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Can a reported missing child be stopped at the airport

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  • Can a reported missing child be stopped at the airport

    Hi, I'm a 17-year-old female runaway. I'm not from the US. I'm from Japan.. but I can't find any other runaway safe line and I really need help.

    I ran away from home over 3 months ago. Haven't stayed in contact with my parents after the first week of running away, but they did admit to going to the police and reporting me as a missing child.

    My life is pretty good right now. I live in a nice apartment with two friends. I have a high-paying job. I pay my own rent, bills, food, clothing, etc. I can be my true self nowadays, and finally make my own decisions.

    In January, I will be turning 18.. and the legal age for things like signing contracts, drinking, smoking, etc. is 20 years old in Japan. However, I have a friend who is a Japanese citizen and has traveled to England at 19 years old with his girlfriend.

    I have been wanting to visit Italy since I was 15 and would love to go there after my 18th birthday. I am positive I can save enough money for a week-long trip there.. but worry about being stopped at the airport after they check my passport..

  • #2
    RE: Can a reported missing child be stopped at the airport

    Hello there,

    Thank you for reaching out to us here at the National Runaway Safeline (NRS). It sounds like since leaving home you have found your happiness and sense of independence. You mentioned wanting to travel to another country but have some concerns about what may happen since you have been reported as a missing minor. We are unsure of laws in Japan or what would happen at the airport if you tried to leave. It may be best to reach out to the airport and ask about their rules for a minor boarding a plane alone. If there are posters or information of you being missing, then there may be a chance that you are stopped. However, this all depends on how proactive your parents have been with searching for you. If we can provide any support or referrals, please reach out by phone 1-800-786-2929 or try our Live Chat through our website

    We wish you well and look forward to your call or chat soon.

    Take care,

    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

    Tell us what you think about your experience!


    • #3
      Hi, I left home this morning for personal reasons. I made it to the airport and I have enough money for a plane ticket but what happens if I get stopped? I can't show any form of identification because I left it at home. I live in Austin texas if that helps.
      Last edited by ccsmod8; 11-26-2020, 10:54 AM. Reason: Personal Information deleted.


      • ccsmod8
        ccsmod8 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hello ,

        First of all, thank you for reaching out to NRS today. It was a very brave thing to do. We are sorry that you felt as though you had to leave home. You do not deserve to be treated in a way that would make you want to leave. It sounds like you have a plan in place to leave.

        We are not legal experts here, but running away is not illegal and it’s only considered a statues offense. The only thing that would happen is that the police can pick you up and bring you back home. It's not to our knowledge that the TSA would have access to the NCIC which is a database law enforcement use to locate reported missing persons. So they might not be able to tell if you are an active runaway or not.

        As for identification, you are required to have identification in order to go through security and buying a ticket through a major airline. If you are under 18, you might be okay without any identification. You can describe to the TSA officer that you forgot your ID. We are not experts here as mentioned and every airline may be different, but the information online suggest that you may need to go through an identity verification process that may take longer than a regular security checkpoint.

        It’s hard to talk to just anyone one about what has been going on. Please know that you can use our chat service to have a more in depth conversation and explore a few more resources at any time. Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY and our website is We are here 24/7 and always ready to listen so do not hesitate to contact us again.

        We are so glad you reached out to us and know it is sometime difficult to ask for help. Best of luck.

    • #4
      i’ve been planning on running away for months now. my first attempt failed and i got taken to the hospital by cops because my mom insisted i was crazy. the reason i wanna leave is because it’s toxic and controlling here. my mental health is declining. my parents force religion upon me and many more things. they forced me to move with them, tricked me into it actually across state in the US. i bought a ticket, got my identification, found rides and place to stay and everything. i am 16, and i’m wondering if i could get on the “no fly list” or get stopped on or before the flight. my mom has called the cops on me many times for little things so i know she’ll do it again. i need reassurance, advice, anything really please.


      • ccsmod15
        ccsmod15 commented
        Editing a comment
        HI there,

        Thanks for reaching out to us and sharing a bit about what's going on. We are sorry to hear you are having such difficulties with your parents right now and that it's having a negative effect on your mental health. We aren't legal experts, but our understanding is that the "no fly list" really is more for people that are perceived as travel threats. While this might not apply to you, it still is possible that you could be stopped at the airport if your parents file a runaway report on you. You also might want to keep in mind that anyone that helps you travel across state lines or that houses you could be accused of harboring a runaway, which is a misdemeanor.

