COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Missing persons' helpline besieged by press enquires

The National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH) has been bombarded with press enquiries in the wake of the disappearance of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells from Soham, Cambridgeshire.

The charity has used the exposure to raise awareness that while abduction is extremely rare, 100,000 young people go missing each year. NMPH has featured on BBC Breakfast, Radio 4's Today programme, BBC Radio 5 Live, Sky, CNN and GMTV.

The present media preoccupation with the girls has given NMPH the opportunity to get old unresolved cases highlighted in regional newspapers such as the disappearance of two children aged 11 and 12 years old from Birmingham in 1997.

Some of the media had wanted NMPH to discuss abduction as part of their interviews, but the charity refused.

"We try to keep it general and focus on how the family will be coping,

said a spokeswoman. "It's not appropriate for us to comment on abduction. It's not an increasing problem. It's very rare, and all young people who go missing should get attention."

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