Skip to main content
group of bikers riding down a road, two ladies holding hands, woman looking at a wall of missing children posters, group of Team HOPE members standing in the shape of a heart, four men in rescue gear
Our Impact Missing Children Child Sexual Exploitation Prevention Archives

Our 2022 Impact

In 1984, John and Revé Walsh and other child advocates founded the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) as a private, non-profit organization to serve as the national clearinghouse and resource center for information about missing and exploited children.

During the last 39 years, our national toll-free hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST®, has received more than 5 million calls. We’ve circulated billions of photos of missing children. We’ve assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with more than 400,000 cases of missing children who were recovered.

Every child deserves a safe childhood.

At NCMEC, hope drives us and fuels our promise to never stop. The threats our kids face are constantly evolving, and we work hard every day to identify those threats and figure out how to better protect children. And while the way we do our work is ever-evolving, our commitment to children will never falter.

Here’s a look at what we saw in 2022 and the impact we're making in the fight to protect children.

missing child poster, man holding up poster of missing children, three people talking in a newsroom, forensic artist working, hand holding photo of a missing child, missing children posters on a fence


Unfortunately, since many children are never reported missing, there is no reliable way to determine the total number of children who are actually missing in the U.S.

When a child is reported missing to law enforcement, federal law requires that child be entered into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). According to the FBI, in 2022 there were 359,094 NCIC entries for missing children.* In 2021, the total number of missing child entries into NCIC was 337,195.

* This number represents reports of missing children. That means if a child runs away multiple times in a year, each instance would be entered into NCIC separately and counted in the yearly total. Likewise, if an entry is canceled and re-entered, that would also be reflected in the total.


When a child goes missing, NCMEC’s call center specialists are trained to help families navigate through some of the worst moments of their lives. These specially-trained operators are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take reports of missing children, tips from the public about sightings of missing children and reports of suspected child sexual exploitation online.

In 2022, NCMEC’s call center received 110,153 calls, a 16% increase from 2021.

One of the things that makes NCMEC unique is our team of analysts who use donated technology and  public records sources to add information to the leads we receive, making them even more actionable for law enforcement.

In 2022, NCMEC responded to 2,741 requests for information to support the recovery of missing children.

In 2022, NCMEC assisted law enforcement, families and child welfare with 27,644 cases of missing children.*

Children Intaked at NCMEC Between 1/1/2022 and 12/31/2022 
Organized by Case Type and Case Status

Case Type Case Status Total
  Active Resolved  
Endangered Runaway 2,999 22,347 25,346
Family Abduction 316 923 1,239
Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing 9 102 111
Missing Young Adult 88 762 850
Nonfamily Abduction 3 95 98
Grand Total 3,415 24,229 27,644
Overall recovery of NCMEC cases- 89.9% in 2021

*The data in this section includes all missing cases reported to us, including some missing young adults (age 18-20). The PROTECT Act of 2003 contains a provision, known as Suzanne’s Law, that recognizes the U.S. Congress’ concern for the safety of missing young adults. With the passing of this provision NCMEC resources can also be utilized in cases involving missing 18, 19 and 20-year-old individuals.  

Children who run away make up a majority of the missing child cases reported to us. These children are highly vulnerable and face many risks including homelessness, gang involvement and child sex trafficking. See below for more data related to child sex trafficking.

Family abductions are the second most common type of missing case reported to NCMEC, with more than 1,200 in 2022 alone. These are very serious situations, affecting a child’s physical and emotional health. Click here to hear from a father whose horrific ordeal has been going on for more than two years, after his 6-year-old daughter was taken by her non-custodial mother, vanishing into thin air.

