Ernie Allen is a global expert on the digital economy; the dark side of the internet; public-private partnerships and child protection including the issues of child abduction, sexual exploitation, sexual violence and human trafficking. He frequently speaks to global audiences on these issues serves as an advisor to governments, law enforcement, technology companies and nonprofit organizations.
In 2015 he was appointed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to serve as Chairman of a global initiative to combat online child abuse and exploitation. He also serves as an advisor to the Ethisphere Institute and the McCain Institute for International Leadership in the U.S., Il Telefono Azzurro in Italy, ECPAT International in Thailand, a leading global technology company and several others.
Thirty years ago the problem of child abduction and victimization was unrecognized and unreported. Mr. Allen led the effort to create a comprehensive response to address the problem. He was the architect and a founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, served the first Chairman and then as President and CEO for more than 28 years. During his tenure, more than 180,000 missing children were recovered and the recovery rate increased from 62% to 97%. He created the national 24-hour missing children hotline; brought age progression, facial reconstruction and other forensic resources to law enforcement; and provided training for more than 300,000 police officers. He established the national CyberTipline for reporting child sexual exploitation; the Child Victim Identification Program to analyze millions of child pornography images to rescue child victims; and helped U.S. Marshals track 100,000 fugitive sex offenders.
To extend the effort to protect children globally he founded the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and served simultaneously as its President and CEO for 16 years. He built a global missing children’s network that included 23 nations, trained law enforcement in 121 countries, worked with parliaments in 100 countries to enact new laws and developed partnerships with Interpol, the Organization of American States and the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
He brought global attention to the risks of unregulated virtual currencies and the anonymous “Dark Web” and created a task force whose policy recommendations are being implemented worldwide. He also created a coalition involving the world’s leading financial institutions which reduced commercial child pornography from a $30 billion industry to virtually zero; created a coalition with leading technology companies to address child victimization; and formed a global health coalition with major pharmaceutical companies to address child sexual exploitation as a public health crisis.
His work has been widely recognized and he is the recipient of numerous awards. He was called “one of America’s foremost social entrepreneurs” by President Georg W. Bush, named “Executive of the Year” by NonProfit Times and named one of the “Most Influential People in Security” by Security Magazine. During his tenure NCMEC was named one of “America’s 100 Best Charities” by Worth Magazine.