CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction is an educational documentary film series created by Peter Thomas Senese to share many facets of the growing epidemic of Internatinal Parental Child Abduciton and what can be done about it.
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the U.S. Department of Justice 1-3 girls, and 16 boys, will be sexually
assaulted before their eighteenth birthday. Statistics are from the 10% of
reported accounts, for 90% do not tell. They are silenced by the perpetrator
with threats to their lives or the lives of their loved ones; who is usually a
dad, mom, uncle, trusted neighbor, friend, or community leader. The children
remain silent due to fear of retribution from the perpetrator, or losing their
only circle of support and love they have ever known, their family. This
becomes their way of life until someone steps in and protects them.According to ChildHelp USA, 5
children die a day due to abuse and neglect.
Today is the
day we no longer turn away in indifference. Today is the day we tell our
children, we have heard their silent cries in the night and we share their
pain. People believe it is easy to turn away because you don’t see it. I say,
“This is not true, for you see it every day from the angry and volatile society;
which shoots up schools, murders and rapes children; where crimes of petty
theft receive more sentencing than the rape of a child; where children are sold
into indentured servitude, child porn, or into prostitution. What kind of
society have we become, where we stand by and allow such atrocities take place,
and not raise our voices to change this?
Where is the
OUTRAGE? "Enough Is Enough, We Will Not Be Silent Any
Longer!" Join the FACSA Foundation Revolution at FACSAFoundation.org,
or any local child advocacy groups!! I pass the baton to you, for you to
advocate for our children. The children are counting on you!
Allowing a child or children to travel abroad with their other parent during times of separation or divorce could be a very dangerous act, particularly if the child's other parent is a citizen of another country, and you have reason to believe that they may have a desire to keep the child in their native country without your or a court's permission. This is called 'international parental child abduction'. Make no mistake, when a child is wrongfully detained abroad by the other parent, bringing your child home despite this being a criminal act, despite you having a right of custody, and despite law being on your side is extremely difficult. In fact, it is estimated that only 10% of all children victims of international abduction ever come home when considering the reported cases of abduction and expected 'unreported' cases of international parental child kidnapping.
Now if you’re like hundreds of thousands of parents around the world the term international parental child abduction may be one you are not familiar with. . . . . . until a child you know is kidnapped and illegally detained in a foreign country by the child’s other parent.
Before I go any further, let me say this: the vast majority of children abducted abroad never come home. Tragically, some can’t – they are gone forever.
According to United States Federal Law, the illegal removal of a child from the country without consent of a court or the child’s other parent is a criminal act of kidnapping. The conspiracy that leads up to the child snatching is generally filled with a host of illegal activities, including false allegations toward the targeted parent of abuse toward the child or other parent. This is something I will touch upon later. However, one thing more than anything else should be clear: parental child abduction is not just an act of kidnapping against an innocent child, but inherently, an abducted child becomes a prisoner of the kidnapper forced to follow and obey the predators instruction under the deplorable acts of parental alienation that the kidnapper deploys as they need to rationalize their behavior toward the child-victim.
Generally, the vast majority of abductions are well-planned and are orchestrated so that the other parent is off-guard when the abduction occurs. Blindsided by the act of international parental child abduction – that tragically is treated very differently than a stranger abduction by law enforcement despite the act being a federal crime of kidnapping - parents who attempt to reunite with their child often enter a dark and dangerous world that will change their world forever.
In cases of parental child abduction the kidnapper uses the child as a pawn to cause hurt and suffering toward the other parent. Denying that parent access to the child is a common theme and often the reason why abduction occurs.
The fear is – the reality is – that many abductors exhibiting sociopath behavior often believe that if they can’t have sole custody of a child – nobody will. Additionally, there appears to be a strong correlation of adult suicides connected to child abduction victims.
None of its easy to discuss yet we’re all only three degrees of separation from knowing someone who may be a target of abduction.
Make no mistake; the reality is that tens of thousands of children living in cities and on farms across our nation are targeted for kidnapping each year. It is carefully estimated that only 10% of these children will ever come home when we consider the ‘reported’ and ‘unreported’ cases of abduction.
The answer is complex, but in general terms, we are seeing a substantial increase in multi-national relationships, which personally I think is great; however, with the notion of ‘global citizenship’ comes some challenges.
You see, as our world becomes a closer, more connected society, individuals from different nations develop relationships with one another, some leading to the birth of a child. Unfortunately, some of these relationships end, and when they do, the foreign-born national parent often desires to return to their home country – and when they do – they usually have a desire to take the child with them.
Except they have one problem: the other parent does not want their child to live abroad after being born and raised in their home country.
Knowing that the likelihood of a court granting them permission to live abroad with their child more than likely will not occur, the parent seeking to relocate to a foreign country often creates a clever, well thought-out plan to either abduct the child from the child’s country of original jurisdiction, or, they will create a deceitful scheme that will enable them to legally remove the child from the country they live in – such as plans to travel on a family vacation with intentions of permanent removal.
