Carolyn Vlk

Colorado Child Becomes A Victim Of Parental Child Abduction To Canada Despite Amber Alert

A Longmont, Colorado mother who was assaulted this past Saturday by her separated husband after he broke into her home, where he is alleged to have pepper-sprayed her before using a stun gun on her before he kidnapped their three-year old child to Canada despite an Amber Alert being issued for the abducted child is hopeful that she will be reunited with her son over the coming days.  The child’s father was arrested in Manitoba, Canada on Sunday, and thankfully, the child has been reported to be doing okay.

Brandy Turner Holding Her Son Luke Prior To Abduction

Brandy Turner Holding Her Son Luke Prior To Abduction

The abduction of Luke Turner and his abducting father, Monty Ray Turner’s ability to remove the child out of the United States and enter Canada despite an Amber Alert presents a dire concern international parental child abduction prevention advocates have been voicing for some time: the ease of which children are able to be illegally removed from both the United States’ as well as Canada’s borders due to existing border control policies and abduction prevention laws.

As the school summer vacation months approach, it is anticipated that the majority of criminal international parental child abductions will take place. How to prevent these kidnappings is at the core of concern for tens of thousands of abduction prevention stakeholders, including targeted parents of abduction, law enforcement, courts of local jurisdiction, and respective government agencies around the world charged with protecting children.

According to the Longmont Daily Times-Call, the defenseless child’s mother, Brandy Turner told police she stepped outside her home to smoke a cigarette and saw her husband in the backyard as Luke was having breakfast, Mrs. Turner, who had a restraining order issued against her husband, said she went inside, closed and locked the door, and tried to call 911, but Monty Turner forced his way inside and threw the phone to the floor. During a scuffle, Mr. Turner used pepper spray, shooting it into her face before she felt an electric shock, which she believes to be from a stun gun, she told the newspaper.

After snatching the child, Mr. Turner drove 1,500 kilometers east, leaving Colorado and entering Canada at some point while driving across the northern plains shared between the United States and Canada.

The brutality of the assault and abduction is indicative of sociopathic behavior exhibited by many parental child abductors.

Brandy Turner told The Associated Press on Monday that she had spoken with Luke on the phone and he knows he’s coming home. She said she couldn’t travel to Canada to get him because she has no passport. The child is presently under the supervision of Canada’s Child and Family Services.

Failure Of The Amber Alert

The Canadian Border Services Agency is presently investigating how the child was able to enter Canada despite an Amber Alert issuance.

kidnapping-map

How Monty Ray Turner Entered Canada Despite An Amber Alert Is Unknown At This Time

Immediate concerns on how Mr. Turner was able to leave the United States and enter Canada include that somehow someone at the Canadian border dropped the ball, and did not carefully check for any Amber Alerts on the child and father. In addition, there is a possibility that Mr. Turner bypassed a border crossing all together and entered Canada by taking back roads that connect the two countries.

Immediate questions as to why Mr. Turner fled to Canada are troubling.

In the world of international parental child abduction, an abductor may initially enter into an adjacent country that shares a border with the child’s country of habitual residency due to ease of departure, only to use the first landing country as a launching point to disappear with the child to another country and into a sea of seven billion faces. It is presently unknown if Mr. Turner was intending to leave Canada for another country. Nevertheless, one thing appears clear: the abductor seemingly knew where he was going, which means he may have previously canvassed an exit route out of the United States traveling along the remote northern plains that have limited border security.

In a previously well-publicized international parental child abduction case that remains active, Mr. Stephen Watkins of Canada had his two young sons illegally removed from Canada to the United States by his former wife Edyta ( Ustaszewski / Ustaszewska ) with the assistance of the abductor’s father, Tadeusz Ustaszewski. Once in the United States,  Edyta Watkins disappeared, and was able to enter Poland. Despite Poland being a signatory of the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and arrest warrants for kidnapping issued against her, Edyta Watkins has remained at-large, and Mr. Watkins children have not been returned home.  Mr. Watkins children traveled into the United States without valid passports.

Targeted parents around the world who have their children abducted often do not reunite with their children.  Rarely, are abducting parents prosecuted, as courts often fail to hold accountable an abductor for their act of kidnapping, often wrongfully citing ‘best interest of the child’.

However, recently, parental child abductors are starting to be held accountable, which may be one of the reasons why the reported cases of outbound international parental child abduction originating from the United States has declined by 15% over the each of the last two fiscal years (2011 and 2012) after nearly 30 years of continued growth. It should be noted with great exception that Canada has failed to publicly report the number of Canadian children abducted from Canada since 2008.

Monty Ray Turner and Luke Turner

Monty Ray Turner and Luke Turner

Monty Ray Turner was arrested Sunday afternoon without incident at the Casablanca Motor Inn in Brandon after law enforcement authorities were able to quickly locate him after he used a credit card to check into the hotel. If he did not use the credit card, it would have been more difficult to locate him and the child.

The boy’s grandfather, Ronald Turner, 72, was pulled over in Missouri on Sunday on a warrant for second-degree kidnapping. He was driving a vehicle with a licence plate number listed on an Amber Alert that had been issued after Luke was taken.

A Looming Cloud

As prosecutors in the state of Colorado are working to take custody of Monty Ray Turner, 51, who was being held on numerous charges, including kidnapping, a looming cloud covers Canada, the United States, Mexico, and island-nations located in the Caribbean due to existing international travel document requirements for minors under 16 years old need to cross a border that were established under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Specifically, a child traveling by land or by sea across adjacent borders who is under 16 years of age does not need to present a passport at the time of deparute. Instead, all that is required is a photocopy of the child’s naturalization papers, such as a photo copy of a birth certificate.

Peter Thomas Senese's Critically Acclaimed Novel On International  Parental Child Abduction:  CHASING THE CYCLONE

Peter Thomas Senese’s Critically Acclaimed Novel On International Parental Child Abduction: CHASING THE CYCLONE

The presentation of fraudulent documents at border points has long existed and is well illustrated in the publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule” that was released March 27, 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security. It was reported that CBP officers had intercepted over 129,000 fraudulent documents since January 2005 from individuals trying to cross the border over an approximate 3 ½ year period. This is a substantial number; however, we must ask ourselves how many fraudulent documents were never uncovered and successfully used, and how has this impacted international parental child abduction and human trafficking.

It should be of great concern that the ability to falsify travel documentation for children is appears to be relatively easy. The capability to easily present travel documentation without another parent’s consent or to falsify travel documents for children in cases where a passport is not required appears relatively easy. The fact that simply a birth certificate or worse, a “copy” of a birth certificate and a letter of permission with no documentation to verify its validity, is sufficient to cross international borders is a serious security concern. And although it is is required that a parent or guardian traveling with the child without the other parent possess a letter of consent from the absent parent(s) we must strongly consider that there is no way to verify the validity of a parental consent letter.

Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the WHTI was designed to strengthen border security and is a joint Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) plan that is carried out in part by the U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency (CBP). The intent of the initiative is to further protect and strengthen our nation’s borders by requiring all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a WHTI compliant document that establishes identity and citizenship.

So where do we go from here?

Clearly, the summer seaon is upon us, and with the school summer break now here, this is a time of year when thousands of children living in North America will become crime victims of abduction.

As the Turner case unfolds, we must not only ask ourselves how did Mr. Turner exit the United States despite an Amber Watch, but how did he do this. Furthermore, as the Watkins case resoundly demonstrated, not only should there be a mandatory requirement for all individuals regardless of age and type of travel (land, sea, or air) to present a valid passport at the time of departure.  Note how I said ‘Valid Passport’?

Clearly, children like Luke Turner and every other child deserve to be safe from kidnapping.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative 
And International Parental Child Abduction 

How Are Children Internationally Abducted By Their Parent

Which leads us to the question, “How Are Children Illegally Abducted Into And Out Of The United States or Canada?”

Security flaws that can lead to our children becoming victimized include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Failures by courts and judges to properly assess abduction risk and attach court orders that would preempt international child stealing; and,
  2. Failure to create or uphold present child abduction prevention laws or other laws created to protect our children’s safety; and,
  3. Identity and travel documentation fraud; and,
  4. A lack of uniform requirements for travel documentation when departing or entering the U.S.; and,
  5. The ability under present law to easily illegally transport children under age 16 across borders during land and sea travel; and,
  6. Human error during verification of travel documents by CBP at a point-of-entry or departure; and,
  7. Failures by law enforcement to act expeditiously to a potential abduction threat; and,
  8. Inefficient communication and data sharing between government agencies responsible to assist in preventing or resolving an international child abduction case; and,
  9. The deficiency by our federal government to create and interlink a children’s travel alert, travel restriction data base consisting of real-time family court decisions at the state level with all U.S. border control agencies and transport companies similar to capabilities available through the Prevent Departure Program; and,
  10. A lack of or outdated or underutilized state or federal laws and programs that fail to prevent the abduction of a child and in fact may enable an abduction to occur.

For more information about international parental child abduction please visit The I CARE Foundation or Chasing The Cyclone.

For more information about international parental child abduction in Canada, please visit I CHAPEAU.

Advertisements

Peter Thomas Senese Hosts Television Special On International Parental Child Abduction On National Missing Children’s Day

Peter Thomas Senese Hosts Educational Television Special On International Child Abduction On National Missing Children’s Day

New York City Metropolitan area airing of ‘International Parental Child Abduction: A Pandemic’ which I hosted will air this Saturday at 8:30pm on Time Warner channel 56, Cablevision channel 69, Fios channel 44, and RCN channel 84 and also streamed online at the same time (Saturday at 8:30 PM) in conjunction with International Missing Children’s Day.

The segment is rather direct: Summer is when the majority of kids are abducted: this is how to stop their kidnapping. Its purpose very straight-forward: to simplify the risk factors of child abduction that occur during the summer school vacation and provide suggested steps on how targeted parents can protect their children.

The show will air in the 19 million person New York Metropolitan area this evening and is expected to be released thereafter in numerous communities around the United States.

To watch the show via web feed, please visit: http://bricartsmedia.org/community-media/bcat-tv-network (Channel 3).

A special thank you to Mark Sullivan for directing the educational segment, and to the indefatigable Carolyn Vlk and Joel Walter, Esq. for their writing contributions.

As history has demonstrated, sharing direct and straight-forward educational messages about child abduction prevention has helped many families targeted for kidnapping. God willing, the airing of ‘International Parental Child Abduction: A Pandemic’ will reach others who it is intended to reach.

In addition to this direct educational segment, I am happy to share that production of ‘150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children’ is expected to wrap mid-Summer, 2013. The documentary film is a rather different production than tonight’s airing.

On International Missing Children’s Day, I ask each of you to raise your voice and help raise awareness of abduction.

