The Louisiana State Police and the Louisiana Clearinghouse for Missing & Exploited Children announced 11 year old Mohammad “Niyaz” Hasan as the winner of Louisiana’s 2017 Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest. Niyaz’s entry was submitted to the US Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) annual poster contest proudly representing the State of Louisiana. Niyaz is a recent 5th grade graduate from Buchanan Elementary School in Baton Rouge, and his excellent entry represents a missing child coming home. “The room contains many of the boy’s belongings and toys he used and played with. They are memories,” Niyaz stated.

Every year, OJJDP hosts a national poster contest to raise greater awareness about missing children. The contest is designated for children in the 5th grade and is designed to engage communities in discussions about child safety and the intervention and prevention of child abduction. The contest conclusion coincides with National Missing Children’s Day which, in 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed as May 25th. This year, 34 states (including the District of Columbia) and the U.S. Air Force Base in Aviano, Italy, participated in the competition. Posters were designed to illustrate the theme of “Bring Our Missing Children Home.”

The Louisiana State Police is especially proud of Niyaz for his community involvement because, on average in Louisiana, 13 children are reported missing EVERY day. A large percentage of these children are runaways who are vulnerable and most at risk for becoming victims of crime such as sexual exploitation. In an effort to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the Louisiana State Police Special Victims Unit actively investigates cases of child exploitation, child trafficking, as well as human trafficking. More information on SVU can be found at http://www.lsp.org/sid.html.

All citizens, public agencies, and private organizations are encouraged to commemorate National Missing Children’s Day and to renew their commitment to find missing children and honor those whose tragic loss remains in our hearts and memories. More information can be found at https://www.ojjdp.gov/missingchildrensday/.

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