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Native American Children Reported Missing to NCMEC

NCJ Number
Date Published

This report presents data on cases of missing or abducted Native American children reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2018, acknowledging that these data do not cover all cases of missing or abducted Native American children.


For this period, the NCMEC received 1,909 reports of missing or abducted Native American children. Most (85 percent) were endangered runaway cases, followed by 12 percent that were cases of family abduction. Fifty-nine percent of these children were female, and 41 percent were male; 65 percent were between the ages of 15 and 17, and 23 percent were between the ages of 10 and 14. Of these children, 35 percent had at least one Tribal affiliation. Just over half (59 percent) of these cases were reported to NCMEC by social services, 17 percent by law enforcement, and 18 percent by a parent. Abuse was frequently mentioned for these missing children, based on information provided by the child’s parent, legal guardian, social worker, or law enforcement agency. Twelve percent of cases involved mentions of suspected abuse by a non-family member. Eleven percent of missing Native American children intake by NCMEC in the most recent decade had a reported history of being sexually abused, ranging from child sex trafficking (62 percent), sexual abuse by a family member (10 percent), statutory rape (13 percent), and sexual assault by an acquaintance (4 percent). There were 22,305 cases that involved Native American children missing from care who were intake by NCMEC (68 percent) of the total. Most were endangered runaway children. Data are reported on abductors of Native American children.