Kindest regards to all,

Peter Thomas Senese
The I CARE Foundation

U.S. International Parental Child Abduction Rate Drops By 15% in 2011 and 2012

The United States government has stated that the number of reported cases of international parental child abduction has dropped by over 15% during fiscal year 2012, marking the second year in a row that the number of reported cases of outbound child abductions have declined by over 15%. This current trend contradicts the previous 30 years, where there had been a significant increase in outbound abductions.

I invite you to read the report ‘Crisis in America’ – The I CARE Foundation’s report discussing international parental child abduction and where we are today.

Report on International Parental Child Abduction Growth
International Parental Child Abduction Today – 2013
Written By
Carolyn Ann Vlk and Peter Thomas Senese
Issued On February 25th, 2013

INTRODUCTION

United States child-citizens continue to be criminally kidnapped, illegally removed overseas, and wrongfully detained in foreign countries in shocking numbers by their non-custodial parent. The global plague of international parental child abduction significantly continues in America in a similar capacity as it does in the majority of nations abroad. However, the United States Department of State has now reported in two consecutive years that the number of reported outbound cases of American child-citizen abductions has declined. Clearly, this is very significant, particularly since previously reported growth trends demonstrated an average growth rate of reported American child abductions of over 20% per year during the previous decade.

Specifically, during 2012 there were 799 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority representing a total of 1,144 children.  Previously, in 2011 there were a total of 941 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority, representing a total of 1,367 children.

Thus, the reduction by 142 filed cases represents a decline of 15% of reported abduction cases from 2012 from 2011.  During the same reporting period, there were 223 fewer children internationally kidnapped in 2012 from 2011, representing a 16.3% decrease of total children abducted.

Comparatively, there were 1022 reported international parental child abduction cases in 2010 representing 1,492 children.  Thus, there has been a reduction of 223 reported abduction cases from 2010 to 2012, representing a total decline of 348 children between the two years. This represents a two year decline from 2010 to 2012 in reported cases by 21.8%, and a 23.3% reduction over the same two year period in the number of children kidnapped.

Year                      Reported Cases           Number of Children

2010                             1022                                       1,492
2011                               941                                       1,367
2012                              799                                        1,144

The decline in the reported number of international parental child abductions of American citizens represents a significant development and bespeaks of the tremendous educational outreach effort by the United States Department of State’s Office of Children’sIssues as well as non-government organizations such as but not limited to the I CARE Foundation and the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children to raise awareness of parental abduction amongst lawyers, judges, law enforcement, and targeted parents to that children may be protected.  However, it is important to note that despite a groundbreaking shift in child abduction statistical growth trends previously realized, we strongly affirm that criminal international parental child abduction continues to be a destructive epidemic in the United States and abroad that must be met with new abduction prevention laws and government policies, while significant efforts to educate courts, law enforcement, social workers, and at-risk parents of the many issues of child kidnapping diligently continue.

It is important to note that while the number of ‘reported cases’ of international parental child abduction have declined, the number of ‘unreported cases’ of abduction remains a significant concern for both government agencies and non-government organizations dedicated to preventing abduction.  Previously, the I CARE Foundation issued a report that the number of yearly unreported cases of abduction is believed to equal between 100% and 125% of all reported abduction cases.  We have no reason to change this forecast.  Thus, though there are no measurable statistics on unreported abduction cases, it would be reasonable, though not conclusive, to anticipate that the number of unreported cases of international child abduction have also declined.

While there is much to be pleased about regarding the significant decline in the reported international parental child abduction rate and forecasted decline in unreported cases of abduction, a great concern critically worth noting is that the number of children actually legally returned home after they are kidnapped remains to be estimated at only 10% when considering the total number of reported and unreported cases.

The reality is that children who are internationally abducted do not come home.  Sadly, many are lost forever.

One of the major facets of abduction prevention is education, and raising awareness of abduction threats to at-risk parents clearly has demonstrated a clear and measurable impact on the number of reported abduction cases.

Clearly and unquestionably, educational outreach programs directed toward raising international parental child abduction awareness are working!  Still, there is a long way to go.

The I CARE Foundation and the organization’s leadership have been actively involved in increasing awareness of child abduction while assisting a large number of parents protect their at-risk children.

One of the I CARE Foundation’s most dynamic and significant educational outreach programs that have had measurable results is the ‘Parent Blogger Educational Outreach Program’.  Under the program, highly influential parenting bloggers with a large global readership of followers have written a series of informative educational articles concerning the pandemic of international parental child abduction, including warning signs, risk factors, and actionable steps an at-risk parent may take to prevent abduction.  This grassroots effort led primarily by mothers who write and blog to raise awareness has been a tremendous success and has resulted in a significant number of successful child abduction prevention cases to occur.   Collectively, the extraordinary participants of the ‘Parent Blogger Educational Outreach Program’ have reached millions of parents, some who may have been directly at risk, or who may have known another parent and child at risk of abduction. In addition, the reach of these incredible parents willing to help protect children at risk of abduction has had a global impact on the prevention of child abduction as blogger participants were located on every continent and the millions of their readers blanketed the globe.  Clearly, the effort of these parent writers has made a significant difference in protecting lives, both in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere!

With the recent success of efforts put forth by child advocates everywhere to stop abduction, we are reminded that child abduction is a cruel and dangerous act against a child.

With grave concern we acknowledge that hundreds of young children each year are murdered by their parents in the United States, and that there is a clear statistical correlation of filicide in nations abroad and abduction similar to reported United States and Canadian government statistics of parental child murder.

As this report cites in detail, international parental child abduction is a severe criminal act of kidnapping committed by a parent against a child and the targeted left behind parent. International parental child abductors commit grave crimes against their child, including the act of abduction as well as the acts of child abuse and neglect.

According to numerous studies and reports including those issued by the United States Department of Justice and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an abductor exhibits significant sociopathic tendencies, and generally does not act in the best interest of a child, but conversely, the act of abduction and the acts after the child-snatching cause both serious short-term and long-term damage that may, on many occasions, be irreversible. Sadly, acts of identity stripping, parental isolation, and removal of the bond between the abducted child and targeted parent speak nothing of the fact that filicide: the act of parental child murder is real. So too, tragically, is the reality that children who have been abducted and who have had their identity stripped during an abduction exhibit an alarming number of characteristics that are exhibited in individuals who commit suicide.

For the majority of child advocates who work tirelessly to protect children, especially advocates who are not in the business of profiting due to the tragedy of a child being kidnapped, what we fight for are lives – children’s lives.

In our capacity as directors of the not-for-profit I CARE Foundation, which has successfully assisted reunited numerous internationally kidnapped children with their targeted left-behind parents taken from around the world, while also preventing an exponentially larger number of children from international parental child abduction, we and our colleagues have worked tirelessly at conducting extensive research in the area of child abduction.

The I CARE Foundation’s volunteer activity has included playing key roles in legally reuniting many abducted children, writing and working diligently in the passing of abduction prevention laws and leading in lobbying efforts to have existing policies modified so that the capacity to protect children from kidnapping would be increased, in our creation of a national attorney network of educated lawyers willing and ready to assist at-risk children and their families,  in our capacity as researchers and educators to study the global issues of international parental child abduction and publish our findings in a way that may drive policy, and in our efforts to create a grassroots educational awareness movement by working with leading parent bloggers and writers with large followers, who have shared with their audiences the grave issues of abduction.

Though great strides have been made over the past two years, and we hope that the child abduction trend will continue to decline, we do have reason for concern.  Our apprehension is due in part due to the reality that though abduction rates have declined in the last known reporting fiscal year of 2012, there remains a glaring failure by the courts and law enforcement to punish international parental child abductors even though the act itself is a federal criminal act that is a known form of child abuse.  Without concern to be held accountable for their actions, parents who contemplate or carry out abduction will do so with a sense of immunity.  Without holding kidnappers accountable, children at-risk of abduction remain vulnerable.

In addition, it is critical to recognize that chasing parents who attempt to legally reunite with their kidnapped child face incredible difficulties in doing so. The challenges faced are discussed in this report in detail; however, they include but are not limited to failures by nations to uphold international treaties such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the outright failure of nations to enter into any international treaty, receiving-country prejudice at the trial court level on legal action taken by a left-behind parent, grave financial challenges faced by a targeted chasing parent, and direct physical dangers faced by a targeted parent if they should attempt to reunite with their abducted child.

Clearly, child abduction prevention advocates are making an impact through an assortment of outreach programs that are raising awareness at the at-risk parent level, the trial lawyer level, and within the courts, as demonstrated by the second consecutive year of abduction rate declines. However, for parents presently attempting to reunite with their kidnapped children, the challenges they face are grave as explained herein.

REPORTED CASES OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Indisputable, are the actual number of ‘reported’ abduction cases. Estimating the incalculable total number of ‘unreported’ cases is difficult to assess. Despite this inability to concisely determine the total number of cases each year, it appears America and our nation’s children-citizens are plagued by a dangerous criminal epidemic known as ‘International Parental Child Abduction’ that is silently sweeping through our nation. At risk are tens if not hundreds of thousands of our defenseless children who are targeted for abduction each year.

In April of 2009, the annual Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was released. In that publication, Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs writes, “Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of redoubling efforts to promote compliance with Convention obligations and encourage additional nations to join the Convention.” She also writes, “Very few options exist for parents and children who are victims of parental child abduction.” In the 2010 annual report Ms. Jacobs continues to voice concerns over the increasing numbers of our child-citizens who have been wrongfully removed or wrongfully detained.

Similar sentiment has been shared in reports issued by the U.S. Department of State since this time. There is no question that the challenges that parents and children of abduction face are significant.

However, during 2012 there were 799 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority representing a total of 1,144 children.  Previously, in 2011 there were a total of 941 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority, representing a total of 1,367 children.  Thus, the reduction by 142 filed cases represents a decline of 15% of reported abduction cases from 2012 from 2011.  During the same reporting period, there were 223 fewer children internationally kidnapped in 2012 from 2011, representing a 16.3% decrease of total children abducted.  Comparatively, there were 1022 reported international parental child abduction cases in 2010 representing 1,492 children.  Thus, there has been a reduction of 223 reported abduction cases from 2010 to 2012, representing a total decline of 348 children between the two years. This represents a two year decline from 2010 to 2012 in reported cases by 21.8%, and a 23.3% reduction over the same two year period in the number of children kidnapped.

