AS Roma

AS Roma To Leverage Social Media Popularity To Find Missing Children

July 2, 2019

AS Roma have partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy to use the club’s social media channels to raise awareness about the plight of missing children this summer.

With each player signing announcement the club makes this summer, a video will be released that will feature the faces and details of a number of children who are currently missing – with the goal of generating publicity that could result in someone, somewhere, offering valuable information about the whereabouts of the missing child.

Initially, the club will release two videos per player announcement through its social media accounts – one featuring Italian children, and one featuring American teenagers. The club is currently in talks with a British charity about providing information and photos on more children currently missing in Europe.

The details of the children featured in the videos, all of whom are currently missing, have been provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the United States and Telefono Azzurro in Italy, after the club partnered with both organisations for the initiative this summer.

NCMEC works with families, victims, private industry, law enforcement, and the public to assist with preventing child abductions, recovering missing children, and providing services to deter and combat child sexual exploitation.

Telefono Azzurro operates a direct line for people to call regarding missing children. In Italy, on average a child goes missing every seven days – and only 18% of those are eventually brought home.

The two non-profits form part of the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN), an international group that helps government agencies and non-profit organisations across 30 countries and five continents work together to try and find missing and abducted children throughout the world. Both organisations collaborate extensively in order to increase the chances of finding missing individuals.

Paul Rogers, head of strategy at AS Roma said: “The idea for the new transfer announcement initiative actually came from reading an article about the 25th anniversary of Soul Asylum’s ‘Runaway Train’ video, which famously highlighted actual cases – with photos and names – of children missing at the time.

“Taking inspiration from the use of milk cartons to display a photo of a missing child in America, the band’s video director Tony Kaye decided to use the medium of a pop video played on MTV and music channels globally to try and help find 36 missing children. In the end, I think they helped locate 21 children. There were four versions of the video made, two for the United States and one each for the UK and Australia.

“With Roma, we thought, we could try and do something similar but updated for the social media generation, which didn’t exist when Soul Asylum released their video. We want to use the viral nature of social media transfer announcements to help raise awareness for missing children. We have a massive social media following and our announcements generate incredible reach and awareness, all over the world, so we thought that at the exact moment when the world’s attention is on the club’s announcement, we could use our social media channels not for self-promotion but rather to help both the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Telefono Azzurro find missing children.”

John Clark, chief executive and president of NCMEC said: “It’s an incredible initiative and a very innovative way to help tackle a universal issue. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children assists with more than 25,000 missing children cases in the United States every year. If this initiative – using the power of social media – can raise awareness about not just the missing children featured, but also the work we do year-round, in terms of raising awareness and preventative measures, then it will have been a success.

“NCMEC sees first-hand the importance of not losing hope when it comes to finding a missing child. We know that children come home after days, years, and decades of being missing. We depend on organisations like AS Roma to spread awareness and use their voice for change. We could not be prouder of AS Roma for spreading awareness on a global scale.”

Ernesto Caffo, president of Telefono Azzuro, added: “We are thankful to AS Roma for creating this opportunity to shine a light on the serious issue of missing children, a cause that too often receives little coverage in mainstream media. This important initiative is an opportunity to raise public awareness of an issue that affects so many families throughout the world, and also for different countries to come together and attempt to find common solutions to the issue, across borders.
“The international community needs to push towards a target of wider collaboration on this issue, something we have been working on in Italy with co-operation between national institutions, law enforcement agencies and the legal system.”


AS Roma