Missing Children by Age and Race/Ethnicity

Children Intaked at NCMEC Between 1/1/2022 and 12/31/2022 
Organized by Child's Age Group and Race/Ethnicity

bar graph

Age Group

Age Groups Asian Black Hispanic Multiracial Native American Pacific Islander White Unknown Grand Total
0 to 2 10 160 100 60 9 0 139 23 501
3 to 5 8 96 58 40 5 0 90 11 308
6 to 8 1 70 36 31 6 0 75 12 231
9 to 11 5 146 57 41 10 3 107 24 393
12 to 14 25 2,311 1,160 641 93 26 1,705 244 6,205
15 to 17 101 5,987 4,302 1,703 263 111 6,149 495 19,111
18 to 20 2 325 128 54 10 0 282 40 841
Unknown 0 17 6 1 1 0 10 19 54
Grand Total 152 9,112 5,847 2,571 397 140 8,557 868 27,644

Please note that the datapoints reflected in this report (e.g., race, gender) are limited to the fields that were available within our databases during this time period.

Missing Children by State

Missing children are reported to us by parents, guardians or law enforcement. With the exception of children missing from care, there is no mandatory reporting of missing children to NCMEC. Below is a breakdown of cases by state reported to NCMEC in 2022. This does not represent all missing children in every state. A large number of cases does not indicate a particular issue within a state, but it is an indicator of active reporting of missing children within that state. For all children reported missing in your state, contact your missing child clearinghouse.

Children Intaked at NCMEC Between 1/1/2022 and 12/31/2022
Organized by Missing State/U.S. Territory and Case Status

US map chart
Missing State Case Status Total
  Active Resolved  
AK 5 55 60
AL 57 181 238
AR 30 229 259
AZ 144 563 707
CA 431 1,636 2,067
CO 66 489 555
CT 20 129 149
DC 2 25 27
DE 7 51 58
FL 237 2,149 2,386
GA 106 556 662
HI 18 168 186
IA 7 53 60
ID 14 92 106
IL 116 945 1,061
IN 65 421 486
KS 52 530 582
KY 34 184 218
Missing State Case Status Total
  Active Resolved  
LA 49 253 302
MA 77 838 915
MD 78 524 602
ME 1 14 15
MI 54 425 479
MN 24 195 219
MO 88 640 728
MS 21 103 124
MT 1 19 20
NC 78 470 548
ND 8 82 90
NE 17 171 188
NH 3 97 100
NJ 49 171 220
NM 15 112 127
NV 58 280 338
NY 235 2,486 2,721
OH 166 1,455 1,621
Missing State Case Status Total
  Active Resolved  
OK 44 276 320
OR 36 412 448
PA 136 983 1,119
PR 9 19 28
RI 34 544 578
SC 57 335 392
SD 3 9 12
TN 100 402 502
TX 338 2,806 3,144
UT 13 109 122
VA 65 303 368
VI 0 1 1
VT 5 45 50
WA 68 887 955
WI 24 219 243
WV 16 70 86
WY 2 13 15
Unknown 32 5 37
Grand Total 3,415 24,229 27,644

This is a one-year snapshot of 2022.
This does not include active cases from previous years where a child was still missing in 2022. This chart also includes recoveries in 2022 of children who were reported missing in previous years. A child that was reported missing on Dec. 31, 2022, would still be listed as active on this chart.

Children Missing from Care

There are many reasons why children run away, especially from social services’ care. Running behavior is often connected to a trauma response or an unmet need in the child’s life. They may be triggered by something in their placement. For example, they may run if they are placed in homes or communities where their identity, culture or religion is not understood or accepted or they feel emotionally or physically unsafe.

In 2022, NCMEC assisted with 21,494 cases of children missing from care.

Other factors outside of their placement may also entice them to leave. These can include wanting to connect with non-custodial family members or friends, a desire to take back control of their lives or being lured by traffickers or gangs who promise safety, family, love and belonging.

These children face many risks. In fact, 18% of the children who ran from the care of social services and were reported missing to NCMEC in 2022, were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

Federal legislation enacted in 2014 requires state agencies to report a missing child to both law enforcement and NCMEC within 24 hours of receiving information about a missing child under their care. For more information click here.


One of the first ways people are introduced to NCMEC is through the AMBER Alert program. AMBER Alerts are activated by law enforcement in the most serious child-abduction cases.

