Searching for missing persons

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War, displacement, migration or family conflicts – there are many reasons why families lose touch or become separated. The SRC Tracing Service can help you look for missing relatives.

Our Tracing Service

  • We provide counselling and support.

  • We search for missing persons.

  • We pass on Red Cross news.

  • We investigate the fate of missing persons and potential burial locations.

  • We help you find personal documents and obtain access to files.

  • We obtain confirmation of detention through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The SRC Tracing Service helps people search for missing relatives all over the world. It works with the ICRC and the tracing services of more than 190 other Red Cross or Red Crescent Societies.

REDOG

Rescue dog teams

REDOG rescue dog teams search for missing persons in Switzerland, for example people with dementia or buried under rubble. The rescue teams are all volunteers.

Contact REDOG

How do I start my search?

New search request

If you wish to initiate a search, you can send an e-mail to tracing@redcross.ch with the following information :

  • Mobile phone number or email address

  • Year of birth

  • Nationality

The SRC Tracing Service will inform you by e-mail or SMS as soon as your request is accepted. We are currently supporting more than 600 people in the search of their family. It may therefore take several months before you receive a reply from us.

UKRAINE

Requests regarding people in Ukraine

For information and questions concerning the conflict in Ukraine, you can contact us by phone (058 400 43 80).

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 9am to 12.30pm

  • Wednesday: 12.30pm to 4.30pm

GOOD TO KNOW

Limited capacity

We are currently supporting more than 600 people in the search of their family. To do this properly, it is not enough to register and send the tracing request. It is also necessary to follow up the requests abroad and to inform and accompany the people concerned here in Switzerland.

In order to ensure that each case is treated with the highest quality, we only accept new research applications if we have the necessary time resources. We do not want to raise false hopes by accepting research applications that we are not able to process / follow up adequately.

What you can do

In the meantime, you have the following options:

Tracing services network, Switzerland

The following organizations can support you in searching for individuals:

Trace the Face: online search

Trace the Face is an organization that publishes photos of people looking for their relatives. It will help you in your search.

Look for your family

Have you lost touch with a relative during displacement? On Trace the Face you will find photos of thousands of people who are looking for missing relatives.

The SRC Tracing Service adheres to these principles

  • Your personal details and those of the missing person are kept strictly confidential. We discuss with you how we will use these details before starting the search.

  • We talk to you about the most suitable approach to take.

  • We always ask the missing person whether they would like to re-establish contact.

  • Our services are free of charge. However, donations are always welcome.

Q&A regarding the cyberattack on the ICRC

On 18 January 2022, the ICRC detected a cyberattack on one of its databases. The database concerned is the basis for the work of our SRC Tracing Service. All information on search requests – both ongoing and completed – is saved in the database concerned.

The cyberattack is being investigated thoroughly by the ICRC. It stored and coordinated the international exchange of the data of more than 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.

The authors of the cyberattack are unknown. To date, there is also no evidence that the stolen data have been published.

We need a range of information to support people in their search for missing relatives. Where were the relatives last seen? When did they last have contact with them? Every detail can help in the search. With the agreement of those affected, this information is shared in a targeted manner within the network – which increases the chances of finding the missing relatives. To provide this assistance, we often need to collect and save personal details.

The breach involved around 18000 datasets. The data concerned are personal details provided to us by those searching. These include sensitive data such as

  • full name,

  • contact details (e-mail address, telephone number, etc.),

  • names and other personal details of family members being looked for,

  • details on the circumstances of their disappearance, and

  • correspondence and documents for the search and establishing contact.

At present, the ICRC assumes that the data were copied and exported. To date, there is no evidence that they have been published or offered for sale. The ICRC teams monitor this incident carefully. The ICRC immediately suspended access to the databases worldwide as a protective measure.

The ICRC has been investigating the breach and evaluated the risks and impact as follows: www.icrc.org/en/document/icrc-cyber-attack-analysis

Together with the ICRC, we will assess the potential risks for those affected on an ongoing basis and, if necessary, take specific action in individual cases.

The Swiss authorities have been informed transparently and in full. The SRC remains in contact with them and is able draw on the proven cooperation.

The SRC takes data protection and information security very seriously. We secure our IT systems according to industry standards and, where needed, take all necessary measures to protect your data and minimize potential risks as far as possible.

Tell us if you notice anything unusual. Call us if you have questions or concerns. We’re here for you.

Preventive measures

  • If you receive a suspicious e-mail or text message, delete it immediately; do not forward it. The message may appear to be from a reputable source (e.g. the Red Cross).

  • Never reply to suspicious messages and do not enter personal information such as your username, password, ID number, medical information, etc.

  • If in doubt, contact us: tracing@redcross.ch / 058 400 43 80.

The intentions of the cybercriminals are as yet unknown. At present, it is assumed that the data were copied and exported. The consequences are currently limited to illegal access by unauthorized persons. Further consequences are currently still unclear.

When people are missing, their families and friends experience considerable fear and uncertainty. These cyberattacks to a large extent impede our ability to collaborate with our Red Cross and Red Crescent partners and provide families with answers as to where their relatives are. Every day, the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement helps 12 people to restore contact with their relatives. This important work has been jeopardized by the cyberattack.

Other SRC IT systems are not affected by the cyberattack. This means that only data from the SRC Tracing Service are affected. Donor-related data and other sensitive data, such as living wills and registration details for healthcare professions are not affected. These data all run on separate IT systems, which are not affected by the cyberattack.

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