Locate lost relatives

The web page “Trace the face” helps refugees to locate people they lost during their flight. Who lost somebody can publish their picture on the website with the help of participating aid organisations, including a statement whom they are searching for (without indicating their own name or location for privacy protection). The pictures are shown on big posters in the Red Cross and Red Crescent organisations in different countries. Somebody recognising their relatives can contact them via these aid organisations. The website also offers the possibility to search directly for relatives using filters for age, sex and country of origin. The short YouTube video “Trace the Face” describes the service which is supported by 23 countries. It is coordinated by the Red Cross and the Red Crescent – both organisations with a lot of experience with searching for and finding lost relatives.

What the application cannot do: Autonomous registration of search entries – everything has to be done by the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. But this guarantees an uniform standard and a good privacy protection for the refugees, so this does not have to be a disadvantage.


A similar project is refunite. It allows searches per text message (Turkey, Irak, Jordan), per telephone, per USSD and per computer and smartphone via the homepage. Everybody can generate an own profile and search profiles for friends or relatives. The project requires a lot of personal data and makes them visible to everybody – including full name, place of birth, country of origin, clanship, sex and age. Even nicknames are requested, name of the mother, special characteristics like scars. But not all of these data have to be entered. The service is mainly used in Africa, especially the usability via text message and without formal organisations is an advantage there.

What the application cannot do: Vandalism protection – there are some fake profiles. Privacy protection is dubious as a lot of personal data from searchers and searched ones are publicly visible. People being searched for have no influence on if or which or their data is published.