Law Enforcement Resources from NCMEC

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children logoIn 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children opened its doors to serve as the nation’s clearinghouse on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children.1 Although a nonprofit organization, NCMEC also receives congressional authorization to perform 22 programs and services to assist law enforcement, families, and the professionals who serve them.2 Most widely known for the national toll-free hotline 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678) and missing children photos, NCMEC has numerous other resources and services available to law enforcement.

Some important facts about NCMEC include the following:

  • NCMEC has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 205,550 missing children since it was founded in 1984.
  • As of January 2015, NCMEC’s toll-free hotline has received more than 4,096,795 calls since it was created in 1984.3
  • As of January 2015, the CyberTipline has received more than 3.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation since it was launched in 1998.4
  • As of January 2015, NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed and analyzed more than 132 million sexually exploitive images and videos since it was created in 2002.5

Technical assistance

NCMEC provides technical assistance to law enforcement, specifically in missing children cases and combatting child sexual exploitation.

  • Child Sex Trafficking team. Provides technical assistance and analysis in cases of domestic child sex trafficking
  • Child Victim Identification program. Serves as the central repository in the U.S. for information relating to child victims depicted in sexually exploitive images and videos
  • Project ALERT. A team of approximately 170 retired local, state, and federal law enforcement professionals who volunteer their time and experience to the law enforcement community. The team provides technical assistance regarding long-term investigations, collects biometric information, and provides outreach
  • Missing Children Clearinghouse and Poster Distribution. Easy to search database with ready-to-print posters
  • Sex offender tracking. Provides assistance to federal, state, and local law enforcement in its efforts to locate and apprehend noncompliant sex offenders by providing technical assistance and analysis
  • Team Adam. Provides rapid, on-site assistance to law-enforcement agencies and families in cases of critically missing children. Team Adam consultants are retired law enforcement professionals with years of investigative experience at the federal, state, and local levels
  • Victim and family support. Proactively helps families, law enforcement, social service agencies, and mental health agencies by providing a support network for child victims and their families


NCMEC provides training at no cost to law enforcement personnel and others who investigate cases of crimes against children, specifically cases of missing children and child sexual exploitation. Traditional classroom training is held in Alexandria, Virginia, and at various locations across the country. Self-paced online courses are available through the NCMEC University Online.

Traditional training courses:

  • Forensic Imaging Training. One-week course provides training in forensic imaging techniques.
  • Child Sex Trafficking: Awareness and Response (CSTAR).
  • Three-and-a-half-day training focuses on the multitude of issues regarding child sex trafficking cases and the unique dynamics associated with this population. There is an online prerequisite for this course.
  • Missing Children Seminar for Chief Executives. Two-day seminar that familiarizes police chiefs, sheriffs, and 911 supervisors with issues related to missing child cases including effective policies and practices, technical assistance, training, and free NCMEC resources.

Online courses:

  • Introduction to Child Sex Trafficking Awareness and Response. Focuses on the unique dynamics involved in working with a minor victims of sex trafficking including risk factors making individuals vulnerable to sex trafficking, the recruitment and seasoning process, various rules and beliefs of the sex trafficking culture, adolescent development, victim differences, trauma bonding, dissociative disorders, and the role and purpose of a multi-disciplinary team. This is the prerequisite for the 3 ½ day CSTAR course.
  • Missing Children Clearinghouse Training. Developed to familiarize participants with a current proposal for NCMEC's call center assistance program, resources available to assist unaccompanied minors during a disaster, and the role of the U.S. Marshals Service in identifying and locating sex offenders displaced during a disaster.
  • Missing Children: Dynamics and Response 2. Focuses on response strategies and provides a broad understanding of the nature of the problem of missing and abducted children, the key laws enacted to address these issues, the characteristics of child victims, the response needed for missing children with special needs, working with the media, policy development, and the NCMEC resources/technical assistance available.
  • Telecommunications Best Practices for Missing and Abducted Children. Online training course that provides public safety telecommunicators, call takers, and dispatchers with the tools and training needed to promote swift and decisive response in the critical, early stages of missing and abducted child cases.

Other resources

NCMEC provides a library of resources that can assist law enforcement with missing or sexually exploited children cases and prevention of these risks.


If you think you have information about a missing child or suspected child sexual exploitation, report it to law enforcement and NCMEC at 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678).

If you have information about suspected child sexual exploitation, including the exploitation of children by the possession, manufacture, distribution, or receipt of child pornography, report it to NCMEC’s CyberTipline or call 800-843-5678.


1 “About Us,” National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, accessed July 16, 2015,
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
5 Ibid.

Back to top

August Photo Contest Winner | Resources from NCMEC | About OJP Diagnostic Center