We’ve been asked by the U.S. Department of Justice to handle the secondary distribution of these alerts, which includes cell phones, social media, billboards and more.

AMBER Alerts ask the public to take an active role in helping bring a missing child home. When two sanitation workers in Louisiana saw an AMBER Alert for a missing 10-year-old girl, they never could have guessed they would be the ones to rescue her. Watch that incredible story here.

Learn more about the AMBER Alert program and get answers to frequently asked questions here.


When a child has been missing for more than two years, a photograph may no longer show what that child looks like currently. NCMEC’s specialized artists working on the forensic imaging team create age-progression images of children as they mature so the public has a more accurate representation of what that child may look like now.

For families of long-term missing children, these images often provide hope; but may also be a reminder of the years that have passed without their child. Read more about the journeys our families take as they watch their children grow up in pictures. 


In 2022, NCMEC’s forensic artists age-progressed 217 long-term missing children, and 7,604 since the team began this work in 1989. 

This team of artists also creates facial reconstructions for unidentified deceased children. They work closely with our case managers who are helping law enforcement determine the child’s identity. Until we’re able to give them their name back, we can give them their face.
In 2022, NCMEC’s forensic artists created 21 facial reconstructions for unidentified deceased children, and 657 to date.
Overall, NCMEC has assisted in 270 identifications of unidentified deceased children.

Georgia Cold Case Solved After 23 Years

Someone in the public recognized NCMEC’s facial reconstruction of a 6-year-old boy found deceased in 1999 in Dekalb County, Georgia and called us. After 23 years, that little boy finally got his name back: William Deshawn Hamilton. Watch the incredible story.

Forensic Genealogy 

When the remains of a child are found with little to no clues as to their identity, it can be very challenging for law enforcement to determine who that child was or who was responsible for their death. But advancements in DNA and genealogy are revolutionizing the search for answers. NCMEC partners with labs and genealogists to help law enforcement trace a child’s DNA to relatives who may have uploaded their own sample to popular online DNA databases. 

These incredible partnerships are helping finally solve decades-old cases, like the little girl known only as Opelika Jane Doe. Because of forensic genealogy, we now know her name was Amore

In 2023, NCMEC assisted with 24 cases solved through the use of genealogy.

Team Adam

Named in honor of Adam Walsh, Team Adam provides rapid, onsite assistance to law enforcement and families during critical cases involving missing children. They are retired law enforcement professionals with years of experience at the federal, state and local levels.

In 2022, at the request of law enforcement, Team Adam deployed to the scene of 17 cases of critically missing children and did virtual consultations on an additional 2critical cases. They have deployed 1,275 times since Team Adam began in 2003.

Team Adam consultants also assist law enforcement with long-term missing cases, bringing knowledge of landfill assessments, search and rescue, biometrics collection and the integration of all other available NCMEC resources. Learn how one Team Adam consultant is using his own pain to help others. 

Attempted Abductions

In order to better inform law enforcement, the public and our safety materials, NCMEC tracks and analyzes attempted child abductions and related incidents. Analyzing these crimes enables us to teach families how to better protect their children and provide law enforcement with tools that can help guard their communities. For more information about how these crimes occur, click here.

In 2022, NCMEC tracked 327 attempted abductions involving 395 children, with a total of 15,237 incidents involving 19,275 children since we began tracking in 2005.

four kids pulling on a rope, person on a swing holding a cell phone, Michelle DeLaune shaking hands with a man, NCMEC employee working, hand holding a phone


NCMEC plays a vital role in the fight to reduce child sexual exploitation. We’ve reviewed millions of images of child sexual abuse in an effort to find the child and help law enforcement remove them from abusive situations. Every day, we work to disrupt the trading of child sexual abuse images and videos online and identify missing children who are being exploited through sex trafficking in efforts to help survivors begin to rebuild their lives. 


NCMEC operates the CyberTipline®, a national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers (ESPs) to report instances of suspected child sexual exploitation. Since its inception in 1998, the CyberTipline has received more than 144 million reports.

