Over 97% of Children Who Go Missing Are Found

For more than a decade, Adobe has been proud to partner with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in service of its important mission: To find missing children, reduce child sexual exploitation, and prevent child victimization.

On May 18, Adobe was honored with a Hope Award from NCMEC, as the private non-profit organization marked its 35th anniversary. The award — which honors both individuals and businesses that champion children — was accepted in Washington, D.C. by John Travis, Adobe Vice President of Brand Marketing.

“We congratulate NCMEC for marking the 35th anniversary of the organization’s founding. The difference they are making – every day – to help children and their families, is inspirational and powerful. We are grateful for everything they do, and for allowing Adobe to partner with them in this important work.” said John.

Left to Right: John Travis and John Penn II at 2019 Hope Awards, Washington, D.C.

“Everyone at Adobe is humbled and honored to be recognized with a Hope Award,” said Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. “Adobe’s mission is to change the world through digital experiences, and as we strive to have an impact on the world around us, it’s difficult to imagine more consequential work than that enabled by our partnership with NCMEC.”

Using Adobe technology to bring kids home

Since 2007, Adobe has donated software and technical expertise to advance NCMEC’s work. For example, using age-progression and composite techniques in Adobe Photoshop CC, NCMEC artists have age-progressed more than 6,700 images of long-term missing children and created more than 540 facial reconstructions to help with identification of deceased children. This work helped with the recovery of more than 3,000 lost children between 2014 and 2018, including 234 that had been missing for 10 years or more, and assisted in identifying 139 deceased children, providing much-needed closure to grieving families.

Leveraging Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition, NCMEC digital analysts are assisting law enforcement with forensic analysis on images and videos. This analysis helps produce clues about the identity and location of victims and their perpetrators — whether stabilizing a frame, bringing up exposure or areas of shadow or filtering images for more clarity. The NCMEC Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed more than 267 million images and videos, helping law enforcement identify 15,800 victims.

“We try to figure out how to expose NCMEC to technologies that are unreleased, and try to figure out, could we apply that to getting a kid back?” explains John Penn II, Senior Solutions Architect for Law Enforcement Technologies. “It’s fascinating to see somebody…apply technology in ways we don’t anticipate to impact someone’s life in a positive way.”

Each NCMEC case involves applying a variety of techniques, from bringing up exposure to sharpening visuals or stabilizing frames. A recent case involved an image of two very young victims — one was holding a prescription pill bottle. However, the name and address on the bottle were blurry and impossible to read.

“[S]ometimes, the critical clues are locked away behind sensor noise, poor lighting, blurry images or are in minute and hard to see details,” John says. “Photoshop is a powerful tool in the hands of trained law enforcement, which can assist them in getting crucial information from digital media.”

At the time, Adobe had a new Photoshop filter in beta. Using this filter, the team was able to sharpen the label and identify the prescription holder. This helped narrowed the suspect pool to 13 targets one of whom was apprehended as the offender.

Raising awareness with Adobe Experience Cloud solutions

Public awareness and action also are key to finding missing children — and more than 97% of children reported missing in America in recent years have come home alive. With Adobe Experience Cloud solutions, NCMEC is able to optimize its web experience and dramatically increase traffic and engagement to help NCMEC in their on-going identification and rescue work.

Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen and John Penn II highlight Adobe’s partnership with NCMEC.

“We look forward to continuing our partnership for many years to come and to exploring how new technologies can help power NCMEC’s efforts to reunite missing children with their families and to keep them safe,” said Shantanu.

Read more about how Adobe has an impact on our world.