UNREPORTED CASES OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Peter Thomas Senese commented, “The anticipated number of international abductions used as a benchmark and often referred to is inconclusive because the published data does not take into consideration ‘unreported’ cases of international child abduction, population growth, increases in multi-cultural marriages, immigration migration increases to the United States, and economic difficulties many families are facing, which inevitably leads to a break-up of the family unit. More concerning is how the widely distributed and cited surveys used what I believe to be an inadequate number of telephone interviews and appear not to include any law enforcement records. In my view, we as a nation have a serious problem on our hands.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk stated, “Admittedly, something is seriously amiss in our ability to accurately estimate the number of children victimized by the crime of child abduction. In my opinion, utilizing only a random telephone survey, to determine the number of affected children is a process flawed by numerous, serious methodological problems. Additionally, the cooperation and compliance rate in obtaining the return of our citizen children who have been criminally internationally abducted must be drastically improved. The recovery of so few of these children during an entire fiscal year is not and should not be acceptable”.

Unfortunately, many internationally abducted children are never returned because their abductions are not reported to authorities. The likelihood is that the vast majority of these types of cases never end with a child’s return. It would be reasonable to conclude that if a targeted parent did not report their child’s abduction, then in all likelihood, that U.S. child-citizen will not be returned to the United States. Due to the number of ‘unreported’ international abduction cases, it is difficult to determine a reasonable return-rate percentage. We recognize the difficulty in attempting to accurately estimate the ‘unreported’ case numbers and believe that it is probable that the number of returns of ‘unreported’ cases is extremely low and essentially immeasurable.

Reasons for ‘unreported’ cases include the financial inability of a Chasing Parent to take legal action since they are responsible to pay for all costs associated with their child’s recovery – even though a child’s international abduction violates state and federal laws such as the International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act (IPCA). Furthermore, many parents experience a sense of hopelessness that any recovery efforts will be futile since there are great difficulties associated with bringing a child home, including the possibility of first trying to determine where your child is. Also, the fact is that many nations are not a party of or do not uphold the Hague Convention. Furthermore, there exist substantial prejudices in foreign courts.

The NISMART I study reported that there were a total of 354,000 parental child abductions annually. The NISMART II study stated the total number of parental child abductions decreased to approximately 203,900 children. The truth of the matter is that we really do not know how accurate any of the data is or how large of a problem we actually have on our hands. What we do know is that hundreds of thousands of children are targeted for parental abduction each year, and out of this group, tens of thousands of these instances include planned international parental abductions.

PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION IS A SEVERE FORM OF CHILD ABUSE

According to leading experts who specialize in international parental child abduction, conclusive and unilateral opinion and fact demonstrates that parental child abduction of a targeted child is a cruel, criminal, and severe form of abuse and mistreatment regardless if the child is with one of their (abducting) parents. This includes the illegal act of international abduction, whereas, the child is unexpectedly uprooted from their home, their community, their immediate and extended family, and their country. Sadly, severe short and long-term psychological problems are prevalent for many abduction victims who survive their kidnapping experience. It is commonplace for a child to be emotionally sabotaged, whereas, the abducting parent will try to remove all bonds and attachments the child has with the other parent, thus, removing the child’s right to know the love of the other parent, and keep in tact their own identity. Too many children simply never come home and in certain cases a child’s abduction overseas has led to the death of the abducted child.

A leader in the field of parental child abduction issues, Dr. Dorothy Huntington wrote an article titled Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse. Huntington contends that from the point of view of the child, “child stealing is child abuse.” According to Huntington, “in child stealing the children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them.”

“Because of the harmful effects on children, parental kidnapping has been characterized as a form of “child abuse” reports Patricia Hoff, Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, American Bar Association on Children and the Law. Hoff explains, “Abducted children suffer emotionally and sometimes physically at the hands of abductor-parents. Many children are told the other parent is dead or no longer loves them. Uprooted from family and friends, abducted children often are given new names by their abductor-parents and instructed not to reveal their real names or where they lived before.” (Hoff, 1997)

Consider that today in Japan, there are approximately 230 American children-citizens who were illegally abducted from United States soil to Japan by one of their parents in violation of U.S. court orders. To date, and for what is believed to be nearly fifty years, Japan – America’s strong ally – has never returned 1 American child who was parentally kidnapped and illegally detained in accordance to United States law. And tragically, the vast majority of the chasing parents left-behind in the wake of their child’s abduction are not permitted to have contact with their child.

EXTREME DIFFICULTIES IN RECOVERING AN ABDUCTED CHILD

There are abundant reasons why it is very difficult to have an illegally stolen child returned despite the United States being a signatory of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Lack of action in reporting a child’s abduction by a targeted parent left behind; and,
  2. Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
  3. Many countries have not signed the convention (ex. Japan, China, Russia, and many countries located in the Middle East); and,
  4. Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
  5. Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
  6. Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
  7. Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to; and,
  8. Cultural differences; and,
  9. A Chasing Parent’s fear to attempt to recover their child due to threats from the abducting parent or individuals associated with the abducting parent; and,
  10. Lack of cooperation from law enforcement; and,
  11. Limited power of the Office of Children’s Issues to intervene on behalf of a U.S. citizen.

REASONS WHY ONE PARENT CRIMINALLY ABDUCTS A CHILD

Studies have demonstrated that an unprecedented number of abductions have occurred where one parent took unilateral action to deprive the other parent of contact with their child. The majority of abducting parents will typically use the child as a tool to cause the targeted parent great pain and suffering. Their intent is simple: to make the other parent suffer as much as possible by depriving that targeted parent with the love and connection to their own child. Nearly every published study on this subject has concluded that an abducting parent has significant, and typically, long-term psychological problems and may in fact be a danger to their child.

We take the time to acknowledge that in certain cases of parental child abduction, a parent claims to have no other choice but to flee the other parent due to serious, grave, and ongoing forms of abuse. We acknowledge that in many abduction defenses found under Article 13 of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an abducting parent will often claim mental, emotional, and physical abuse by the other parent as part of their defense to sanction their criminal behavior of abduction. However, we must also acknowledge that domestic violence is a very real, measurable, and in many cases, an ongoing crime that has limited law enforcement safety controls. We acknowledge that there are parents who must flee for their and their child’s safety due to failures by law enforcement and courts to protect their safety, combined with an habitual abuser who aims to cause grave hurt to the targeted parent.

In addition, and understandably, family abductions occur at a higher rate during times of heightened stress such as separation or divorce and often involve custody issues and visitation problems. The sad fact is that a large number of marriages, estimated to be between 40% and 50%, in the U.S. end in divorce.

One of the many considerations that factor into the increase in total abductions indicates that economic difficulties in the United States and elsewhere are a measurable factor in the number of increases in separations and divorces. This added stress can lead to a parental cross-border abduction, particularly since we live in a global society, and the number of international relationships has increased dramatically.

While all children can be potential targets of a family abduction, the likelihood increases when that child has a parent with ties to a foreign country. According to the Juvenile and Family Court Journal Vol. 48, No. 2 titled Jurisdiction In Child Custody and Abduction Cases, “Parents who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the U.S.) and also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin have long been recognized as abduction risks.” This increase in cultural diversity within the U.S. population has created challenges for our existing laws. Many U.S. born children-citizens fall victim to parental abduction when a parents’ union ends.

Across the U.S., states are struggling to address their archaic and outdated laws, and establish additional precautions to better protect their child-citizen population. Unquestionably, it is critical that child abduction prevention laws are passed in each state and upheld by the judiciary and law enforcement. Failure to do so will likely lead to the looming disaster that is already upon us.

Peter Thomas Senese stated, “As a nation, the United States must fight back this sweeping plague by passing child abduction prevention laws and by increasing our judiciary’s level of competency in overseeing and enforcing laws associated with these complex cases of potential or actual international parental child abductions. Critical to judges and lawmakers’ ability to protect our children is the need for immediate research on this subject. The present available information is archaic, and more than likely inaccurate particularly due to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases. The community of child abduction prevention advocates has pointed this out for some time now. What we also need is for the creation and enforcement of well thought out and researched laws along with the upholding of the intent, spirit, and law of the international treaties such as The Hague Convention so we can protect our children and put an end to the spread of this malignant pandemic that has reached our shores.

Florida state representative Darryl Rouson is the lawmaker who championed and sponsored Florida’s landmark Child Abduction Prevention Act (HB 787). The bill was unanimously approved in the Senate and House of Representatives and signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist. Florida’s new preventative legislation will take effect on January 1, 2011. Representative Rouson commented, “It is critical for each state to implement laws that will protect the rights of our children-citizens who may face parental child abduction. The misconception that when one parent steals a child from the other parent, that the child is safe, is undeniably inaccurate. It is through prevention laws such as Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act that we will be able to prevent this serious crime against our nation’s children from occurring.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the child abduction prevention advocate, commented, “Early on in my research on this critical issue I recognized the urgent need for preventative legislation. Thankfully, Florida’s legislative body wholeheartedly agreed as evidenced by the unanimous votes. I am thrilled for the added measure of safety this new law will have in protecting the children of my great state. However, I will not be satisfied until all states have child abduction prevention legislation enacted.”

IMMIGRATION MIGRATION AND ITS AFFECT ON CHILD ABDUCTION CASES

A report compiled by the renowned Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center reports that most immigrant groups are comprised of young families. The likelihood that a child will be born while the parents are present in the U.S. is high. Prior to 2007, data collected on parents of children under 18 only identified one parent, and a second parent could only be identified if they were married to the first parent. Currently, a second parent identifier is considered whether or not the parents are married to each other. The new data more accurately reflects the number of children living in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent.

In 2008 that meant that 22% of all children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent. In fact, consider the following statistics compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies in its March 2007 analysis. Immigrants and their U.S. born children under age 18, as a share of population: California – 37.9%, Los Angles County – 50%, New York State – 27.9%, New York City – 46.7% and Florida – 27.9%.

It must be noted that although 31.3% of all immigrants originate from Mexico, other countries have significant entry numbers as well. Included in the March 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) were statistics indicating that 17.6% of all immigrants were from East/Southeast Asia, 12.5% from Europe, 5.5% from South Asia, 3.5% from the Middle East, and Canada at 1.9%.

Traditionally, states such as California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Arizona have had large numbers of immigrants in their population. What is surprising is the trends in migration toward new centers of immigrant growth. The CPS prepared an analysis of states with statistically significant growth in immigrant population between 2000 and 2007. Most notably, Wyoming, which experienced a percentage increase of 180%, Tennessee at 160%, Georgia at 152.1%, and Alabama at 143.6%. The impact of unprecedented increases in immigrant migration is likely to create multiple challenges as states struggle to keep pace with their newest segment of population and their children.

“As a nation of immigrants, it is important to note that as our nation’s population increases due to immigrant migration, so too does the likelihood of increased cross-border child abduction,” Peter Thomas Senese added.

