Locating a missing child can be difficult for police and emotionally draining for families.

Missing Women Found in Cleveland Puts Focus on National Problem

May 7, 2013 Updated May 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

May 7, 2013 Updated May 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) The discovery of three women in Cleveland, who were missing for a decade, is making headline news.

It is also focusing attention on the on-going national problem of missing and exploited children.

Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry were just teenagers when they were abducted in the Cleveland area ten years ago.

Michele Knight was in her early 20's when she too was kidnapped by three brothers who kept the women locked inside a two-story home.

The discovery of the women is raising hopes for families that are dealing with a missing person, but the statistics are not good when it comes to abduction by strangers.

"Seventy-five percent of the children that are abducted by strangers are usually killed within the first three hours. What that taught us as law enforcement is that we need a very tough and very aggressive response to these types of crimes," adds Chief Scott Patronik from the Erie County Sheriff's Office.

The Erie County Sheriff's Office has a team of five detectives assigned to a Child Abduction Response Team.

The team is currently working to get certification from the Department of Justice, and it makes Erie County only the second county in New York state to have specialized squad.

"Parents shouldn't hesitate to call law enforcement if your child is missing," Patronik advises.

Dealing with the anxiety of having a missing child can be overwhelming.

Rebecca Christofaro from Kenmore has been looking for her 15-year old daughter Nina since early April.

"I'm terrified that something has happened to her, or will happen to her," adds Christofaro.

The sophomore student at Kenmore West disappeared from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

"I believe she was lured by an older man on FACEBOOK," commented her distraught mother.

The case also highlights the problems with runaway children.

According to Lisa Freeman, Executive Director of Compass House in Buffalo, close to 2,000 young people were reported missing last year in Erie County.

"They couch surf. They don't know where to go for services, and they do end up with some people who are not necessarily the nicest people in the world," says Freeman.

Freeman says volunteers at Compass House routinely travel city streets looking for homeless kids, but they are only able to help about a quarter of those who are reported missing.

"There are predators out there that try to hone in on these children, and these children are pulled into either committing crime, or end up in some sort of sex trafficking," added Chief Patronik.