Now what most individuals do not realize is that once that child steps foot on foreign soil, that child’s temporary welfare becomes the responsibility of the rules of law and courts of the country they are located in.
Which means this: the police and courts must follow the procedures established under their law: the targeted parent more than likely will be arrested, issued restraining orders against them, and have their access to their child denied until an investigation is done. In the meanwhile, the scheming taking parent files a host of legal motions in the country that will further restrain the targeted parent.
Welcome to a scheming kidnappers idea of a vacation.
Sometimes - and I have seen this happen many times – but a kidnapper will say that the other parent actually consented to have the child relocate . . . so that they can litigate ‘what’s in the child’s best interest’ abroad – in their country of origin – and at a tremendous disadvantage to the child’s other parent.
I want to make this very clear: the scheme of a parental child abductor does not discriminate by gender. Men and women generally abduct equally and often cite abuse and mistreatment as the reason why they abducted. They make the claim that they are not abductors but liberators fleeing abuse. The majority of these claims are false. They are lies created to defend against Federal kidnapping charges. They are lies created in hope a court would sanction the abduction under Article 13 of the Hague Convention – a rule that allows an abductor the ability to relocate if they can prove it is not in the child’s best interest to return to their home country. These lies are intended to cruelly cause the targeted parent suffering, including arrest in hope to make any litigation they may bring to reunite with their child difficult or impossible.
So if you think that since you may have a U.S. custody order, and that THAT order will allow you to simply go and bring your child home, you should know this: that once your child is in a foreign country, the pragmatic reality of the custody order you are in possession of may mean very little, especially if the abductor has made a criminal complaint against you and/or filed a civil action for custody. Usually, they happen at the same time.
And so here’s your reality: should you attempt to remove your child and take them home with you, you may be violating laws in the country you and your child are located in and you may be arrested . . . . Your custody order is at least temporarily, useless. Welcome to the world of parental child abduction.
Do you get the sense of hopelessness? If you do – welcome to the world of many chasing parents.
Add to it that while your child is gone, he or she is taught by the abductor to think you are a bad mother or father out to hurt them and their taking parent. Yes, parental alienation and parental isolation are alive and well – and in its abuse, it destroys the innocence and very fabric of your child.
So as the summer approaches, this is the time of year when parents need to be aware of the warning signs of parental child abduction.
I have often heard from parents who tragically stuck their head in the sand and didn’t pay attention to the warning signs that ‘Their partner was not that clever’, to find out just how cunning and deceitful they really were only after their child or children were gone.
The key to stopping child abduction is to prevent it from happening.
The MOST IMPORTANT WARNING sign of abduction is to understand the present relationship you have with the child's other parent and ask yourself 'May that parent have the intent, desire, ability, and means to take your child to another country without your permission, or possible intent to keep your child in a foreign country should you grant permission for your child to travel abroad with you, the other parent, or both of you?
Abduction often occurs as a prelude to parents separating or beginning divorce proceedings, though there are a significant number of abductions that occur post-divorce commencement litigation. In many cases, the abduction is a planned scheme, which means that generally, the parent intending to abduct a child will try to create an atmosphere that is opposite of their intent: meaning that they will try lull the other parent to thinking that they are committed to the relationship, when in fact they are not. This is a critical issue because it is easier to abduct a child when the targeted parent is not seeking to prevent abduction. So having the targeted parent think that there is a loving, committed relationship is critical for the abductor.
So - if you have been in a difficult, strained relationship with a person who has deep ties to a foreign country, and suddenly that person is demonstrating a new-found love or new-found commitment . . . and they eventually pose the idea of traveling abroad with the child so the child could visit that person's family, THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS WARNING SIGN that abduction may be planned.
Remember, even if you are invited to travel with the other parent and child, this does not mean you or your child are safe. I know many parents who traveled abroad with the other parent and child who were in possession of custody orders - only to have false claims of abuse, neglect, or acts of violence made against them within days of touching down in the foreign country. Once that happens, the legal nightmare begins - despite possessing joint custody, there is very little that the targeted parent can do to remove the child from the inbound country because the abducting parent usually has filed legal documents seeking court relief to remain abroad - typically in their country of origin.
So here we are - the school summer vacation season is upon us. Parents need to ask themselves this question: Has my relationship with my child's other parent been strained, and all of a sudden there is a new-found love or commitment by that parent - and is there a trip abroad being suggested or planned? Because if so - you should be very concerned.
As touched upon earlier, if you believe the other parent may remove or retain the child abroad in order to gain an advantage in expected or pending child-custody proceedings by seeking the jurisdiction of the courts located in their country of origin, you should be very concerned.
For example, if a child is taken to a nation in the Middle East, there is a high probability that that nation will allow the abductor to keep the child abroad since the legal environment or cultural traditions may provide the abductor the safe harbor they seek.
