The Central Tracing Agency (CTA) is one of the oldest institutions of the International Committee of the Red Cross enshrined in the Geneva Conventions. It is at the heart of the ICRC's efforts around the globe to: prevent people from going missing; restore and maintain contact between individuals and their families; search for missing persons; protect the dignity of the dead; and ensure that the needs of families are provided for.
The Central Tracing Agency provides services all over the world – including as a neutral intermediary – directly to people affected by armed conflict and other violence, disasters, migration and other situations requiring a humanitarian response. It coordinates the work of ICRC delegations and 191 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the Family Links Network.
The CTA also acts in an advisory capacity and develops actions to support, advise and build the capacities of states, practitioners and other organizations through the Red Cross/Red Crescent Family Links Hub (also known as the Global Hub).
The CTA’s broad range of direct services and advisory support includes:
The CTA, which marked its 150th anniversary in 2021, continues to explore and implement innovative ways to transform the global effort to prevent people from going missing and to respond to the needs of both missing persons and their families.
In collaboration with partners in the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, it conducts various international activities to restore and maintain family links during armed conflict and other situations of violence, disasters, migratory contexts and other situations requiring a humanitarian response.
The CTA traditionally serves as a neutral intermediary, and as a coordinator and technical adviser to National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and states in situations requiring a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian response to missing-persons cases and the needs of the families concerned.