In 2022, the CyberTipline received 32,059,029 reports. For a more comprehensive look at data and insights from the CyberTipline, visit the CyberTipline 2022 Report. Below is a breakdown of reports by reporting categories in 2022.

Apparent child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
Online enticement, including “sextortion”
Child sex trafficking. 
Child sexual molestation.
Other, including child sex tourism, misleading domain name, misleading words or images and unsolicited obscene material sent to a child

The largest reporting category is related to suspected child sexual abuse material (CSAM) with 31.9 million reports in 2022.  We continue to see CSAM evolving, often becoming more egregious, with offenders increasingly demanding that children record themselves carrying out specific sex acts on video or over livestreaming services that can be screen captured. This includes demands to engage in self-harm or to sexually abuse pets or younger children in the home, under threat that the offender will ruin their victims’ lives.

Additionally, NCMEC saw an 82% increase in reports concerning online enticement last year, which included an alarming new trend in which offenders aggressively blackmail children for financial gain. Read more about financial sextortion here

Files and Hashing

In 2022, CyberTipline reports included 88.3 million images, videos and other files related to child sexual exploitation. NCMEC analyzed this imagery to help law enforcement prioritize these reports and take fast action when a child is most at risk.

When an image or video is identified as CSAM, NCMEC adds the file’s unique digital fingerprint, known as a hash value, to a list that is made available to ESPs. NCMEC works with ESPs that have chosen to use the list to voluntarily scan their systems to detect, report and remove files with matching hashes.

These reports to the CyberTipline included 65.4 million files with 33,690,561 images, 31,654,163 videos, and 120,590 other files.
Type Total Files
Image 49,404,779
Other 1,197,394
Video 37,775,034
Total Files  88,377,207

In 2022, NCMEC added 1,141,667 hashes of confirmed CSAM to its hash-sharing list, for a total of 6,314,832 hashes.

Reports by ESPs

256,504 CyberTipline reports from 2022 were submitted by members of the public and 31,802,525 were submitted by electronic service providers. Because there are no legal requirements regarding companies’ proactive efforts to detect exploitation, the volume and content of reports can vary greatly.  NCMEC works with ESPs in a variety of ways to improve their reporting. We also work to proactively notify companies when we receive a report from the public or others that CSAM can be found on their platforms.  Learn more about our work with ESPs in the CyberTipline 2022 Report.    

A Global Problem

Crimes on the internet are not limited to national borders. CSAM produced in one country can be downloaded in countries around the globe instantly. Reports to NCMEC’s CyberTipline can be traced to nearly every country in the world.

Read more about NCMEC’s global impact here.


In 2022, 89.9% of our reports resolved to locations outside of the U.S.

Child Victim Identification

When law enforcement seizes child sexual abuse material in an investigation, they must quickly assess the identity of the children in the imagery and determine if they are safe, or their abuse is ongoing.

NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP) serves as the nation’s clearinghouse on identified child victims of CSAM. Imagery containing unidentified children are reviewed and analyzed for any information as to their potential location or who is responsible for their abuse. When this information can be determined, CVIP provides the analysis to the appropriate law enforcement agency, both domestic and international.

In addition, NCMEC's CVIP connects police who are investigating the collection of CSAM with the police who originally identified the child victim(s) depicted in the files so they can provide additional information to assist prosecution of CSAM collectors.

NCMEC also helps track the distribution of files of identified children. Many of these child victims, now adults, may choose to share their voices through victim impact statements. Or they may want to receive notification of federal prosecutions of individuals who possessed or distributed images or videos of their abuse. These victims are eligible for restitution to cover medical expenses, therapy costs, lost wages and more. While NCMEC does not notify victims, we are a critical step in the process, alerting the agencies to the presence of a victim in a case and working with victims and their lawyers on the restitution process.

Since the program inception in 2002, CVIP has reviewed more than 371 million images and videos.

In 2022, NCMEC received 4,302 requests from law enforcement, containing more than 33 million images and videos. Analysts help determine if the children depicted have been previously identified or if they are unknown or new victims.