In fact, there are many nations who simply do not return internationally kidnapped children, and this includes the majority of countries found in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, who outrageously, are not signatory members of international treaties on abduction. And before I let you think that having a child abducted to European or South American countries is any better you better think again. For example, I have a good friend who is a highly decorated police officer in New York who had his daughter abducted to Germany. For nearly 4 years this loving, honest, compassionate father has fought to reunite with his child. Yet she remains in Germany and he is as close as bringing her home today as he was when the kidnapping first occurred.
Unfortunately, there are countries, particularly in the Middle East, that have cultural environments that make it very difficult for a woman to recover their child. Cultural norms in Asia make it equally difficult for a man to recover their child. But child recovery and reunification is rare. In fact, there are many cases when the international courts order for a child to be returned to their country of original jurisdiction, and the kidnapping parent does not follow the court orders and does so without fear of retribution or arrest . . . . its a common theme.
Now back to the WARNING SIGNS - If the other parent threatens you that they will take your child abroad and you will never see them, don't take this threat as a non-event. Many abductors who have successfully kept a child abroad did in fact make at least one threat that they were returning to their own country of origin.
Another WARNING SIGN is if the other parent presses you to sign a passport application for your child to obtain a passport from their country of their origin. Remember - your child has a right to dual citizenship if their other parent is a foreign born national.
BEWARE that many nations do not require a second parent's signature in order to obtain travel documents for a dual national child. . . for example France - so you very well may not know if the other parent has a secondary passport issued from another country. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT because even though the U.S. courts may obtain or even cancel your child's American passports, they have no control on passports issued by another country. The fact is that even though a U.S. court order may restrict international travel for the child - passports issued by a foreign country are accepted without question at points of departure from the U.S. "
So if abduction is going to occur - there is a high probability that foreign issued passports will be used to leave the United States.
NEEDLESS TO SAY, if you discover a foreign passport for your child issued from another country that you were not aware of, you have a serious problem on your hand.
Often the scheming parent will use a sudden illness of a family member abroad as a scheme to play on the targeted parent's heart, often seeking to have their child, 'See their grandmother or grandfather before they pass away.' I can't even begin to tell you how many scenarios like that I am aware of - when the targeted parent who let their child travel with the other parent - soon finds out that there was no family emergency, but instead - an abduction scheme.
A CRITICAL WARNING SIGN is if you soon realize that the other parent is sending large sums of money or other personal belongings abroad - or if they are removing all financial ties to the country they presently live in . . . such as selling their home, quitting their job, selling their car. You get the idea.
There is one other VERY IMPORTANT WARNING SIGN that I would like to touch upon here: if there is a false police complaint and incident report filed by your child's other parent against you, there is a likelihood that they are establishing a case against you based upon domestic violence and abuse which will be very beneficial to them in court should they abduct your child.
Disgracefully, both men and women abductors are known to make false claims of abuse toward the other parent when planning to abduct . . . if you think it can’t happen to you – you better think again.
With false police complaints in mind, there is something every parent should be aware of: generally, a parent seeking to abduct a child will often make a false police report against the other parent on Thursday afternoons thru Friday afternoon in hope to have their targeted parent arrested and detained by law enforcement over the weekend so that while the child's other parent is in jail, they have an unimpeded path to depart the country.
When the abductor arrives in the inbound country where they had schemed to abduct the child to - they have established a paper trail of domestic abuse or violence reports that may provide the court in the foreign country with all the evidence they need to allow the abductor the right to keep the child there, thus becoming a 'liberator' as opposed to an 'abductor' because they created the false appearance that they had to run to protect their lives.
Remember, children under 16 years of age living in the United States, Canada, or Mexico are not required to present a valid passport when traveling within North America so long as they travel by land or sea under policies established by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative . . . . which means that a closed circuit cruise ship that starts and ends in the same port, but that may travel to foreign ports, is in fact a vehicle for abductors to use.
Hopefully the I CARE Foundation's efforts will cause our government to modify this policy and mandate that children traveling abroad, regardless of age must present a valid passport.
As the summer approaches, the reality is that thousands of children will be targeted for abduction. It is anticipated that several thousand children will be kidnapped abroad when combining reported and unreported cases of abduction.
Of these children taken, only a small number will ever return home . . . ever see their targeted parent again . . . ever return to the community they were raised in . . . ever see their family now left behind.
In the process, their identity will be stolen . . . who they are will be denied . . . they will learn to know hatred because that is what an abductor will preach to them in order to have that child hate their left behind parent . . . and they will live a life as a fugitive.
Most of all they will become prisoners illegally detained by a vengeful abductor who is using that child to cause harm and destruction to the other parent.
Tragically, these children will lose their innocence. As I said earlier, many will never come home . . . some simply will never have the opportunity to . . . . they can't.
