Super Heroes aren’t Born, They are Made
Every child deserves a childhood safe from exploitation, sexual abuse, or the risk of going missing. As a father of eight, artist Jeff Koons knows first hand that no child or parent should ever have to experience this tragedy.
“I thought there were all these areas in government that are there to protect children, but you find out quite quickly that … there’s not so much support there. But today this is changing and… ICMEC is there.” says Jeff.
Koons has been a board member of The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC) since 2002, and co-founded The Koons Family Institute on International Law and Policy with ICMEC for the purpose of combating global issues of child abduction and exploitation and to protect the world’s children.
“My involvement was from being a victim and my son being a victim of a parental abduction. [ICMEC] gave me a chance to be able to maintain what’s important to me, and to try to help other families, other children” says Jeff.
The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy (The Koons Family Institute) is ICMEC’s in-house research arm. The Koons Family Institute defends children against sexual exploitation, abuse, or risk of going missing on multiple fronts by conducting and commissioning original research into the status of child protection laws around the world, creating replicable legal tools, promoting best practices, bringing together great thinkers and opinion leaders, and collaborating with partners to identify and measure threats to children and ways ICMEC can advocate change.
Moving forward, the Koons Family Institute intends to address ongoing concerns surrounding child safety by focusing our research on the threat of online grooming and livestreaming, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic; highlighting the risks children face during migration due to internal conflicts, natural disasters, and other global events; and analyzing the role technology can play in child trafficking and the distribution of child sexual abuse material.
Since 2006, they have tallied the presence — and absence — of adequate anti-child sexual abuse material (CSAM) law in 196 countries, analyzed the strengths and shortcomings of the laws that do exist, and, based on the results of that intensive effort, have developed model legislation that can be adopted and adapted as needed to be effective in any society or culture.
“Through ICMEC and The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy, we are making an international difference. At any moment we are one step closer to saving another child, saving another childhood, bringing another child home,” Justine Koons, co-founder of The Koons Family Institute.
Jeff Koons’ contributions and support are life changing for so many children, and the artist is able to do what he does best to make the world safer for children — by creating art.
Christie’s auction house debuted the BMW art car THE 8 X JEFF KOONS. The car stood as the final and most exclusive edition of only 99 produced, and the only one signed by the artist himself. An exciting international bidding saw the one-of-a-kind BMW M850i xDrive Gran Coupé sell for $475,000 dollars.
Jeff Koons described the creation as his dream car, playfully transformed in the style of a superhero comic. The bidder of the final edition has become a superhero themself — with all proceeds of the auction going to ICMEC.
“From the choice of colors to its overall look and use of material my car has a superhero feel to it,” says Jeff. “Giving to ICMEC and literally saving the lives of children is a superhero endeavor, now more than ever.”
“We at ICMEC are so grateful for the generosity of the winning bidder, BMW, and especially Jeff Koons, whose partnership and support is instrumental in our efforts to help make the world safer for children,” says Bob Cunningham, ICMEC CEO. “The funds raised from this collaboration will help ICMEC respond to the critical challenges children face from the pandemic and forced migration. This generous contribution will help us to develop better technologies to locate and identify missing kids, including children who are lost, abducted, or trafficked in conflict areas, and to advocate for policies, laws, and interventions that better address issues like the proliferation of child sexual abuse material, online grooming, and live streaming that have emerged as even greater threats to children during the pandemic.”
To learn more, visit the The Koons Family Institute on International Law & Policy.