Number of Requests
by Agency


 US Federal Law Enforcement - 1,994 28,913,873 1,330,598
 Local/State/ICAC - 2,077 2,992,167 326,615
 Military - 198 265,068 22,999
 International - 33 87 358
 Grand Total - 4,302 32,171,195 1,680,570

Actively traded images and videos

NCMEC's Child Victim Identification Program serves as the U.S. clearinghouse for information on CSAM and is aware of more than 25,140 child victims identified by law enforcement. 

Of those, 2,734 children are depicted in imagery considered “actively traded,” meaning the images or videos have been seen in multiple reports to NCMEC. 

Relationship of offender to child in actively traded images and videos

CVIP pie chart








Type of Relationship # of Known Relationships % of Total Victim Relationships
Parent/Guardian  590  20.93% 
Other Relative  335  11.88% 
Babysitter/Mentor/Coach/Teacher  193  6.85% 
Neighbor/Family friend  675  23.94% 
Self-Production  328  11.64% 
Online Enticement/Youth  Produced  480  17.03% 
Child Sex Trafficker  82  2.91% 
Unknown to Child  136  4.82% 

Please note that the datapoints reflected in this report (e.g., race, gender) are limited to the fields that were available within our databases during this time period.

Due to the permanency of the imagery, CSAM can cause continual victimization to survivors, even decades after the sexual abuse ends. That’s why NCMEC works to help CSAM survivors and their families by connecting them with mental health and legal professionals as well as peer support networks to assist in their recovery. In addition, NCMEC facilitates the sending of alerts to tech companies who have CSAM on their platforms.

Child Sex Trafficking

Child sex trafficking is a crime that is happening everywhere. NCMEC has received reports from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico and in every type of community: suburban, rural, urban and tribal lands. There’s no one version of what child sex trafficking looks like. We’ve seen children victimized while living at home, trafficked by a pimp or even family members. Children who have run away are disproportionately targeted by traffickers and buyers, who prey upon vulnerabilities and a child's need for basic resources like food and a place to live.

Of the more than 25,000 cases of children reported missing to NCMEC in 2022 who had run away, 1 in 6 were likely victims of child sex trafficking.

Listen to survivors of child sex trafficking share how they were targeted and groomed by traffickers. 

Child Sex Trafficking Recruitment and Grooming

Of the children reported to NCMEC who ran away and were likely victims of child sex trafficking:

Likely Victims of CST Intaked at NCMEC Between 1/1/2022 and 12/31/2022 by


Race/Ethnicity Percentage
Asian 0.29%
Black 38.22%
Hispanic 14.81%
Multiracial 10.96%
Native American 0.97%
Pacific Islander 0.22%
Unknown/Unspecified 1.48%
White 33.04%


Sex Count  
Female 93%  
Male 7%  

Age Missing

Ages Percentage
11-14 14.6%
15-17 82.3%
18-20 3.1%

Please note that the datapoints reflected in this report (e.g., race, gender) are limited to the fields that were available within our databases during this time period.

NCMEC receives reports of suspected child sex trafficking to our call center, 1-800-THE-LOST and our CyberTipline.  Reports are primarily received from members of the public, child welfare, family members, electronic service providers and law enforcement. In 2022, NCMEC's Child Sex Trafficking Team provided analytical support to law enforcement on more than 19,000 reports regarding possible child sex trafficking. Find more information about child sex trafficking here.

CST Recovery Services

Survivors of child sex trafficking have experienced significant trauma. That’s why NCMEC works to support child welfare professionals in preparing for the recovery of their missing child. Ensuring survivors of child sex trafficking receive trauma-informed response and specialized services immediately upon recovery is crucial to their support and healing.

Recovery planning recognizes that when a child is recovered from trafficking, it’s an unparalleled opportunity to begin to break the cycle of exploitation. Informed and specialized engagement at the time of and following recovery, has the potential to discredit the lies and manipulation of a trafficker and start to build the foundation of healthy, caring relationships.