On behalf of the I CARE Foundation, I am pleased to share my quarterly report on the foundation's accomplishments, activities, and plans for the future. Though there remains a great deal of challenges, particularly with existing international parental child abduction cases, the tide is turning toward preventing future cases of abduction.
Despite key factors that have led to increases
in risk factors associated with IPCA such as global citizenship mobility, U.S.
abduction rates have dropped from what was previously forcasted as a +22% to a
+40% yearly growth rate to an average decline of 15% per year over the past two
This is a remarkable series of events,
and credit must be given and shared with those who have worked so hard to stop
Personally, I beleive that there is no
organization that deserves more credit than the United States Department of
State's Office of Children's Issues (OCI). The leadership of OCI is made up of
some of the most caring individuals in the world who dedicate their lives to
helping families at risk of abduction. Speaking from first-hand experience as a
volunteer advocate who spends a significant part of my life fighting for
children at risk of abduction, I can tell you that fighting this fight is not
easy: which makes it even that more remarkable to think about the incredible
committment displayed by many individuals at OCI. With attention to the decline
in reported cases of abduction, significant credit must be given to OCI and its
leadership, who continued with an assortment of educational public outreach
programs created to help families in crisis. Clearly, their effort is making a
Outreach and education has been the primary
catalyst behind the decline in abductions, and undeniably, the work of a select
group of organizations, foundations, and individuals have made a sizeable
difference in preventing abduction. Unilaterally, the work of child abduction
prevention advocates have been able to not only educate families in crisis of
abduction, but organizations such as the I CARE Foundation have assisted parents
by providing legal counsel during court abduction prevention proceedings.
Undeniably, stewarding the public message of abduction risk has made a
measurable difference, and the tireless work of these non-government
organizations have made a difference. In addition, the vehicles used to reach
parents have increased. The books, articles, and reports written and published
have mattered. The educational documentary films have made a differene, as too
have the creation of several educational websites.
reflection, the power of social media and global connectivity via the Internet
has allowed communities dealing with IPCA to form and grow. These communities
have become visible and made a difference to many. And they continue to
Another aspect of why IPCA rates have fallen is
that after 30 years since the United States became a member of the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction
(1981), courts and judges charged with overseeing abduction risk are finally
beginning to understand the gravity of the situation at hand, and their own
limited authority once a child is illegally removed.
From the I CARE Foundation's perspexctive, and keeping
in mind that many of our lawyers have worked impressively to educate the courts
and judges on the many issues of IPCA. On a personal level, I have voluntarily
provided expert testimony before numerous courts in my capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation at the request of counsel. In fact, at the
request of the United States Department of State, the I CARE Foundation hosted a
conference where I had the opportunity to speak at the United Nations as part of the Department of State's 'Global
Leadership Visitor Program'. It has been deeply rewarding to know that the I CARE Foundation's efforts have also included rescuing numerous kidnapped and trafficketed children.
Finally, I must say that
the incredible effort of a series of parenting bloggers who wrote extensively
about IPCA reached millions of other parents, some of who were at risk of having
a child abducted. Made aware of their own circumstances (many parents never
consider the possibility of IPCA), these at-risk parents were able to act to
protect their children - something I know first hand because the I CARE
Foundation assisted numerous families in crisis who turned to the foundation for
assistance after reading an article posted by a parent blog writer. Remarkably,
these amazing parents, all not having any direct association with IPCA, made a
major contribution and help protect children.
moving in the right direction? Yes. However, it would be a major mistake to
think that we can put our guard down and not push further to remove abduction
risk. Clearly there is a great deal to be done on all fronts, including the
abduction prevention side, and, equally, on the international compliance side
once a child is kidnapped. Sadly, it is anticipated that the total number of
children returned home after they are abducted, when including reported and
unreported cases of abduction (as defined in the report below), is less than
10%. Which means that approxiamately 90% of all kidnapped children never come
home. And the dangers of IPCA are real, and include severe abuse that has led
to parental child murder and post-abduction suicide by kidnapped victims. And
that is why we must continue to fight against abduction. Afterall, a child's
life sure is worth fighting for.
I offer to you the
report 'Crisis In America - 2013' (written by Carolyn Ann Vlk, Joel Walter, and
Peter Thomas Senese). Carolyn and Joel are two of the hardest working child advocates on the
planet. The I CARE Foundation is very fortunate to have their
Looking into 2013, there is a great deal of work to be done to help children at-risk of abduction and trafficking. The I CARE Foundation is committed to continue our work on behalf of children. The I CARE Foundation's 2012 Year In Review
What began with a personal promise I made during the time I was Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction to one day make a difference for children and their families targeted for severe abuse in the form of the inhumane act of international parental child kidnapping (IPCA) came to reality in 2012 with the commencement of the self-funded, non-profit International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment Foundations, Inc's (the I CARE Foundation) extensive, measurable operations working to prevent abduction and trafficking, and along the way, becoming heroes to children by creating more than a few miracles.
