing photos of missing children in targeted areas that can aid law enforcement with a search.
The ‘Be Here for Kids’ campaign was launched May 25, 2015 – National Missing Children’s Day. It is a digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaign to educate people across the country about the most important issues related to missing and exploited children, and direct them to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s free safety resources. The campaign has been showcased across the country in nearly all of Clear Channel Outdoor’s 38 U.S. markets including Washington D.C., Chicago and New York.
CCOA’s latest media support in conjunction with the ‘Be Here for Kids’ campaign allows the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to enhance its ‘Summer of Hope’ social media initiative by highlighting missing children on digital billboards throughout the country. The billboards include the child’s picture and direct the public to call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) with any information concerning the disappearance or current whereabouts of the missing child.
“Our latest effort with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children strengthens our commitment to making a difference in the lives of missing children and protecting others through greater public awareness,” said Toby Sturek, Executive Vice President, Specialty Businesses, CCOA. “Since 2008, we have used our digital billboards as a tool of local, state and federal law enforcement to aid in the apprehension of WANTED criminals and in AMBER Alerts for missing children. We know from experience and individual testimonials that our medium has been successful in helping other victims connect with a lifeline to safety. I join NCMEC in hoping that anyone with information about these children will reach out and call 1-800-THE–LOST.”
“When we share photos of a missing child, we invite everyone who sees the photos to be a part of the search to bring that child home,” said Michelle Collins, NCMEC’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are very grateful to Clear Channel Outdoor for their generous support in helping us engage the public by featuring the faces of missing children on billboards throughout the country. I would urge anyone with information about a case to please call 1-800-THE-LOST. Your tip could help law enforcement find a missing child.”
To learn more about the campaign www.behereforkids.org.
To download EPK including b-roll of the billboards and NCMEC www.missingkids.com/behereforkids
For regional missing children alerts http://www.missingkids.com/RSS
About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and resource center providing services for law enforcement, families and the public to help find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent child victimization. Designated by Congress to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on these issues, NCMEC operates a hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678), and has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 208,500 children. NCMEC also operates the CyberTipline, a mechanism for reporting suspected child pornography, child sex trafficking and other forms of child sexual exploitation. Since it was created in 1998, more than 5.7 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation have been received, and more than 148 million suspected child pornography images have been reviewed. NCMEC works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To learn more about NCMEC, visit www.missingkids.com. Follow NCMEC on Twitter and like NCMEC on Facebook.
About Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CCO) is one of the world’s largest outdoor advertising companies with more than 640,000 displays in over 40 countries across Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Reaching millions of people monthly, including consumers in 45 of the top 50 U.S. markets, Clear Channel Outdoor enables advertisers to engage with consumers through innovative advertising solutions. Clear Channel Outdoor is pioneering the integration of out-of-home with mobile and social platforms, and the company’s digital platform includes over 1,200 digital billboards across 38 markets in North America and over 5,000 digital displays in international markets. More information is available at www.clearchanneloutdoor.com and www.clearchannelinternational.com.
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