        We would like to discuss your situation further and discuss what all your options are but that would best be done in a call or a chat. Please remember we are confidential and a safe place to talk about what's going on. Our number is 1-800-RUNAWAY and the chat option is on our website: You don't have to face all this alone. We are here for you and look forward to your call.

        Stay safe,

    • #5
      Can they stop a 17 years old runaway at the airport


      • ccsmod1
        ccsmod1 commented
        Editing a comment

        Thank you for writing to us here at National Runaway Safeline (NRS). We understand it takes great courage to reach out, and we appreciate you writing to us at NRS. While we are not experts on the law, 18 is generally the age that an individual may leave home without parent permission. If you are under 18 and leave home, your parents may file you as a runaway and you may be returned home. Also, those you stay with, may run the risk of being charged with harboring a runaway. Parent’s or legal guardians may also file a missing person’s report after a certain time as well. So, if a 17-year-old had a missing person’s report or runaway report filed on them, generally airport law enforcement or the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) may be on the lookout for missing person’s/runaways. For more specifics on the law in your county, the local non-emergency police or legal aid may better answer legal questions.

        We are here as support to help through this challenging time. We can best help by phone or chat as NRS is unable to respond more than twice by email to assist you. If you would like to talk more in detail please call or chat soon.

        Our contact information is 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929); (click on the chat button).

        If you are at risk of any danger or feeling unsafe, we encourage you to reach out to 911 or seek emergency assistance immediately.

        Be safe,


    • #6
      Can I fly abroad at 17 in America without written parental consent? I have a drivers license I would bring for identification. Is that enough?


      • ccsmod13
        ccsmod13 commented
        Editing a comment
        Hi there,

        Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at NRS. It sounds like you want to know more about runaway laws and laws that affect youth in crisis. We are not legal experts, but we can speak generally from our knowledge of these laws. The age of majority, or the age at which you are considered a legal adult, in most states is 18. That means you are still considered a minor and you may need parental consent for certain decisions such as boarding a flight. Different airlines may have varying policies regarding this, so it could be helpful to contact airlines regarding their policies. If you have been reported as a runaway or as a missing person, there is a possibility that you would be stopped by airport security before boarding a flight.

        If you would like to talk more about your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone at 1-800-786-2929 or through live chat.

        Be safe,

    • #7
      My girlfriend who is 14 wants to get out of her house because of her abusive and overprotective mother. It has become toxic. She has no privacy and has people basically stalking both me and her. I am 17 years old and was wondering if she would be stopped at an airport security as she wants to run away to her birth dads in *********** as we are in *******. Or would it be illegal to run away to her family friends house of which this person is like a grandma to her. Would this grandma also get in trouble? We have contacted DCF already and they did absolutely nothing.
      Last edited by ccsmod5; 11-18-2021, 09:39 PM.


      • ccsmod5
        ccsmod5 commented
        Editing a comment
        We are glad you reached out to us. From what you describe this is a complicated situation for your girlfriend. It must be very stressful for your girlfriend with all that kind of abusive over protection.

        While we are not legal experts, we can provide some general guidance for you.

        First, it is not illegal to run away. Another thing to consider is that while running away is not a crime, an adult who allows a runaway to stay with them may be putting themselves at risk for being charged with harboring a runaway. A good way to find out the laws in your area is to call your local police and ask what their policies are regarding runaway youth. Adults usually don’t get charge helping a runaway get to a safe place.

        At some point if she has contact with the police or child protective services, they will evaluate returning her home to her mother if a run away report has been filed. She can always say she does not feel safe going home and the responding officer will have to make a determination on the next step. That is all applicable no matter where she runs away.

        It gets a little more complicated if she runs away to her biological Dad. Depending on her historical custodial decisions, the birth Dad may have some rights or none. If there have been previous legal issues, the Mom may be able to file charges of custodial interference. Your girlfriend really needs to have a clear understanding of the current standing of custody rights of her birth Dad and the history of any legal decisions on her guardianship.

        One other thing to consider about flying, your girlfriend might appear to be a sex trafficking victim and both TSA and airline employees keep a close eye out for that. So there is some additional risk with her flying.

        There are a lot of options to consider in your girl friend developing a safe plan for her next steps dealing with her situation at home with her Mom. We can help her sort through all that and come up with a plan that feels right for her and is as safe as possible. We have access to many resources to help her no matter what she decides for her next step. She can reach out to us 24/7 for a chat through our website or on our crisis hotline at (800) RUNAWAY. Both are completely confidential.
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