In reflection of all the positive things the I CARE Foundation has accomplished, the reality is that IPCA is spreading rapidly, hundreds of thousands of children each year are targeted for cross-border kidnapping each year, the majority of children who are abducted never come home, and tragically the vast majority of all children of abduction face serious short-term and long-term problems, including the threat of filicide (parental child-murder) and post-abduction suicide. These conditions prevail despite IPCA being a criminal act of kidnapping in accordance to federal laws. To put it mildly, we must do more. Considerably more. Still, the I CARE Foundation's first full year of operations has had a significant positive impact on many as shared below. And on this note, I would like to express on behalf of the foundation my sincere thanks to all the incredible individuals who assisted in our stewardship and organizational mission.
It is not easy to think about nor write about a young child being murdered, nor is it easy to think about an emotionally battered and abused adult who was once a child-victim of abduction committing suicide because of post-abduction side effects, but it is a reality, and undeniably, it is a reality of IPCA.
International parental child abduction is simply not a criminal act of kidnapping and abuse, but a malicious act that could lead to a targeted child victim's death. IPCA's malignant tentacles target's innocence's life.
I know I speak for everyone at the I CARE Foundation when I say fighting to protect that innocent child is worth everything. And that includes the occasion threats and attacks received by kidnappers.
In my capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I and the foundation's directors, advisers, friends, and supporters join other advocates and organizations who act as steward-advocates sharing the message that IPCA is a serious, highly abusive, and inhumane crime against innocent children that leads to the destruction of life.
Reality is that each American and Canadian citizen is only three degrees of separation from knowing a child who has been kidnapped.
How big of an epidemic is it?
Consider this: in the United States it is measurably forecast that there will be between 100,000 and 125,000 American children internationally kidnapped by one parent from another. In Canada this number ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 children. Mexico is expected to see approximately 45,000 to 60,000 children abducted. That's between 160,000 and 205,000 innocent children in North America who will be criminally abducted abroad, and who are at risk of a fate of no-return.
The number of children being returned to their country of original jurisdiction - their home - is glaringly low and is measurably forecast at roughly 10%. The 10% return number could actually be considerably lower because, in contrast to the U.S. Department of State's reported return numbers, the I CARE Foundation contests that the DOS numbers are extraordinarily inaccurate with respect to the overall picture of IPCA because their reported cases of abduction and reported return numbers do not consider the number of unreported cases of abduction, nor the reality that there is a projected 0% return of abducted children who are not reported to the DOS's Office of Children's Issues. With respect to unreported cases of IPCA, the extensive, highly distributed report written by Carolyn Vlk and me titled 'Crisis In America' measurably forecasts the number of unreported cases of IPCA in America appear to range from 100% to 125% of all reported cases of IPCA to the DOS. Due to the immigration influx in Canada, unreported cases of IPCA appear to be on par with the U.S. forecast.
Similar to North America, European and South American IPCA is dramatically on the rise and appears to be on par with North America.
In addition, in Asia cases of child abduction and human trafficking remain a glaring and unthinkable issue as exemplified by China's outrageous reality of child slavery and trafficking in that country as illustrated by the December 24th, 2012 arrest of 355 traffickers, including a large number of police officers who ran child abduction rings in that country. In fact, over the past 3 years China has reunited over 50,000 trafficked children with their parents. An impressive reunification number at first glance, but in truth one that pales in comparison to the number of children brought into the dark world of abduction and slavery. China is not alone, as this problem is widespread in most Asian countries.
Speaking of Asia, Japan, one of the West's biggest trading partners and allies remains a black hole of international parental child abduction. Here is the reality of the West's biggest alley: children who are abducted to Japan by a Japanese national do not ever come home. And today, there are hundreds of American and Canadian children who are illegally held in Japan by a parent who has kidnapped them.
With keen eyes focused on how we may protect children from a nightmarish fate of IPCA, the I CARE Foundation has launched a series of research studies and legislative initiatives, while voluntarily working where possible to help families in crisis.
What Needs To Be Done
Several noticeable issues going into 2013 need to be prioritized. They include but are not limited to:
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction inbound member-state signatories need to adhere to the spirit of the international treaty and act to expeditiously decide on litigation concerning the return of the child.
Courts in signatory member-states must act fairly and without bias so the international treaty is upheld.
Judges in courts all over the world who preside over IPCA cases must be well-trained on all matters of IPCA, including the reality that abduction is a severe and abusive crime against a child that enables an abductor to further abuse a child during the time litigation brought by a targeted parent occurs. Furthermore, courts and their judges must act to counter-balance any stall tactics implemented by an abductor or their legal counsel as such activity is often implemented to strategically financially break the chasing parent due to the extreme cost chasing parents face when trying to reunite with their kidnapped child. Of course, the courts must enforce the universally recognized notion amongst signatory nations that IPCA is extreme abuse, and extreme abuse is not in the best interest of any child.