In 2022, NCMEC’s recovery services team provided recovery planning and safety planning for 1,124 children who were likely victims of child sex trafficking. 

Sex Offender Tracking

NCMEC’s Sex Offender Tracking Team assists law enforcement in their efforts to locate noncompliant sex offenders. The team also works to link information about noncompliant sex offenders to unresolved cases of missing and sexually exploited children known to NCMEC.

In 2022, NCMEC assisted with 12,998 requests to help locate noncompliant sex offenders. Of those, feedback indicates that 1,758 noncompliant sex offenders were subsequently located/arrested.


NCMEC’s mission of child protection also includes our work to prevent further victimization. These efforts go beyond our initial response to help secure the immediate safety of a missing or exploited child and include our educational programs that empower children and families to help them make safer decisions on- and offline. They also include our efforts to provide mental health support to families who have experienced a missing or exploited child to help them on the path to healing and reconnecting with each other and their community. 

Mental Health Advocacy and Support

NCMEC provides a wide range of support services for victims and their families. Our masters-level trained advocates speak with thousands of individuals every year, offering valuable resources and assistance to help them through one of the toughest times in their lives.

In 2022, we responded to 2,042 requests for mental health assistance and crisis support. 

Our nationwide volunteer peer-support group, Team HOPE, provides emotional peer support to parents and family members of missing and exploited children as well as adults who were missing and/or exploited as children. 

In 2022, NCMEC helped 2,867 new families through our peer-support program, Team Hope. 

To further help individuals in need, NCMEC facilitates the Family Advocacy Outreach Network (FAON). This is a membership-based network of experienced mental health treatment professionals and organizations.

As of 2022, FAON had 419 members who provide crucial mental health services on a free or sliding scale. 

Education Programs

NCMEC is unique in that we receive millions of reports each year about missing and exploited children through our hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST, and our CyberTipline. This data allows NCMEC to identify trends first-hand and create educational resources to address the evolving needs of children both online and in the real world.  All our resources are free, age-appropriate and designed for many audiences, including children, parents and child-serving professionals.  

Our child safety education programs include:

Internet Safety

thumbnail, NetSmartz logo

Personal Safety

thumbnail, KidSmartz logo

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse in Sports


In an effort to reach as many people and communities as possible with these critical child safety resources, NCMEC provides ongoing training to our partners in law enforcement, other nonprofits or child-serving organizations to deliver NCMEC’s custom safety presentations.

NetSmartz characters waving

In 2022, we equipped 480 professionals to deliver NetSmartz safety presentations and they provided safety lessons directly to 22,718 children. 

We also promote our prevention programs through our website, social media and other efforts. In 2022, our prevention resources were viewed in all 50 states and more than 138 countries.


We know that when a child goes missing or is sexually exploited, a law enforcement agency that is trained in these issues will be better prepared and will hopefully see a better outcome. NCMEC has trained more than 410,000 law enforcement, criminal/juvenile justice and healthcare professionals, reaching people in all 50 states and 59 countries.

NCMEC’s training programs are constantly evolving as are the ways we deliver those trainings. NCMEC Connect is our online learning platform that offers free on-demand trainings, virtual discussions and resources for child-serving professionals.

In 2022 NCMEC CONNECT had more than 29,000 registered users.

The Missing Kids Readiness Program (MKRP), promotes best practices for training and policies for law enforcement and emergency communication centers responding to cases of missing and exploited children. In 2022, 28 public safety agencies completed the policy review and online training to become new or renewed member agencies. These agencies serve a total population of over 5,125,000.

Public Engagement

In 2022, total social media followers for NCMEC (@MissingKids) grew to more than two million users across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok. NCMEC’s social media channels garnered more than 211 million impressions, 17 million engagements, and 114.8 million video views. had 8.1 million visitors in 2022.

We want to offer our deepest gratitude to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, our corporate partners, individual donors and everyone who has contributed resources and funds to support NCMEC’s mission to find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation and prevent victimization. We couldn’t do our vital work without all of you.

Every child deserves a safe childhood.