The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) describes a missing person as ‘anyone whose whereabouts are not known and who is being sought by another person or other persons’. Research shows that people go missing for a variety of reasons; be it abduction, trafficking, fleeing, persecution, accident, natural disaster, organised crime, or conflict, amongst others.
The impact that a missing person has on their loved ones cannot be overestimated or exaggerated. It is a unique form of anguish and grief, guilt and hope, endless uncertainty and a lack of closure. A specific term has been adopted in acknowledgement and recognisance of this; ‘ambiguous loss.’ It can perhaps best be described as the coincidence of ‘a person being physically absent yet psychologically present,’ thus creating the painful paradox that is ‘missing.’
‘Missing’ is a phenomenon that does not differentiate between age, race, gender, creed, sexuality or other characteristic, identifiable or otherwise. It is, therefore, just as likely to occur in one country as in another, to one person as another, with merely the circumstances changing. Statistics are staggering, to give just a few examples:
In the United Kingdom, 186,000 people are reported missing every year.
In Ireland, over 9,000 people are reported missing each year since 2014.
In the United States of America, over 600,000 individuals go missing every year.
In Canada, over 73,000 people went missing in 2019.
In Australia, more than 38,000 missing persons reports are submitted to police each year.
In New Zealand, over 11,000 missing persons reports are submitted to police every year.
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raise awareness of the missing is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time
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