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WASHINGTON (FBI) -- In advance of National Missing Children's Day on May 25, the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Washington Field Office is sharing tips on how to keep kids safe and information about how the FBI investigates instances of child abduction and exploitation. Through the Child Exploitation Task Force, the FBI works to decrease the vulnerability of children to sexual exploitation, provide a rapid investigative response to crimes against children, and enhance the capabilities of state and local law enforcement agencies.

An unfortunate reality is that every year, thousands of children go missing. In these cases, the FBI works to assist in the investigation and speedy recovery of the abducted child. In cases of child exploitation, an individual often targets a child for the purpose of abuse or violence. This targeting can be done in person by an acquaintance or a stranger, or it can be done online through social websites and chat rooms.

To help in these recoveries, the FBI has developed the Child ID app, which provides an effective way for parents and guardians to keep their child's pictures and information on hand in case he or she goes missing. The app also includes safety tips for parents to help keep their kids out of harm's way. The app is free, and, in the event a child goes missing, parents and guardians can quickly e-mail the photos and information to authorities. No information about you or your child will be collected or stored by the FBI or iTunes. To download the Child ID app, go to iTunes Apps Store on your iPhone or Play Store on your Android phone.

The FBI has developed the following resources to help protect children:

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