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The stark reality of missing children’s families in Korea

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The stark reality of missing children’s families in Korea

Post  Guest on Mon 8 Feb - 5:14

Please end this Hide-and-Seek - The story of missing children’s families

February 08 2010

Broken hearts, broken families

Losing a member of a family not only breaks family members’ hearts but also breaks families. Firstly, a conjugal relationship starts to break once their loving child is lost in the world. Many missing children’s parents cannot bear seeing each other, because every time they look at each other’s face it reminds them of their missing child. As a result, they often end up getting divorced. “About 70% to 80% of missing children’s parents get divorced. Fathers turn to alcohol and mothers cry everyday. They stop talking to each other.” says Na Joo-bong (National Organization of Finding Missing Children and Family).


National Organization of Finding Missing Children and Family Representative: Na Joo-bong

In addition, some parents commit suicide. “One day, I tried to contact a mother from one family. However, I could not get in touch with her, so I visited her house and found out that she had committed suicide,” said Na.

Secondly, siblings of missing children also suffer. Parents have to spend a lot of time trying to find the missing child, unintentionally neglecting the children that are still beside them. As a result, those siblings of missing children feel a lack of love from their parents and have a hard time in getting along at school or in their social lives. They also suffer psychologically. When they lose the siblings interaction, they feel lonely and overwhelmed. As a result, a lot of brothers and sisters of missing children commit suicide or require psychological treatment.

Unsettled system for finding missing children

These families’ hearts are broken because of the insufficient systems for finding their missing children. Present missing children cases are handled by two different organizations, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Police Agency, confusing families of missing children. “They seem to compete for the cases, which should be taken care of quickly and thoroughly,” says Na Joo-bong. The research done by “Child Fund,” which analyzed 2207 missing children cases through 2005, says that if the initial countermeasure of missing children was done loosely, on average it takes 840 days and 500 million (Korean) won to find just one missing child.

There are only a few special teams of agents for finding missing children, and usually it is hard to expect those agents’ help, since they have too much work already. Moreover, research done by *Seoul Shinmun* shows that the number of policemen in charge of missing children are on average only two per police station, and those are in concurrent positions.

Inability in social activities

Missing children’s families need encouragement from others. However, it is not always hope that people give them, but rather discouragement and venomous remarks. When a child is lost, policemen and others first suspect the missing child’s own family members. Moreover, as the duration of the search gets longer, people blame the families of missing children for not trying hard enough to find them. This breaks the hearts of missing children’s families and they stop listening to others. They suffer from depression and are not able to socialize with other people.

Families of missing children need help from others, psychologically and financially. All the families of missing children need attention and support from other people. For example, on March 26th, 1991, five children of Daegu *Sengse* elementary school went out to pick frog eggs from Ryong Mountain. This case was so famous at the time and is still famous now, for those five children simultaneously disappeared. Other missing children cases occurred at that time got little attention from and were ignored. “The parents of those five children are also broken-hearted, but some feel that the families of other missing children hearts got broken twice. Their cases were of no interest to any media, and they had no one to help them,” says Na Joo-bong.

Pondering their sadness

To ponder the sadness of missing children’s families, the government and people around the missing children should help. First of all, cooperation between the Ministry of Health and the National Police Agency is necessary. The Ministry of Health deals with missing children who are in facilities for protection, campaigns for preventing missing children, and supports missing children as families.

The National Police Agency gets reports of missing children and searches for them. However, the work of finding missing children is complicated and complex. These two organizations have to share their data and work in coordination. An exclusive agent in police stations only assigned to missing children is needed. Moreover, the government has to train more professionals to find missing children.

In the United States, there are already “Laws for Missing Children.” In Korea, enacting laws for missing children has long way to go. The laws need to be enacted as soon as possible to reduce the pain for missing children’s families. Last but not least, the government should provide psychological treatment and financial help for missing children’s families.

People around missing children’s families should support them more. The information given to policemen or organizations is the biggest help for finding missing children. Giving their families sympathy and support provide them with heart-warming hope. Handing out fliers of the missing children and soothing their families’ hearts will also make the families feel much better.

Missing last goodbyes

Missing children had no chance to say goodbye to their loving families. Since there were no goodbyes, the families cannot let go of their sorrow. Broken families, a flawed system, and withdrawal from social activities should be cured, fixed, and helped. The sad story of losing a family member is not just someone else’s story, it could happen to any family. Ending this sad hide-and-seek for missing children’s families will make our society’s future bright.

http://annals.yonsei.ac.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=638
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Re: The stark reality of missing children’s families in Korea

Post  Guest on Sat 20 Feb - 8:45

Its sickening that these families have no hope in finding their children. Think of all the millions the McCanns have had and still Maddy is missing. Finding children is not about money, its the public who help not the authorities.
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