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116 000 Missing Children's Helpline


If you're feeling overwhelmed to the point where being in your usual environment is tough, and the thought of running away from home crosses your mind, please consider sharing your concerns or your urge to escape with someone. Dial 116 000 first, and let's discuss things together. Running away tends to lead to new problems instead of solutions, and the life of a runaway youth is fraught with dangers. Runaway young individuals could fall victim to abuse, end up homeless, or even become unwell. There are better alternatives than running away.

The 116000 Missing Children's Helpline service was launched in Estonia at the beginning of 2011, funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs. 116 000 is the pan-European helpline number for missing children. You can report missing children to 116 000 both in Estonia and in some other European countries.

What is the purpose of the Missing Children's Helpline?

The main goal of the Missing Children's Helpline is to provide initial guidance on how to handle a situation. If needed, we also offer crisis counseling and emotional support to both parents whose children have gone missing and to young people who have run away from home or gotten lost.

How does the Missing Children's Helpline work?

The phone number 116 000 is open 24/7 and is free for all callers. We have staff who can respond in Estonian, Russian, and English. You can reach out to us whether you're contemplating running away from home or have already done so and just want someone to talk to.

Who are the missing children?

  • Children who have run away from home or care institution
  • Children who have been abducted by one or both parents
  • Children abducted by criminals
  • Children who are lost, injured, or missing in other ways
  • Minors who are reported as missing
  • Unaccompanied immigrant children

Some facts:

  • In Europe, a report of a missing child comes in every two minutes.
  • Approximately 25% of runaway youths are exposed to serious risks, such as sexual abuse and human trafficking.
  • Many young people who run away from home find themselves in precarious situations they're ill-prepared to handle.
  • A young person who runs away from home and lacks a support system may easily fall into depression, which can be incredibly challenging to overcome.
  • The absence of food and shelter – hunger isn't merely uncomfortable but also weakens one's physical condition and can lead to illness due to a compromised ability to fight off viruses and diseases.

If a child is not happy at home and wants to leave, they should call 116 000 before doing anything else. This number can also be used to tell about missing children.

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