Sanctions by Hague member-nations against non-complying Hague member-nations must simply not be discussed but enacted. The collateral damage of innocent children in lieu of other foreign policy issues should not be acceptable under any circumstance.
The international community must continue to put diplomatic pressure on non-Hague signatories to become complying parties to the convention. This includes countries such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, and Russia (most countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are not members of the Hague Convention).
New state and federal laws (in Canada, provincial and national laws) geared toward child abduction and child trafficking must be created and upheld by both law enforcement and courts.
In the United States, the Senate passed SR 543, which resolved that the American government and all agencies charged with a role in preventing or reuniting internationally kidnapped children use all legal remedies available to them under law to help children, including consideration of criminal prosecution of abductors and those who have aided or abetted in a kidnappers activity. It is imperative that individuals who conspire to or actually abduct or aid in an abduction of a child are prosecuted.
IPCA is a criminal act of kidnapping under the International Kidnapping Crimes Act. The act of kidnapping of any form is an inhumane act. Kidnappers who flee to another country must be extradited back to the country where the abduction took place. Thus, it is critical that new agreements are created between many countries that allow for extradition of parents who kidnap, which unfortunately does not exist today.
Parents everywhere must be aware that IPCA is real, growing, and could potentially impact their lives, particularly in an ever-growing multi-cultural global society where individuals from different nations create relationships that result in the birth of a child, and, the prevalence of divorce in society.
Hague Central Authorities and government agencies in each member-state need to have their operation's reviewed and clearly provided with greater resources necessary to support the much-needed expansion of operations required by families in crisis of abduction. On December 14th, 2013 by virtue of U.S. Senate Resolution 543, Congress called for a full review of the U.S. Office of Children's Issues (OCI) , which has oversight for all reported cases of inbound and outbound IPCA in the United States. Undeniably, as both knowledge and understanding of the severity and danger of IPCA has increased, and, as the number of IPCA cases has also dramatically increased, the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues that Congress created when it affirmed to annex the Hague Convention faces exponentially more severe, diverse, and a greater number of international kidnapping cases entering into and exiting the United States. OCI must be completely overhauled to keep up with the crisis in America that is IPCA.
Continued research in the area of IPCA must be conducted.
Child abduction prevention measures must be created, implemented and upheld at both the local and national level.
Clearly, there are many serious challenges ahead of us as a global-nation of concerned global-citizen advocates of children.
The work of every individual associated with the I CARE Foundation is done on a volunteer basis. In addition, the foundation is solely funded by the organization's board of directors and members of our advisory board in accordance to our non-profit organization's by-laws.
When I look back at my own personal journey racing into the storms of international parental child kidnapping, and my life as an author, I am pleased that writing Chasing The Cyclone has led to the creation of the I CARE Foundation and the many miracles that have been created when a group of individuals act selflessly, in kindness, and act by standing up for what is right: and in this case what is right in trying our best to help protect children.
As a writer, I am humbled that my work writing the deeply inspired story that is Chasing The Cyclone has been called by others in the media as 'Creating Miracles Through A Book'.
There is no question there is a great amount of work that needs to be done to help children of IPCA. We are reminded each day of the great need to educate, reform, and assist where we can. The accomplishments of the I CARE Foundation drive us to build upon what we have achieved, while reminding us that there is a whole lot of work ahead of us on the horizon. The following is a partial list of the I CARE Foundation's 2012 achievements.
The I CARE Foundation has significantly assisted numerous targeted parents prevent the criminal abduction of their child or children, while creating legal precedents in numerous courts during litigation in hope and anticipation that other children and families will be protected.
The I CARE Foundation launched a successful national campaign to build an attorney network of lawyers willing to assist at-risk of abducted children, including an extensive campaign to assist recruit the U.S. Department of State build the 'Hague Convention Attorney Network'.
The I CARE Foundation participated in the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program held at the United Nations.
The I CARE Foundation's internal fund-raising activity has ensured strong and progressive advocacy for 2013.
The I CARE Foundation's accomplishments have been made possible because a group of individuals cared enough to attempt to make a difference in the lives of others.
I will be the first to admit that despite the many dozens of families who we have successfully assisted by either reuniting them with their abducted child or by assisting in preventing their child's abduction, the reality is that there are many individuals and families we have attempted to assist but have not yet been able to achieve what we have hoped for. The truth is the complexity of IPCA is significant.
Overall, the key to stopping child abduction, child slavery, child trafficking, and child abuse is to prevent any and all of it from happening in the first place.
The reality is that when it comes to IPCA, children who are stolen should never be viewed as being with their other parent, but instead they must be viewed as being held by a kidnapper who, as stated by numerous government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice as likely a person who has serious and dangerous sociopathic tendencies.
