ITAKA is the only organization in Poland to provide comprehensive support and help in a situation where somebody goes missing. We help missing people, their families and persons at risk of disappearance completely for free. We are a non-profit, non-government organization. Our mission is carried out through various projects.
Search and Identification Team
24h Missing Children Hotline & 24h Missing Persons Helpline
Team specialists are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They register reports of missing persons (more than 1,000 cases annually), inform the families about the procedures of reporting a missing person to the police and ITAKA, brief them about available search possibilities (e.g. checking hospitals, putting up posters, contacting the media), help in contacts with the media and various institutions, register cases of unidentified persons (several dozen cases annually) and undertake activities to establish their identity.
Each case reported to ITAKA must also be reported to the police. Each report is registered in the Missing and Unidentified People Internet Database along with the detailed documentation of all activities undertaken while running the case, as well as the history of our contacts with the missing person’s family and the institutions involved in the search. As a result of a direct connection between our internal database and the Internet database, a missing person announcement appears immediately on our website zaginieni.pl.
As part of their search activities, our Team members publish missing person announcements in the media, monitor the activities of the police, public prosecutor’s office, social help centers and other government and self-government offices.
Missing people project: zaginieni.pl
Since 1999 ITAKA has run its www.zaginieni.pl website. It contains a significant number of missing people’s photographs and all sorts of information which can be useful in looking for them. An interactive Missing and Unidentified People Internet Database – our basic tool in conducting the search – is available on the website. It is the only public register of missing people in Poland (and one of very few in Europe).
Our renewed zaginieni.pl website was launched in July 2008. Its design is clear and professional and it complements our 24h helpline. As well as the advice of our specialists (on duty at the 24h helpline), the website’s content has been adapted to suit the needs of all its users, including those who are not familiar with the Internet. Along with the interactive Missing and Unidentified People Internet Database, it is an easy and efficient system search tool available to everyone.
zaginieni.pl website offers many useful functions:
- Information provided on the zaginieni.pl website is profiled in such a way as to allow our target groups (families of missing people, persons who know something about their fate, journalists and, finally, the missing people themselves) to find the data they need quickly and without any problems.
- The zaginieni.pl website serves as a communication tool between ITAKA and the missing people’s families. Through our website you can easily and quickly report a person’s disappearance and send us their photograph.
- It is a means of swift communication with the institutions all over the world that cooperate with ITAKA (e.g. the English version of the website can be useful when a foreign citizen goes missing in Poland).
- Our Internet service zaginieni.pl is also designed to fulfill informational and educational functions. It is a source of knowledge about the problem not only for the missing people’s families but also for policemen, doctors, social workers, researchers, journalists and Internet users.
Those who wish to report a disappearance, but are not familiar with the Internet or the information technology, can do so by calling our low-cost 24h helpline. Our specialists on duty are always ready to offer their advice and support as well as help in using the website which makes it easier for the users to access the information they might need in the later stages of their search.
Thanks to such a comprehensive solution as combining a modern website with a 24h helpline operated by specialists on duty, the families of missing persons obtain a fast and easy access to the information necessary in their search as well as psychological support and sound legal & social advice.
Everybody who visits the ITAKA website can actively join in the search. At the same time, their social awareness of the disappearance problem and its consequences increases greatly.
Runaways project: Nie uciekaj
This educational prevention project is aimed at children and teenagers, parents, caretakers and teachers.
As part of the project, we annually (at the end of each school year) carry out a media campaign dedicated to the problem of running away from home. We also run a website www.nieuciekaj.pl directed to young people, giving them a possibility of contacting a psychologist via e-mail.
The website also contains information aimed at parents. As part of the Runaways project ITAKA carries out workshops for schoolchildren and young students (middle and secondary schools), their parents and teachers. The motto of the project is as follows: “Running away is not a solution. Starting a conversation puts an end to the problem.”
Depression treatment: Lecz depresję
Depression is one of the causes of people’s disappearance, especially when a person is not properly treated or has strong suicidal thoughts. That is why ITAKA annually organizes an information campaign dedicated to this illness and participates in the celebrations of the National Day of Fight Against Depression.
We have launched a www.leczdepresje.pl website aimed at the depressed and their families. ITAKA also runs an Anti-depression Helpline.
Work safely: Bezpieczna praca
Due to the growing importance of the problem of human trafficking and forced labour, ITAKA has decided to run an information educational campaign under the slogan “Work safely”.
The campaign “Work safely” has been designed to prevent disappearances of people looking for a job abroad. Among its main aims is also the social mobilization of the unemployed, including the promotion of safe employment.
As part of the campaign we have launched a www.bezpiecznapraca.eu website which is aimed at persons looking for a job abroad, thinking about a trip abroad or those who have already decided to leave Poland. You can find useful information there about how to travel abroad safely, avoid becoming a victim of human trafficking, and ensure your own safety upon arrival. It also tells you how to react when you have been cheated on.
Missing People International Division (MPID)
It is a new ITAKA project aimed at investigating cases of people who went missing all over the world in different circumstances. We are interested in how various societies and governments approach this problem. We believe that looking for the missing people as well as respecting their memory is a moral obligation of every individual, every country and every international community as well. It is an obligation which touches upon the very nature of human dignity. We would like to remind politicians and public opinion all over the world about this important task. Our pilot projects within the MPID include a mission to Rwanda (September 2008) and to Cambodia (December 2008 – January 2009).