Additionally, it has been well established that illegal aliens do not respond to surveys such as the US Census or the CPS. Because the U.S. government does not have accurate records of arrival and departures for individuals present illegally in the country, their numbers must be estimated, as there is no hard data to draw from. However, indirect means for establishing these figures are used, and they must be viewed with a considerable amount of uncertainty. In 2007 CPS, it was estimated that of the approximately 37.9 million immigrants present in the U.S., nearly 1 in 3 immigrants were present illegally.

It is important to note this segment of our population when discussing child abduction because when a child is born in the U.S. that child automatically is a U.S. citizen. While the available data gives us fairly accurate figures regarding the number of children born in the U.S. as well as those immigrants who are present legally, a number is impossible to compile accurately in relation to the unauthorized resident population.

In regards to children born to illegal immigrants, in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, that number rose from 2.7 million to 4 million. The report published by the Pew Hispanic Centers reported that nationally the children of illegal immigrants now comprise 1 in 15 elementary and secondary students in the U.S. Additionally, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas more than 1 in every 10 students in those states are the children of illegal immigrants.

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the writer of Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act stated, “The ability of state governments to prevent the abduction of children by family members could be drastically improved by comprehensive legislation. While aiming to protect all children, special consideration must be given to those children who may be at increased risk simply by virtue of their parentage. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the U.S. projected up to April 22, 2010 estimated that one international migrant enters the U.S. every 36 seconds. International travel has become commonplace and as more cross-cultural relationships develop children are born. A number of these relationships will end and may result in an increased risk of international abduction of the child. Attempting to retrieve a child who has been abducted and possibly hidden internationally is a near impossibility as a multitude of problems surface in cases such as these. Unfortunately, studies have proved 4 of 5 Americans drastically underestimate the threat of a family abduction. Statistically, it is a sobering thought when you become aware of the vast numbers of children that are criminally abducted each year. Preventative laws are a necessity as an immediate remedy to this unconscionable crime.”

DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S OFFICE OF CHILDREN’S ISSUES

The Office of Children’s Issues has worked diligently to educate at-risk parents of abduction via an assortment of outreach programs.  The leadership at OCI has placed a particular emphasis on abduction prevention, which in turn has demonstrated remarkable and measurable results including two consecutive years of significant abduction rate declines.

The Department of State was established to assist parents whose children have been unlawfully removed from the country. The OCI assists the remaining parent and strives to protect those children who have been victimized in these types of cases. Considering thousands of child custody cases are fought across national borders each year, the assistance of the OCI can be invaluable.

Litigating custody, especially across international borders where conflicting orders may exist can be difficult if not impossible. The OCI aims to assist in these cases by enhancing an understanding of the many complex laws, both domestic and international that may be applicable to a particular case.

However, OCI has significant limitations, including the fact that they cannot represent your abducted child in a foreign court. OCI does provide a list of lawyers in foreign countries who at times have worked pro bono on abduction cases. However, there are no obligations by any of these lawyers to take a case, and it is up to each Chasing Parent to work out all arrangements. The reality is that ‘pro bono’ sounds like a nice idea, but it is an unrealistic expectation.

Immediate suggestions that could allow the dedicated staff at OCI to be more helpful include the following:

  1. Creating and distributing useful, concise information for chasing parents, law enforcement, and court personnel regarding all areas of IPCA. The use of digital media combined and supported by printed content is critical.
  2. The development of an independent website outside of the Department of State’s website. This website must be easy to navigate, include audio and digital feeds, and must be accessible to individuals in various languages.
  3. OCI must actively support advocates and lawmakers who are seeking to pass child abduction prevention laws. Support by OCI in this area can increase the visibility of the issues of child abduction while also increasing lawmaker and judiciary awareness.
  4. Dissemination of information on the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.
  5. Dissemination of information on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’, and dedicated resources established to assist lawyers and Chasing Parents seeking assistance under this program.
  6. Increases in outreach toward documented and un-documented aliens about OCI, and the rights of their U.S. child-citizen.
  7. Increase in personnel to support the tremendous workload of the OCI staff.

About the Authors:

Peter Thomas Senese is the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, a highly respected child abduction prevention advocate and a successful chasing parent in accordance to the rules of international parental child abduction law established under the Hague Convention.  Under Peter’s leadership, the I CARE Foundation has assisted reunite many children who have been internationally kidnapped with their left-behind parents while also working tirelessly to prevent the abduction of an exponentially larger number of children. Peter advocated for the passage of the State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ (CAPA), heavily contributed to raising public awareness of the previously widely underutilized federal child abduction prevention program; specifically, the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ (PDP) that is now more commonly implemented in aiding targeted parents and their child from abduction in certain case scenarios, worked diligently to have ‘Senate Resolution 543 – the International Parental Child Abduction Resolution’unanimously passed calling for a complete revamping of how the United States government handles abduction. In addition, Peter has spoken as an expert witness before numerous government bodies, including hosting a forum on international parental child abduction at the United Nations at the request of the U.S. Department of State in his capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation.  Peter is the creator/writer/producer of the educational documentary film series ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, a best-selling author whose upcoming world-wide book release focusing on international parental child abduction and titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ has been critically acclaimed as a call-to-arms against child abduction. Peter is the writer of an extensive number of influential articles and essays pertaining to IPCA. He has created and oversees a comprehensive website dedicated to child abduction prevention and good parenting (www.chasingthecyclone.com) where numerous essays and may be found, including the eye-opening report ‘International Parental Child Abduction And Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere’ Peter co-authored with Ms. Carolyn Vlk. Dedicated to bringing about new child abduction prevention laws while creating dialogue that may reform certain government programs and protocols so that they may better serve targeted children and their parents, Peter Senese is a strong supporter of The Hague Convention and The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues.

Carolyn Ann Vlk is a renown child abduction prevention advocate and a Founding Board of Director Member of the I CARE Foundation as well as a member of the Special Advisory Board of the Amber Watch Foundation. Carolyn drafted the landmark State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ that will be enacted on January 1st, 2011. Ms. Vlk was highly influential in raising the public’s awareness on the little-known, highly effective child abduction prevention federal program titled the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ and  worked diligently to have ‘Senate Resolution 543 – the International Parental Child Abduction Resolution’ Carolyn is also a writer/producer of the highly educational documentary film series titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, and, is the author of numerous essays and studies on parental child abduction, including the groundbreaking report titled ‘International Parental Child Abduction And Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere’ (2010). Carolyn is dedicated to assisting parents and their children who are targets of international child abduction, and is committed to bringing about positive reform and change in law and government protocol that has been established to aid at-risk children. Ms. Vlk is a supporter of The Hague Convention, The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues, and the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). Carolyn is a loving and dedicated mother to her children, and fought rigorously to protect her own child who was a target for potential abduction that she went so far as to draft legislation that has now become new law in her home state of Florida.

.

 

International Women’s Day: Celebrating The Amazing Women In My Life

Heroes. Child Advocates. Nurturing Parents. Freedom Fighters. Novelists. Global Leaders. Friends. Healers. Protectors Of Our Planet. Educators. Global Citizens. 

Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day!
Every day, I celebrate the amazing women who have touched my life!

I am not a dainty guy by any means. In fact, you could say I am quite the opposite. I have kept my body, mind, and spirit fit and sharp. Professionally, I am active in the technology sector, and have been for a long time.  As a storyteller, it has been said my works have impacted the lives of many on every continent. In my philanthropy I have come to the assistance of many children who are in crisis, particularly children fighting cancer or at risk of, or who have been abducted. Holding true to my perspective that life is filled with magic, I have allowed the ‘Peter Pan’ in me to exist.  Perhaps this is why I fight the way I do with the I CARE Foundation to make sure that all the lost boys and girls in abduction’s Neverland come home.

In reflection, most of all who I am and who I have become, is because of some incredible women who have guided me throughout my life.  I know that all of who I am comes in great part because of some courageous women, who are unquestionably, my heroes.

But there is so much more.

For example, when the I CARE Foundation began our grassroots effort to raise awareness of the warning signs and risk factors of international parental child abduction and trafficking, it was only an amazing group of women who answered our call for help. And help they did!  By stewarding the educational messages of child abduction prevention, these international women – located as far away as the Philippines, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and of course the United States – played a major role in a groundbreaking event: they pushed back the pandemic of international child abduction as demonstrated by the reported cases of abduction that had nearly 30 years of consecutive growth: reported abductions originating from the United States declined by 15% during 2011 and 2012!

Now granted, the majority of the parents who stood in the line of educational defense for children originated from the United States – but by the virtue of the statistical impact, it is clear that mobilized women – their hands reaching across international borders – have the incredible ability of changing the world. And this is clearly demonstrated by how a major international family issue – child abduction – has been impacted.

On this note, I would like to thank some of my friends and children warriors from all over the world for what each of you have done to assist children in crisis.  So a special thank you is extended to Maria Henderson, Carolyn Ann Vlk, Patricia Lee, Jennifer Cluff, Amanda Gammell, Patricia McKnight, Wangari Maathai, Haseena Patel, Victoria Vaccariello Swope, Stacey Jo Burns, PJ Schott, Britnee Degenhart, Tiffany Degenhart, Nancy Carty Lepri, Mary Tinitigan, Nanette Bonilla, Angeline De Luca, Annette Fuerriero, Carmen Ducharme Rochette, Jennifer Brooks Nelissen, Linda Blair, Shannon Colonna, Abigail Kidd Mui, Ida Acconciamessa, Lyndsey Doyle, Pamela Mitchell, Ann Marquez, Aprile Mazey, Leslie Warren, Kathy Marrocco, Alicia Yamashita, Sharon Simons, Susann Gehring, Stephanie Seymour, Claire Minnaar, Willa Stock, Elisabeth Hirsch, Katie Smith, Melanie Melugin, Patsy Woo, Bobbie Anne Munsey, Heather Jones, Cascia Talbert, Amanda Coburn, Erica Kloestra, Janice Roodsari, Leah Ison, Rachel Burk, Tamara Vellozzo, Lauren Johnson, Sabrina Dennis, Laura Taft, Ewa Kelly, Erin Henderschedt, Cheryl Bullock, Connie Lee, Gennevieve Elise Derveld, Megan Slattery, Connie Lee, Jilhan Tekinapp, Sher Wheeler, Stacey Stein Eva, Eri Nelson, Kali Panago, Gwen Johnson, Rita Evelyn Yanes, Carol Rita Sylvia, Jullian Steward, Barbara Craig, Patricia Hoff, and of course Amanda of Werdyab, Janessa of Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Jule from Takes a Village, Carlia from Nest Building 101, Natasha from Serenity You, Heather from Proud Book Nerd, Dianna from Free Sample Momma, Jane from Speak Jane Speak, Rondi from WAHM Resources, Stephanie from Random Mommy Blog, Jessica from Naturally Mamas, and so many others incredible international women who I have not mentioned but surely wanted to.