Of particular note, the I CARE Foundation assisted numerous families in crisis because a group of incredible parenting writers/bloggers got involved and helped raise awareness. On behalf of the foundation's board and advisory board, I would like to express my sincere thanks and deep appreciation. The reality is the information shared will reach many more parents than any of us know, and more than likely will help many families we will never know or meet. Still, you made a difference and in this, you made the world a better place.
The parents who have had a child kidnapped face undue and incredible hardship. Few parents of abduction are reunited with their children. However, the tide is turning, and advocates such as those associated with the I CARE Foundation and elsewhere are committed to this change.
For those of you who have been reunited with your child, I hope that you do not walk away from this fight for children of abduction. It is in your wisdom that you will be able to help those who continue to chase.
And for those parents who still chase the cyclone of abduction, never give up hope and alwasy embrace your faith. Know patience, and never think your child does not know you love them no matter how severe the parental alienation is because even though your child is a hostage of abduction, they are made of you. And as I said, the mountain of abduction is moving because parents who care are mobilizing, governments are realizing the inhumanity of IPCA and acting, and society as a whole is realizing that IPCA is a severe and dangerous act of kidnapping.
2012 was a very good first year for the I CARE Foundation organizationally. We will be expanding our operations significantly, continue our dedicated efforts to conduct research and guide legislation and new policy that may protect children, assist families in crisis as much as possible, and continue our stewardship of raising social awarenss of IPCA in hope children and their parents will be protected.
To all of you who supported the I CARE Foundation's activity, and to all of you who we have worked with, or who we may work with in the future, we wish you great success in all of your endeavors in the coming 2013 New Year.
On behalf of everyone here at the I CARE Foundation, I wish you God's Blessings for a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful 2013 New Year.
The International Child Abduction Research and Enlightenment Foundation (herein referred to as 'The I CARE Foundation') is dedicated to assisting children and their families from the horrible and inhumane crimes of malicious international parental child abduction (herein referred to as 'IPCA'). For clarity and understanding, IPCA is a criminal act of kidnapping under federal and national laws in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere.
Part of the I CARE Foundation's mission is to conduct research in the area of IPCA, publish our findings, and use our findings to help guide new public policy that will benefit at-risk children and their families.
But what is it that we are really fighting against?
There are multiple facets to this answer, but all surround around the intent to prevent high-caliber child abuse, and this includes fighting against child-murder (filicide), and tragically, suicide my adults who were previously child-victims of IPCA.
It is important not to forget that children who are victims of IPCA are in fact crime victims - and crime victims of kidnapping. The reality that they are victimized by a parent exponentially magnifies the trauma and abuse, as demonstrated by Dr. Nancy Faulkner's highly distributed report stating that parental child abduction is child abuse. Dr. Amy Baker, who is one of the world's leading experts on parental alienation, not only reiterates the abuse of alienation and its widespread tentacles during international parental child abduction in her brilliant publication 'Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome', but further states that alienation and abduction cause for a child to lose their identity and in doing so, lose themselves, thus developing alarming long-term side affects of IPCA trauma.
Filicide has been an alarming issue that has recently become brought to society's attention due in great part to the work of Dr. Phillip Resnick, director of forensic psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University, who is one of the world's leading experts on filicide. However, up until now, there have been no published reports on IPCA and suicide though an assortment of surveyed therapist who specialize in IPCA have expressed alarm over the existence of adult suicides by IPCA child-victims.
Now, IPCA is not a new phenomena; however, it is one that over the past 20 years has grown dramatically and has by the very nature of the number of abductions here in the United States, in Canada, and worldwide become a frightening epidemic that is undeniably destroying many lives.
The I CARE Foundation's efforts as an organization dedicated to conducting research and studies in the area of IPCA is critical to society today particularly since there has been limited new studies conducted despite the reality that it is expected that as many as 100,000 to 125,000 American and as many as 20,000 Canadian children will be victims of IPCA.
Sadly, we are deeply concerned about IPCA and filicide - when a parent murders their child. Previous studies conducted, including those conducted by the RCMP have demonstrated that the instability of a parental child abductor is severe, and that children of abduction have been murdered by their parent because of the irrational and dangerous thinking connected to abduction that "If I can't have my child, then nobody will."
How widespread is filicide? Several hundred children each year will be murdered by their parents each year in America, and proportionately, the number of Canadian children victims are on par with the population ratio of American to Canada.
After much discussion with leading therapist who specialize in IPCA, filicide, suicide, and family crisis issues, and having these mental health specialist express great, universal concern with respect to IPCA and suicide, the I CARE Foundation will be overseeing a new study that focuses on post-child abduction and suicide from targeted children.
Of great concern is the fact that many reported psychological conditions that exist with individuals who have committed suicide have been reported to exist with individuals who have been previously abducted or abusively alienated by a parent.
