In the city of Winnipeg, the number of missing person incidents has been rising in recent years. In 2015, there were 8,894 incidents of missing persons in Winnipeg. At the time, that was an all-time high. The numbers have only continued to increase. In 2017, there was nearly 11,000 incidents of missing persons reported in the Manitoba capital.
Many of those missing person cases are running away from Child and Family Services facilities according to the Winnipeg Police Service. They’re exposed to a variety of risks including being exploited by others.
Susan Chief of the Bear Clan Patrol knows the issue first hand. She grew up in the child welfare system and spent a lot of time on the streets. “What I tell the kids that I come across now, I tell them that these gang members are gonna tell you that they love you, they’re gonna tell you that they’re gonna get you this and get you that. Once you get caught for doing something and end up in jail or getting charges and things like that, they’ll turn their back just as quick.”
To mark missing children’s month, Chief, Winnipeg Police Service Sergeant Rick McDougall, Jessica Huzyk of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection and APTN Investigative reporter Martha Troian joined host Dennis Ward on InFocus to discuss missing children.
Chief says many people with missing loved ones turn to Bear Clan before police. But that may be because of a misconception that a missing loved one can not be reported missing for 24 hours.
McDougall says Winnipeg Police does not have a 24 hour waiting period. “If a loved one or a person has any reason to believe that a person is missing, they shouldn’t be where they’re supposed to be, they can call immediately and we’ll take immediate action.”
May 25th is International Missing Children’s Day.