Each of you is right about this world.  Each of you in your own special way bespeaks of the hope of tomorrow and the possibility of true global citizenship. And each of you has impacted my life along the way.

Today the world celebrates International Women’s Day.  Every day, in my own special way, I celebrate each of you.

Enjoy!
Jennifer Husson Cluff
Haseena Patel
Patricia McKnight
Wangari Maathai
Mary Welsh Hemingway and Jacqueline Saix
Carolyn Ann Vlk
Pam Mitchell

In case you might be wondering what I believe in . . . that’s pretty simple.

Kindest regards to all,

PETER THOMAS SENESE

International Parental Child Abduction Rates on the Decline in United States

A Special Message From Peter Thomas Senese On

The U.S. Decline Of International Child Abduction Cases

I am very pleased to share that the number of reported United States outbound cases of international parental child abduction (IPCA) has declined for a second year in a row.

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 forecasted as a +22% to a +40% yearly growth rate to an average decline of 15% per year over the past two reporting years.

This is a remarkable series of events, and credit must be given and shared with those who have worked so hard to stop abduction.

Personally, I believe 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 commitment 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 difference.

Outreach and education have been the primary catalysts 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 difference, as too have the creation of several educational websites.

In 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 grow.

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 perspective, 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 at the United Nations as part of the Department of State’s ‘Global Leadership Visitor Program’.

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.

Are we 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 approximately 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 myself.  Carolyn and Joel are two of the hardest working child advocates on the planet. The I CARE Foundation is very fortunate to have their leadership.

Here is the report:

Report on International Parental Child Abduction Growth
International Parental Child Abduction Today – 2013
Written By

Issued On February 25th, 2013

INTRODUCTION

United States child-citizens continue to be criminally kidnapped, illegally removed overseas, and wrongfully detained in foreign countries in shocking numbers by their non-custodial parent. The global plague of international parental child abduction significantly continues in America in a similar capacity as it does in the majority of nations abroad. However, the United States Department of State has now reported in two consecutive years that the number of reported outbound cases of American child-citizen abductions has declined. Clearly, this is very significant, particularly since previously reported growth trends demonstrated an average growth rate of reported American child abductions of over 20% per year during the previous decade.

Specifically, during 2012 there were 799 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority representing a total of 1,144 children.  Previously, in 2011 there were a total of 941 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority, representing a total of 1,367 children.

Thus, the reduction by 142 filed cases represents a decline of 15% of reported abduction cases from 2012 from 2011.  During the same reporting period, there were 223 fewer children internationally kidnapped in 2012 from 2011, representing a 16.3% decrease of total children abducted.

Comparatively, there were 1022 reported international parental child abduction cases in 2010 representing 1,492 children.  Thus, there has been a reduction of 223 reported abduction cases from 2010 to 2012, representing a total decline of 348 children between the two years. This represents a two year decline from 2010 to 2012 in reported cases by 21.8%, and a 23.3% reduction over the same two year period in the number of children kidnapped.

Year                      Reported Cases           Number of Children

2010                             1022                                       1,492
2011                               941                                       1,367
2012                              799                                        1,144

The decline in the reported number of international parental child abductions of American citizens represents a significant development and bespeaks of the tremendous educational outreach effort by the United States Department of State’s Office of Children’sIssues as well as non-government organizations such as but not limited to the I CARE Foundation and the National Center For Missing And Exploited Children to raise awareness of parental abduction amongst lawyers, judges, law enforcement, and targeted parents to that children may be protected.  However, it is important to note that despite a groundbreaking shift in child abduction statistical growth trends previously realized, we strongly affirm that criminal international parental child abduction continues to be a destructive epidemic in the United States and abroad that must be met with new abduction prevention laws and government policies, while significant efforts to educate courts, law enforcement, social workers, and at-risk parents of the many issues of child kidnapping diligently continue.

It is important to note that while the number of ‘reported cases’ of international parental child abduction have declined, the number of ‘unreported cases’ of abduction remains a significant concern for both government agencies and non-government organizations dedicated to preventing abduction.  Previously, the I CARE Foundation issued a report that the number of yearly unreported cases of abduction is believed to equal between 100% and 125% of all reported abduction cases.  We have no reason to change this forecast.  Thus, though there are no measurable statistics on unreported abduction cases, it would be reasonable, though not conclusive, to anticipate that the number of unreported cases of international child abduction have also declined.

While there is much to be pleased about regarding the significant decline in the reported international parental child abduction rate and forecasted decline in unreported cases of abduction, a great concern critically worth noting is that the number of children actually legally returned home after they are kidnapped remains to be estimated at only 10% when considering the total number of reported and unreported cases.

The reality is that children who are internationally abducted do not come home.  Sadly, many are lost forever.

One of the major facets of abduction prevention is education, and raising awareness of abduction threats to at-risk parents clearly has demonstrated a clear and measurable impact on the number of reported abduction cases.

Clearly and unquestionably, educational outreach programs directed toward raising international parental child abduction awareness are working!  Still, there is a long way to go.

The I CARE Foundation and the organization’s leadership have been actively involved in increasing awareness of child abduction while assisting a large number of parents protect their at-risk children.

One of the I CARE Foundation’s most dynamic and significant educational outreach programs that have had measurable results is the ‘Parent Blogger Educational Outreach Program’.  Under the program, highly influential parenting bloggers with a large global readership of followers have written a series of informative educational articles concerning the pandemic of international parental child abduction, including warning signs, risk factors, and actionable steps an at-risk parent may take to prevent abduction.  This grassroots effort led primarily by mothers who write and blog to raise awareness has been a tremendous success and has resulted in a significant number of successful child abduction prevention cases to occur.   Collectively, the extraordinary participants of the ‘Parent Blogger Educational Outreach Program’ have reached millions of parents, some who may have been directly at risk, or who may have known another parent and child at risk of abduction. In addition, the reach of these incredible parents willing to help protect children at risk of abduction has had a global impact on the prevention of child abduction as blogger participants were located on every continent and the millions of their readers blanketed the globe.  Clearly, the effort of these parent writers has made a significant difference in protecting lives, both in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere!

With the recent success of efforts put forth by child advocates everywhere to stop abduction, we are reminded that child abduction is a cruel and dangerous act against a child.

With grave concern we acknowledge that hundreds of young children each year are murdered by their parents in the United States, and that there is a clear statistical correlation of filicide in nations abroad and abduction similar to reported United States and Canadian government statistics of parental child murder.

As this report cites in detail, international parental child abduction is a severe criminal act of kidnapping committed by a parent against a child and the targeted left behind parent. International parental child abductors commit grave crimes against their child, including the act of abduction as well as the acts of child abuse and neglect.

According to numerous studies and reports including those issued by the United States Department of Justice and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an abductor exhibits significant sociopathic tendencies, and generally does not act in the best interest of a child, but conversely, the act of abduction and the acts after the child-snatching cause both serious short-term and long-term damage that may, on many occasions, be irreversible. Sadly, acts of identity stripping, parental isolation, and removal of the bond between the abducted child and targeted parent speak nothing of the fact that filicide: the act of parental child murder is real. So too, tragically, is the reality that children who have been abducted and who have had their identity stripped during an abduction exhibit an alarming number of characteristics that are exhibited in individuals who commit suicide.

For the majority of child advocates who work tirelessly to protect children, especially advocates who are not in the business of profiting due to the tragedy of a child being kidnapped, what we fight for are lives – children’s lives.

In our capacity as directors of the not-for-profit I CARE Foundation, which has successfully assisted reunited numerous internationally kidnapped children with their targeted left-behind parents taken from around the world, while also preventing an exponentially larger number of children from international parental child abduction, we and our colleagues have worked tirelessly at conducting extensive research in the area of child abduction.

The I CARE Foundation’s volunteer activity has included playing key roles in legally reuniting many abducted children, writing and working diligently in the passing of abduction prevention laws and leading in lobbying efforts to have existing policies modified so that the capacity to protect children from kidnapping would be increased, in our creation of a national attorney network of educated lawyers willing and ready to assist at-risk children and their families,  in our capacity as researchers and educators to study the global issues of international parental child abduction and publish our findings in a way that may drive policy, and in our efforts to create a grassroots educational awareness movement by working with leading parent bloggers and writers with large followers, who have shared with their audiences the grave issues of abduction.

Though great strides have been made over the past two years, and we hope that the child abduction trend will continue to decline, we do have reason for concern.  Our apprehension is due in part due to the reality that though abduction rates have declined in the last known reporting fiscal year of 2012, there remains a glaring failure by the courts and law enforcement to punish international parental child abductors even though the act itself is a federal criminal act that is a known form of child abuse.  Without concern to be held accountable for their actions, parents who contemplate or carry out abduction will do so with a sense of immunity.  Without holding kidnappers accountable, children at-risk of abduction remain vulnerable.

In addition, it is critical to recognize that chasing parents who attempt to legally reunite with their kidnapped child face incredible difficulties in doing so. The challenges faced are discussed in this report in detail; however, they include but are not limited to failures by nations to uphold international treaties such as the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, the outright failure of nations to enter into any international treaty, receiving-country prejudice at the trial court level on legal action taken by a left-behind parent, grave financial challenges faced by a targeted chasing parent, and direct physical dangers faced by a targeted parent if they should attempt to reunite with their abducted child.

Clearly, child abduction prevention advocates are making an impact through an assortment of outreach programs that are raising awareness at the at-risk parent level, the trial lawyer level, and within the courts, as demonstrated by the second consecutive year of abduction rate declines. However, for parents presently attempting to reunite with their kidnapped children, the challenges they face are grave as explained herein.

REPORTED CASES OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Indisputable, are the actual number of ‘reported’ abduction cases. Estimating the incalculable total number of ‘unreported’ cases is difficult to assess. Despite this inability to concisely determine the total number of cases each year, it appears America and our nation’s children-citizens are plagued by a dangerous criminal epidemic known as ‘International Parental Child Abduction’ that is silently sweeping through our nation. At risk are tens if not hundreds of thousands of our defenseless children who are targeted for abduction each year.

In April of 2009, the annual Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was released. In that publication, Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs writes, “Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of redoubling efforts to promote compliance with Convention obligations and encourage additional nations to join the Convention.” She also writes, “Very few options exist for parents and children who are victims of parental child abduction.” In the 2010 annual report Ms. Jacobs continues to voice concerns over the increasing numbers of our child-citizens who have been wrongfully removed or wrongfully detained.

Similar sentiment has been shared in reports issued by the U.S. Department of State since this time. There is no question that the challenges that parents and children of abduction face are significant.