The I CARE Foundation will be providing updates on this issue: however, one thing is certain, and that is that there appears to be a clear correlation between suicide and IPCA.
Lastly, if you are a parent considering abduction, please do not. The effects on your child are long-lasting and severe.
Christmas Is High-Season For International Parental Child Abduction
It is a known fact that many children around the world are internationally abducted by one parent from another during the Christmas Holiday Season. Unfortunately, it is also a known fact that many targeted parents of abduction have never heard of international parental child abduction and are not aware of the warning signs of abduction and what to do if abduction is imminent. Families that are considered high-risk for international abduction include those where there a strained relationship between individual participants from a cross-cultural marriage (parents born in two different countries) whereas one of the parents has strong ties to another country, and have limited ties (such as financial assets) to the country where they are presently living in with the child and the child's other parent (or in existing divorce or separation cases, when the other parent is actively involved in the child's life). How It Works In many instances of cross-border parental child abduction that occurs during the holiday season, generally the largest number of incidents takes place when one parent travels to another country with their child or children of a relationship accompanied by, or with the initial consent of the other parent.
Generally, the travel takes place under a guise of a holiday trip abroad to visit family members of the parent intending to abduct. Of course, the targeted parent is clueless as to what is really going on.
So for example, Father X was born and raised in the Middle East but married Woman Y, who is an American citizen. The couple lives in the United States, where their child was born and raised.
Unknown to the woman in the relationship, the husband wants to end the relationship and relocate back to his country of origin back in the Middle East. However, he has one problem: he knows that his wife will never allow for him to legally take the child with him.
So instead of announcing his true intent to separate, the husband will create critically important misdirection. Meaning, he will do everything possible to make his wife believe that he is happy and committed in the relationship.
I did say everything possible.
Because it is critical that she put her guard down and not suspect any foul play or scheme.
In the meantime, little things - that are really big things - may be taking place visibly or without knowledge of the targeted parent. There are many warning signs to look for, but if the subtleties are not carefully considered, then the would-be abductor will get away with their plan.
So the husband who is intending to abduct the child by wrongfully detaining the child abroad will continue to create a facade of being happily married and committed to the relationship while carefully laying out a plan to get the child abroad.
Eventually, and right about this time of the year, the would-be abductor makes the suggestion that it would be 'great' or 'nice' or 'meaningful' to travel abroad together or without the other parent (depending on reasonable circumstances) in order to see his parents, siblings, and extended family. And of course, all of this is in the best interest of the child of the partnership.
Now, since the wife may believe the husband is committed to their relationship and does not even consider that he may have intent to not return to their marital home, she more than likely is willing to consent to the holiday vacation.
Unfortunately for the mother and child, the trip takes place.
Unknown to both, the parent intending to abduct has already hatched a well-thought out plan, including what may be necessary to keep the child abroad while removing the other parent's rights to the child abroad.
Everything is deception - and everything must be considered.
For example: the husband may ship certain belongings like a crib or a stroller and other items of the child that may create the appearance the other parent knew he was relocating - and gave consent! Or, he may have begun to move his assets abroad.
Once abroad with his wife and child, the would-be abductor may make false accusations of child or spousal abuse (men and women both claim abuse in cases of of planned abduction), claims of drug use, or any other claim that may indicate that the child is at risk.
By stating the child is at risk, this could potentially allow a local court in the foreign country to grant him immediate custody of the child - even though the child's original jurisdiction is in the country they were born and raised. In addition, in cases where a Hague Application may be filed, the abductor has laid ground for an Article 13 Defense (which revolves around the best interest of the child and is also known as the 'Slander Defense'). In nearly every case of abduction, the parent intending to abduct has cleverly orchestrated a public defamation campaign against the other parent - one that is typically concealed under the veil of anonymity. Additionally, there are malicious and untruthful claims of spousal or child abuse made (by both men and women, equally).
If it sounds complicated, it is.
It is important for individuals married or in a relationship with partners who originate from non-Hague countries such as those located in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to understand that if you are traveling to nations located in these areas and the other parent intends to not return to the child to the country of original jurisdiction, there is a very good chance they will be successful in keeping the child abroad . . . and your contact will be limited or absolved completely. Additionally, it is important to pay careful attention to Hague-Convention non-complying countries such as Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and Poland.
Of course, if you ever plan to travel abroad and have been involved in a suspicious or strained relationship, please contact an attorney who is familiar with international parental child abduction prevention.
Additionally, I strongly advise you consider obtaining a court order prior to travel that the child is to be returned. However, remember - in countries that are not members of international treaties regarding abduction or do not comply to such said treaties - if a child is taken - it will be very costly and difficult to bring your child home.
So - if you have any suspicion that abduction might be planned - and this time of year is the planning period for the high number of Christmas Holiday Abductions that occur - seek the advice of a qualified lawyer - and do not let your child travel abroad under any circumstances. Please pay attention to the warning signs and act now!