Ernie Allen Co-Founder, International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, 2014 Gala

Ernie Allen is a world leader in the fight against child abduction, sexual exploitation, sexual violence and human trafficking. He is the Co-Founder of the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, (ICMEC), a nonprofit organization which is leading the global effort to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction. He has served as President and CEO of ICMEC since it was created in 1999.

Under his leadership, ICMEC has built a global network that includes 22 nations, trained law enforcement in 121 countries and worked with parliaments in 74 countries to enact new laws on child pornography. New centers on missing and exploited children have been created in Belgium, South Africa, Romania, Russia and a regional center in Southeastern Europe. He has developed partnership agreements with Interpol, the Organization of American States and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.

He created the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography which includes 34 of the world’s leading banking and financial institutions working together to eradicate commercial child pornography. He also created the Global Health Coalition which includes major pharmaceutical companies and health care institutions around the world which are attacking child sexual abuse, violence and exploitation as a public health crisis.

Previously Mr. Allen was the Co-Founder and served as the first Chairman of the Board of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He became President and CEO in 1989 and served in that position for 23 years until he retired in 2012.

During his tenure at NCMEC more than 180,000 missing children were recovered and the organization’s recovery rate increased from 62% in 1990 to 97% in 2012. He created the national 24-hour missing children hotline, the national CyberTipline for reporting suspected child sex exploitation as well as training, forensic services, technology and many other resources for law enforcement and parents.

Mr. Allen is a frequent speaker at U.S. and international conferences, is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, and frequently appears on network, major cable and international news programs. His work has been recognized by four U.S. Presidents; several members of Congress; two U.S. Attorneys General; all branches of U.S. federal law enforcement; Interpol and several international law enforcement organizations; the Mayo Clinic and many leading corporations and nonprofit organizations.

In 2013 he was the first male in the 18-year history of the Arizona Foundation for Women to receive the prestigious Sandra Day O’Connor Voice for Women Award. And he received Attorney General Eric Holder’s Award for Meritorious Public Service, the top public service award granted by the U.S. Department of Justice.