The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), a non-profit organization that advocates, trains and collaborates with global partners to protect children from sexual abuse, exploitation and abduction, held the 2017 Gala for Child Protection: Because All Children Deserve a Safe Childhood on Thursday, May 4 at Gotham Hall in New York City. The third annual gala honored the 2017 Academy Award-nominated film LION in recognition of its critical role in raising the global community’s awareness of the issue of missing children. Celebrated-artist and ICMEC Board Member, Jeff Koons, presented the 2017 Champion for Children award in honor of the film to movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of The Weinstein Company which released LION. The event raised more than $1.3 million for ICMEC’s Global Impact Fund with close to 300 guests in attendance.
“I was with Harvey Weinstein when I saw LION,” said Koons. “It hit home, capturing both the tragedy of a missing child and the hope one always must have. I knew I needed to marry up my friend, his extraordinary movie, and ICMEC. …and that’s how tonight came to be”.
Saroo Brierley, author of A Long Way Home and whose life story LION was based on, also delivered remarks.
In addition, ICMEC honored Facebook with its 2017 Global Impact for Child Protection award. Facebook has long been an active and engaged partner, supporting ICMEC’s global training programs, and recently introducing emergency child alert response systems to help locate children around the world. Emily Vacher, Facebook Director of Trust and Safety, accepted the honor.
NBC News anchor Kate Snow was the evening’s emcee. Ambassador Maura Harty is the President and CEO of ICMEC. Dr. Franz B. Humer serves as the Chairman of the Board for the organization.
The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children is a private 501(c)(3) non-governmental, nonprofit organization. For more than 16 years, ICMEC has been a leader in identifying gaps in the global community’s ability to protect children from abduction, sexual abuse and exploitation, and expertly assembling the people, resources and tools needed to fill those gaps. ICMEC focuses on programs that have an impact on addressing the issues surrounding missing children, child abduction, child sexual abuse and exploitation.