However, during 2012 there were 799 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority representing a total of 1,144 children.  Previously, in 2011 there were a total of 941 reported international parental child abduction cases filed with the United States Central Authority, representing a total of 1,367 children.  Thus, the reduction by 142 filed cases represents a decline of 15% of reported abduction cases from 2012 from 2011.  During the same reporting period, there were 223 fewer children internationally kidnapped in 2012 from 2011, representing a 16.3% decrease of total children abducted.  Comparatively, there were 1022 reported international parental child abduction cases in 2010 representing 1,492 children.  Thus, there has been a reduction of 223 reported abduction cases from 2010 to 2012, representing a total decline of 348 children between the two years. This represents a two year decline from 2010 to 2012 in reported cases by 21.8%, and a 23.3% reduction over the same two year period in the number of children kidnapped.

UNREPORTED CASES OF INTERNATIONAL PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Peter Thomas Senese commented, “The anticipated number of international abductions used as a benchmark and often referred to is inconclusive because the published data does not take into consideration ‘unreported’ cases of international child abduction, population growth, increases in multi-cultural marriages, immigration migration increases to the United States, and economic difficulties many families are facing, which inevitably leads to a break-up of the family unit. More concerning is how the widely distributed and cited surveys used what I believe to be an inadequate number of telephone interviews and appear not to include any law enforcement records. In my view, we as a nation have a serious problem on our hands.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk stated, “Admittedly, something is seriously amiss in our ability to accurately estimate the number of children victimized by the crime of child abduction. In my opinion, utilizing only a random telephone survey, to determine the number of affected children is a process flawed by numerous, serious methodological problems. Additionally, the cooperation and compliance rate in obtaining the return of our citizen children who have been criminally internationally abducted must be drastically improved. The recovery of so few of these children during an entire fiscal year is not and should not be acceptable”.

Unfortunately, many internationally abducted children are never returned because their abductions are not reported to authorities. The likelihood is that the vast majority of these types of cases never end with a child’s return. It would be reasonable to conclude that if a targeted parent did not report their child’s abduction, then in all likelihood, that U.S. child-citizen will not be returned to the United States. Due to the number of ‘unreported’ international abduction cases, it is difficult to determine a reasonable return-rate percentage. We recognize the difficulty in attempting to accurately estimate the ‘unreported’ case numbers and believe that it is probable that the number of returns of ‘unreported’ cases is extremely low and essentially immeasurable.

Reasons for ‘unreported’ cases include the financial inability of a Chasing Parent to take legal action since they are responsible to pay for all costs associated with their child’s recovery – even though a child’s international abduction violates state and federal laws such as the International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act (IPCA). Furthermore, many parents experience a sense of hopelessness that any recovery efforts will be futile since there are great difficulties associated with bringing a child home, including the possibility of first trying to determine where your child is. Also, the fact is that many nations are not a party of or do not uphold the Hague Convention. Furthermore, there exist substantial prejudices in foreign courts.

The NISMART I study reported that there were a total of 354,000 parental child abductions annually. The NISMART II study stated the total number of parental child abductions decreased to approximately 203,900 children. The truth of the matter is that we really do not know how accurate any of the data is or how large of a problem we actually have on our hands. What we do know is that hundreds of thousands of children are targeted for parental abduction each year, and out of this group, tens of thousands of these instances include planned international parental abductions.

PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION IS A SEVERE FORM OF CHILD ABUSE

According to leading experts who specialize in international parental child abduction, conclusive and unilateral opinion and fact demonstrates that parental child abduction of a targeted child is a cruel, criminal, and severe form of abuse and mistreatment regardless if the child is with one of their (abducting) parents. This includes the illegal act of international abduction, whereas, the child is unexpectedly uprooted from their home, their community, their immediate and extended family, and their country. Sadly, severe short and long-term psychological problems are prevalent for many abduction victims who survive their kidnapping experience. It is commonplace for a child to be emotionally sabotaged, whereas, the abducting parent will try to remove all bonds and attachments the child has with the other parent, thus, removing the child’s right to know the love of the other parent, and keep in tact their own identity. Too many children simply never come home and in certain cases a child’s abduction overseas has led to the death of the abducted child.

A leader in the field of parental child abduction issues, Dr. Dorothy Huntington wrote an article titled Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse. Huntington contends that from the point of view of the child, “child stealing is child abuse.” According to Huntington, “in child stealing the children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them.”

“Because of the harmful effects on children, parental kidnapping has been characterized as a form of “child abuse” reports Patricia Hoff, Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, American Bar Association on Children and the Law. Hoff explains, “Abducted children suffer emotionally and sometimes physically at the hands of abductor-parents. Many children are told the other parent is dead or no longer loves them. Uprooted from family and friends, abducted children often are given new names by their abductor-parents and instructed not to reveal their real names or where they lived before.” (Hoff, 1997)

Consider that today in Japan, there are approximately 230 American children-citizens who were illegally abducted from United States soil to Japan by one of their parents in violation of U.S. court orders. To date, and for what is believed to be nearly fifty years, Japan – America’s strong ally – has never returned 1 American child who was parentally kidnapped and illegally detained in accordance to United States law. And tragically, the vast majority of the chasing parents left-behind in the wake of their child’s abduction are not permitted to have contact with their child.

EXTREME DIFFICULTIES IN RECOVERING AN ABDUCTED CHILD

There are abundant reasons why it is very difficult to have an illegally stolen child returned despite the United States being a signatory of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Lack of action in reporting a child’s abduction by a targeted parent left behind; and,
  2. Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
  3. Many countries have not signed the convention (ex. Japan, China, Russia, and many countries located in the Middle East); and,
  4. Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
  5. Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
  6. Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
  7. Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to; and,
  8. Cultural differences; and,
  9. A Chasing Parent’s fear to attempt to recover their child due to threats from the abducting parent or individuals associated with the abducting parent; and,
  10. Lack of cooperation from law enforcement; and,
  11. Limited power of the Office of Children’s Issues to intervene on behalf of a U.S. citizen.

REASONS WHY ONE PARENT CRIMINALLY ABDUCTS A CHILD

Studies have demonstrated that an unprecedented number of abductions have occurred where one parent took unilateral action to deprive the other parent of contact with their child. The majority of abducting parents will typically use the child as a tool to cause the targeted parent great pain and suffering. Their intent is simple: to make the other parent suffer as much as possible by depriving that targeted parent with the love and connection to their own child. Nearly every published study on this subject has concluded that an abducting parent has significant, and typically, long-term psychological problems and may in fact be a danger to their child.

We take the time to acknowledge that in certain cases of parental child abduction, a parent claims to have no other choice but to flee the other parent due to serious, grave, and ongoing forms of abuse. We acknowledge that in many abduction defenses found under Article 13 of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, an abducting parent will often claim mental, emotional, and physical abuse by the other parent as part of their defense to sanction their criminal behavior of abduction. However, we must also acknowledge that domestic violence is a very real, measurable, and in many cases, an ongoing crime that has limited law enforcement safety controls. We acknowledge that there are parents who must flee for their and their child’s safety due to failures by law enforcement and courts to protect their safety, combined with an habitual abuser who aims to cause grave hurt to the targeted parent.

In addition, and understandably, family abductions occur at a higher rate during times of heightened stress such as separation or divorce and often involve custody issues and visitation problems. The sad fact is that a large number of marriages, estimated to be between 40% and 50%, in the U.S. end in divorce.

One of the many considerations that factor into the increase in total abductions indicates that economic difficulties in the United States and elsewhere are a measurable factor in the number of increases in separations and divorces. This added stress can lead to a parental cross-border abduction, particularly since we live in a global society, and the number of international relationships has increased dramatically.

While all children can be potential targets of a family abduction, the likelihood increases when that child has a parent with ties to a foreign country. According to the Juvenile and Family Court Journal Vol. 48, No. 2 titled Jurisdiction In Child Custody and Abduction Cases, “Parents who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the U.S.) and also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin have long been recognized as abduction risks.” This increase in cultural diversity within the U.S. population has created challenges for our existing laws. Many U.S. born children-citizens fall victim to parental abduction when a parents’ union ends.

Across the U.S., states are struggling to address their archaic and outdated laws, and establish additional precautions to better protect their child-citizen population. Unquestionably, it is critical that child abduction prevention laws are passed in each state and upheld by the judiciary and law enforcement. Failure to do so will likely lead to the looming disaster that is already upon us.

Peter Thomas Senese stated, “As a nation, the United States must fight back this sweeping plague by passing child abduction prevention laws and by increasing our judiciary’s level of competency in overseeing and enforcing laws associated with these complex cases of potential or actual international parental child abductions. Critical to judges and lawmakers’ ability to protect our children is the need for immediate research on this subject. The present available information is archaic, and more than likely inaccurate particularly due to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases. The community of child abduction prevention advocates has pointed this out for some time now. What we also need is for the creation and enforcement of well thought out and researched laws along with the upholding of the intent, spirit, and law of the international treaties such as The Hague Convention so we can protect our children and put an end to the spread of this malignant pandemic that has reached our shores.

Florida state representative Darryl Rouson is the lawmaker who championed and sponsored Florida’s landmark Child Abduction Prevention Act (HB 787). The bill was unanimously approved in the Senate and House of Representatives and signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist. Florida’s new preventative legislation will take effect on January 1, 2011. Representative Rouson commented, “It is critical for each state to implement laws that will protect the rights of our children-citizens who may face parental child abduction. The misconception that when one parent steals a child from the other parent, that the child is safe, is undeniably inaccurate. It is through prevention laws such as Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act that we will be able to prevent this serious crime against our nation’s children from occurring.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the child abduction prevention advocate, commented, “Early on in my research on this critical issue I recognized the urgent need for preventative legislation. Thankfully, Florida’s legislative body wholeheartedly agreed as evidenced by the unanimous votes. I am thrilled for the added measure of safety this new law will have in protecting the children of my great state. However, I will not be satisfied until all states have child abduction prevention legislation enacted.”

IMMIGRATION MIGRATION AND ITS AFFECT ON CHILD ABDUCTION CASES

A report compiled by the renowned Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center reports that most immigrant groups are comprised of young families. The likelihood that a child will be born while the parents are present in the U.S. is high. Prior to 2007, data collected on parents of children under 18 only identified one parent, and a second parent could only be identified if they were married to the first parent. Currently, a second parent identifier is considered whether or not the parents are married to each other. The new data more accurately reflects the number of children living in the U.S. with at least one foreign-born parent.

In 2008 that meant that 22% of all children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent. In fact, consider the following statistics compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies in its March 2007 analysis. Immigrants and their U.S. born children under age 18, as a share of population: California – 37.9%, Los Angles County – 50%, New York State – 27.9%, New York City – 46.7% and Florida – 27.9%.

It must be noted that although 31.3% of all immigrants originate from Mexico, other countries have significant entry numbers as well. Included in the March 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) were statistics indicating that 17.6% of all immigrants were from East/Southeast Asia, 12.5% from Europe, 5.5% from South Asia, 3.5% from the Middle East, and Canada at 1.9%.

Traditionally, states such as California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Arizona have had large numbers of immigrants in their population. What is surprising is the trends in migration toward new centers of immigrant growth. The CPS prepared an analysis of states with statistically significant growth in immigrant population between 2000 and 2007. Most notably, Wyoming, which experienced a percentage increase of 180%, Tennessee at 160%, Georgia at 152.1%, and Alabama at 143.6%. The impact of unprecedented increases in immigrant migration is likely to create multiple challenges as states struggle to keep pace with their newest segment of population and their children.

“As a nation of immigrants, it is important to note that as our nation’s population increases due to immigrant migration, so too does the likelihood of increased cross-border child abduction,” Peter Thomas Senese added.

Additionally, it has been well established that illegal aliens do not respond to surveys such as the US Census or the CPS. Because the U.S. government does not have accurate records of arrival and departures for individuals present illegally in the country, their numbers must be estimated, as there is no hard data to draw from. However, indirect means for establishing these figures are used, and they must be viewed with a considerable amount of uncertainty. In 2007 CPS, it was estimated that of the approximately 37.9 million immigrants present in the U.S., nearly 1 in 3 immigrants were present illegally.

It is important to note this segment of our population when discussing child abduction because when a child is born in the U.S. that child automatically is a U.S. citizen. While the available data gives us fairly accurate figures regarding the number of children born in the U.S. as well as those immigrants who are present legally, a number is impossible to compile accurately in relation to the unauthorized resident population.

In regards to children born to illegal immigrants, in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, that number rose from 2.7 million to 4 million. The report published by the Pew Hispanic Centers reported that nationally the children of illegal immigrants now comprise 1 in 15 elementary and secondary students in the U.S. Additionally, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas more than 1 in every 10 students in those states are the children of illegal immigrants.

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the writer of Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act stated, “The ability of state governments to prevent the abduction of children by family members could be drastically improved by comprehensive legislation. While aiming to protect all children, special consideration must be given to those children who may be at increased risk simply by virtue of their parentage. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the U.S. projected up to April 22, 2010 estimated that one international migrant enters the U.S. every 36 seconds. International travel has become commonplace and as more cross-cultural relationships develop children are born. A number of these relationships will end and may result in an increased risk of international abduction of the child. Attempting to retrieve a child who has been abducted and possibly hidden internationally is a near impossibility as a multitude of problems surface in cases such as these. Unfortunately, studies have proved 4 of 5 Americans drastically underestimate the threat of a family abduction. Statistically, it is a sobering thought when you become aware of the vast numbers of children that are criminally abducted each year. Preventative laws are a necessity as an immediate remedy to this unconscionable crime.”

DEPARTMENT OF STATE’S OFFICE OF CHILDREN’S ISSUES

The Office of Children’s Issues has worked diligently to educate at-risk parents of abduction via an assortment of outreach programs.  The leadership at OCI has placed a particular emphasis on abduction prevention, which in turn has demonstrated remarkable and measurable results including two consecutive years of significant abduction rate declines.

The Department of State was established to assist parents whose children have been unlawfully removed from the country. The OCI assists the remaining parent and strives to protect those children who have been victimized in these types of cases. Considering thousands of child custody cases are fought across national borders each year, the assistance of the OCI can be invaluable.

Litigating custody, especially across international borders where conflicting orders may exist can be difficult if not impossible. The OCI aims to assist in these cases by enhancing an understanding of the many complex laws, both domestic and international that may be applicable to a particular case.

However, OCI has significant limitations, including the fact that they cannot represent your abducted child in a foreign court. OCI does provide a list of lawyers in foreign countries who at times have worked pro bono on abduction cases. However, there are no obligations by any of these lawyers to take a case, and it is up to each Chasing Parent to work out all arrangements. The reality is that ‘pro bono’ sounds like a nice idea, but it is an unrealistic expectation.

Immediate suggestions that could allow the dedicated staff at OCI to be more helpful include the following:

  1. Creating and distributing useful, concise information for chasing parents, law enforcement, and court personnel regarding all areas of IPCA. The use of digital media combined and supported by printed content is critical.
  2. The development of an independent website outside of the Department of State’s website. This website must be easy to navigate, include audio and digital feeds, and must be accessible to individuals in various languages.
  3. OCI must actively support advocates and lawmakers who are seeking to pass child abduction prevention laws. Support by OCI in this area can increase the visibility of the issues of child abduction while also increasing lawmaker and judiciary awareness.
  4. Dissemination of information on the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.
  5. Dissemination of information on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’, and dedicated resources established to assist lawyers and Chasing Parents seeking assistance under this program.
  6. Increases in outreach toward documented and un-documented aliens about OCI, and the rights of their U.S. child-citizen.
  7. Increase in personnel to support the tremendous workload of the OCI staff.

About the Authors:

Peter Thomas Senese is the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, a highly respected child abduction prevention advocate and a successful chasing parent in accordance to the rules of international parental child abduction law established under the Hague Convention.  Under Peter’s leadership, the I CARE Foundation has assisted reunite many children who have been internationally kidnapped with their left-behind parents while also working tirelessly to prevent the abduction of an exponentially larger number of children. Peter advocated for the passage of the State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ (CAPA), heavily contributed to raising public awareness of the previously widely underutilized federal child abduction prevention program; specifically, the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ (PDP) that is now more commonly implemented in aiding targeted parents and their child from abduction in certain case scenarios, worked diligently to have ‘Senate Resolution 543 – the International Parental Child Abduction Resolution’unanimously passed calling for a complete revamping of how the United States government handles abduction. In addition, Peter has spoken as an expert witness before numerous government bodies, including hosting a forum on international parental child abduction at the United Nations at the request of the U.S. Department of State in his capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation.  Peter is the creator/writer/producer of the educational documentary film series ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, a best-selling author whose upcoming world-wide book release focusing on international parental child abduction and titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ has been critically acclaimed as a call-to-arms against child abduction. Peter is the writer of an extensive number of influential articles and essays pertaining to IPCA. He has created and oversees a comprehensive website dedicated to child abduction prevention and good parenting (www.chasingthecyclone.com) where numerous essays and may be found, including the eye-opening report ‘International Parental Child Abduction And Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere’ Peter co-authored with Ms. Carolyn Vlk. Dedicated to bringing about new child abduction prevention laws while creating dialogue that may reform certain government programs and protocols so that they may better serve targeted children and their parents, Peter Senese is a strong supporter of The Hague Convention and The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues.

Carolyn Ann Vlk is a renown child abduction prevention advocate and a Founding Board of Director Member of the I CARE Foundation as well as a member of the Special Advisory Board of the Amber Watch Foundation. Carolyn drafted the landmark State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ that will be enacted on January 1st, 2011. Ms. Vlk was highly influential in raising the public’s awareness on the little-known, highly effective child abduction prevention federal program titled the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ and  worked diligently to have ‘Senate Resolution 543 – the International Parental Child Abduction Resolution’ Carolyn is also a writer/producer of the highly educational documentary film series titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, and, is the author of numerous essays and studies on parental child abduction, including the groundbreaking report titled ‘International Parental Child Abduction And Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere’ (2010). Carolyn is dedicated to assisting parents and their children who are targets of international child abduction, and is committed to bringing about positive reform and change in law and government protocol that has been established to aid at-risk children. Ms. Vlk is a supporter of The Hague Convention, The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues, and the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). Carolyn is a loving and dedicated mother to her children, and fought rigorously to protect her own child who was a target for potential abduction that she went so far as to draft legislation that has now become new law in her home state of Florida.

Joel S. Walter is a practicing attorney licensed to practice law in New York State and is admitted into numerous United States Federal Courts, where he has practiced law for nearly 40 years.  Mr. Walter is a Founding Board Member of the Board of Directors of the I CARE Foundation, where he has worked diligently in assisting parents and children in crisis at risk of abduction, including playing key roles in reuniting numerous children of international kidnapping with their targeted parents.  Joel’s active role with the I CARE Foundation also includes conducting legal research on a variety of issues related to abduction and trafficking.  A highly respected trial lawyer by nature, Joel is known within the law community as an outstanding litigator.  Joel has worked diligently on numerous I CARE Foundation legal initiatives and has petitioned various lawmakers on a series of policy issues related to child abduction and trafficking.

Peter Thomas Senese and I CARE Foundation Confirm New Film: 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children

I am very pleased to confirm that I will be producing on behalf of the I CARE Foundation and Pacifica an upcoming feature documentary film 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children focuses on the cataclysmic growth of international parental child kidnapping in the United States, Canada and abroad.  The film will dissect why the hideous crimes against innocent children has reached pandemic levels that have claimed so many lives and what can be done to prevent abduction, while also offering solutions that should be implemented that can help current child-victims of cross-border kidnapping.

The film’s title 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children originates from a widely distributed and cited study titled Crisis In America written by renown child advocate Carolyn Vlk (a member of the Board of Directors of the I CARE Foundation, and a member of the Special Advisory Board of the Amber Watch Foundation) and myself.  150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children is the average weighted forecast of that takes into consideration how many children living in The United States, Canada, and Mexico are anticipated to actually be internationally parentally kidnapped over the next ten years.

The film will bring viewers into several intriguing parental child abduction cases, through the legal system available to targeted parents and children, the psychological trauma of kidnapping and its effects, and eventually above a microscope looking at the government agencies and their existing policies responsible for protecting children. Paramount to the film’s direction is the intent to offer new solutions to a serious social problem that in the United States alone is expected to cost the American economy over six billion dollars over the next decade.

150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children will also focus on how children of both parental and stranger-abductions are easily removed from one nation’s border to another under existing policies in North America, and particularly in Europe.

The I CARE Foundation and several of its Board of Director members have been studying key aspects of international parental child abduction for some time.  150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children will include substantial data and information based upon these unique and groundbreaking studies. Studies and information, I might add, that I fully expect will change the landscape of abduction prevention. Which is, by virtue, the mission of the I CARE Foundation.

And of course, I am thrilled to once again be working and writing with Carolyn Vlk, who is one of the brightest and most knowledgeable persons concerning abduction that I know.  In the past, Carolyn Vlk and I produced the important educational documentary film series Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms of Child Abduction that has come to benefit many targeted parents from around the world, as well as our publication of the most up-to-date resource guide on child abduction prevention and reunification titled The World Turned Upside Down.

As a storyteller deeply familiar with the world of child abduction, it is my personal hope that this film will not only raise awareness of parental abduction so targeted parents may act to protect their families, but it is my aspiration to also provide keen social insight into the horrors that exist so our lawmakers will move on new laws and policies that will help protect children in a similar manner that we accomplished through passage of Senate Resolution 543, the State of Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Law, the State of New York’s and the State of California’s criminal Cyber-Impersonation and Cyber-bullying laws, and the implementation of the highly effective abduction prevention tool – the federal Prevent Departure Program by the Department State in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security.

150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children  will be released during the late Spring – early Summer, 2013.

Similar to all projects associated with my work as a child advocate and steward raising awareness of child abduction, the 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children film is personally funded through charitable donations from my business holdings.

For those of you interested in learning more about abduction and my writing, may I suggest you read my critically acclaimed novel Chasing The Cyclone – and remember, 100% of all my proceeds from sales of all my books are presently donated to the I CARE Foundation, which sure has created more than a few miracles for children.

Attorney Joel Walter, who is a member of the I CARE Foundation’s board of directors and one of the best litigators I know, and who, over the course of many years, has represented many professional athletes and entertainers, and who is intimately involved in the upcoming production recently wrote, “The research on abduction the I CARE Foundation has and continues to conduct is critical to the fight to save children of kidnapping’s lives.  In Mr. Senese’s upcoming 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children film, the work of the I CARE Foundation will act as the story’s rudder, guiding the narrative into a solution-oriented universal message. On a personal note, I continue to be flawed at the deep commitment of Mr. Senese, including using a tremendous amount of his personal resources, in our fight to help families in crisis.  As a critically acclaimed storyteller and one of the most committed and published child advocates around, combined with the data drawn from the I CARE Foundation’s research, we expect 150,000 Internationally Kidnapped Children to become a socially important and influential film.

Peter Thomas Senese: Looking Back At The I CARE Foundation’s First Year

It has been a little over a year that the I CARE Foundation began our formal operations working toward trying to dramatically reduce the number of children who are fallen victims of the crimes of international parental child abduction or child trafficking.

The I CARE Foundation has had success on many levels, including reuniting numerous internationally kidnapped children with their parents while also preventing an even greater number of abductions from occurring.   Due to the nature and sensitivity of many of the cases we are involved in, we are mindful not to discuss any role we play or our involvement even after a child is returned because children of abduction, sadly, are considered high-risk targets for an attempted second abduction.

Nevertheless, I know I speak on behalf of the I CARE Foundation’s entire board of directors when I say that we always keep in mind the wonderful words shared with us by many of the parents who we have assisted.  Their words of thanks and appreciation move us deeply while reminding each of us how important our work is.

But our work protecting children is not simply found in successfully assisting the many dozens of families we have over this past year.  And before I go any further, I will be the first to say that reuniting children of abduction or preventing a child’s international abduction is not easy: the laws are not helpful, the scheming parents seem to have a hidden playbook on how to abduct, countries often do not uphold international law, and the financial costs of recovery or prevention is incredible: thus, there are times when despite our capabilities, our efforts may not result in a recovery or prevention of abduction.

Fortunately, there have been many successes, while remaining committed to those we seek to help.

However, our primary mission is to conduct research in the area of international parental child abduction and child trafficking, publish and widely disperse our findings, and then use our data to help drive new policies and laws that will help protect children.  Considering the I CARE Foundation is a non-profit organization fueled by the financing made available by our board of directors, it is encouraging at this point just how far we have come in a year.

You know, one person’s voice really can make a difference.  And humbly, it was during the time that I was ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ of international parental child abduction that I thought one day I would use my skills and capability as a best-selling author to help other parents and children facing a world of abduction that does not make any sense: the world of international parental child abduction. Fortunately, I had a starting point that would allow me to set the wheels of advocacy in motion because I had a platform to stand on: you see, it took a great deal of everything, but I was able to reunite with my child despite unthinkable hardships and challenges, and in doing so, I also learned a great deal about child abduction.

Using my skills as a writer, I then wrote the deeply personal fiction novel ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ that was overwhelmingly inspired by my life’s experiences that book critics have praised.  I am very proud of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ because, as it has been properly stated in the press, it is a book that creates miracles.

Now you might be asking yourself how does a book create miracles?  To begin, the knowledge shared with other targeted parents has helped many reunite with their children or helped them protect their kids.

In addition, I have donated 100% of all of my various books proceeds and ancillary income to the I CARE Foundation, including 100% of my revenue generated from all e-book sales of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ (hardcover will be released in early 2013: 4.8 Star Rating: 40+ Reviews) to the I CARE Foundation.  Fortunately, I have been blessed to be able to make several important donations to the foundation that has unquestionably rescued and protected many children.

As for the I CARE Foundation, some of our successes include but are not limited to:

  1. Reuniting numerous abducted children with their families.
  2. Assisting in the prevention of the international kidnapping of many targeted children.
  3. Conducting and publishing important research in the area of child abduction.
  4. Using our research findings to either drive or initiate new laws and policies geared to protect children and their families.
  5. Creating a nation-wide attorney network of lawyers capable of assisting families in crisis due to actual or potential abduction.
  6. Launching a successful campaign seeking attorneys to join the U.S. Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network.

There are no words that I could ever use to explain the heart-felt joy I feel knowing that so many children have been assisted because of the I CARE Foundation’s work.   Nor could there ever been words that could mirror the hurt I feel when I come to learn of a parent and child’s suffering due to abduction.  It is what drives all of us to make a difference.

In little over a year, the I CARE Foundation’s accomplishments have had a positive social impact.  It was an honor to participate in the United States Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program at the United Nations.  It was an honor to accept a magnificent American Flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in my honor, and I sure am looking forward to traveling to the Hague and visiting the Peace Palace in the early part of 2013.

When I look out at the number of lives the I CARE Foundation has knowingly touched, and consider the number of individuals we will have a positive impact for that we will never know or meet, the writer inside of me smiles because I know without my desire to write ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ the I would not have sought to create the foundation.  Clearly, the power of books and writing are alive and well.  And I am thrilled to know that the foundation’s operations, board of directors, advisory board, and international reach and presence will be expanding in 2013.

On a personal note, and outside of the joy I feel knowing of the children we have helped, it has been richly rewarding to develop friendships with some truly remarkable, loving parents who it is my honor to call ‘friend’.

In the spirit of friendship, I know that 2013 is really going to be the Year of the Child.

On a final note, please remember, Christmas is Child Abduction Season.  Educate yourself so that you and your family can have a Happy Christmas.  And as for me: I will continue to stand up to kidnappers of children . . .

Peter Thomas Senese

Founding Director
I CARE Foundation

I CARE Foundation: U.S. Senate Resolution 543 Champions Cause Of Internationally Abducted Children

The United States Senate has made a very clear and impressive position against the growing surge of International Parental Child Abduction of American children. On Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 Senator Barbara Boxter’s (D-CA) Senate Resolution 543: International Parental Child Abduction Resolution (Senate Resolution 543), that was co-sponsored by 27 additional Senators, passed a Senate voice vote. Resolution does so much more than condemn the horrible criminal and abusive act of parental child kidnapping, but calls for an immediate overhaul of U.S. Government policy and agency implementation on how the government will handle the criminal act of cross-border kidnapping against the nation’s greatest treasure: our defenseless children.

Free Submission Public Relations & NewsPR-inside.com

I CARE Foundation: U.S. Senate Resolution Champions Cause Of Internationally Abducted Children

2012-12-07 20:50:02 – The U.S. Senate Resolution 543, referred to as the International Parental Child Abduction Resolution, initially Sponsored before the Senate by California Senator and renowned child advocate Barbara Boxter and Co-sponsored by 27 other U.S. Senators unanimously passed in the Senate. The Resolution takes a hard stance against the criminal and abusive act of international parental child abduction while calling for the U.S. Government to do everything possible to help bring home American child-citizens kidnapped abroad. According to I CARE Foundation Director Peter Thomas Senese, SR 543 is a landmark act that may reap sizeable benefits for children everywhere.The United States Senate has made a very clear and impressive position against the growing surge of International Parental Child Abduction of American children. On Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 Senator Barbara Boxter’s (D-CA) Senate Resolution 543 International Parental Child Abduction Resolution (Senate Resolution 543), that was co-sponsored by 27 additional Senators, passed a Senate voice vote. Resolution does so much more than condemn the horrible criminal and abusive act of parental child kidnapping, but calls for an immediate overhaul of U.S. Government policy and agency implementation on how the government will handle the criminal act of cross-border kidnapping against the nation’s greatest treasure: our defenseless children.Senator Boxter first introduced to the Senate Resolution on August 2nd, 2012.

I CARE Foundation (International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment)
I CARE Foundation (International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment)

The renowned child advocate, Senator Boxter, stated during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Business Meeting presided over by Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) that, “The International Parental Child Abduction Resolution condemns the abduction of a child by one parent to another country. It also calls on our nation and the international community to do more to resolve current and future abduction cases.” Senator Boxter also stated she “Introduced this resolution to help shine a light on child abduction and to urge immediate and sustained action to address it.”

According to recent studies and published reports by the I CARE Foundation, the number of actual international child kidnappings originating from the United States over the next ten years is expected to exceed over 100,000 children and cost the economy billions of dollars.

Senate Resolution achieves many things child abduction prevention advocates and targeted parents of abduction have been hoping would be accomplished for years: not only does the resolution clearly condemn international child abduction, but it directs various government agencies to review existing policies that have failed our nation’s children, revamping and reforming existing protocol so the growing epidemic of child kidnappings will end.

I CARE Foundation Founding Director Peter Thomas Senese stated, “I am thrilled that Senate Resolution 543 was streamlined by the Senate. Senator Boxter has a long history of protecting children. Sadly, as the number of international child kidnappings has come to light, combined with our understanding and acceptance that these cases against defenseless American children are criminal acts of conspired, heavily abusive acts of kidnapping that create incredible short-term and long-term hardship for the innocent child, today it is more evident than ever before that swift and immediate change in how these kidnapping cases must be handled. Clearly, one of the most important messages that could make change today is in ongoing abduction prevention litigation. It is my belief, and it is a message the I CARE Foundation has shared with all of our attorneys, that Senate Resolution is in fact a siren call to all judges overseeing an abduction prevention case that these cases are real, are not to be treated as child custody cases –because they are not – they are potential conspiracy to kidnap cases – and must be treated this way.

“Equally impressive is that Resolution 543 has teeth in that it calls for the review of how our federal agencies assist targeted children and parents. By calling to “review the advisory services made available to United States citizens by the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Justice, and other United States Government agencies”, the Senate Resolution 543 is not only clearly identifying but acknowledging that the existing agencies charged with protecting our nation’s children need to be overhauled in that there is a need to provide OCI with more power to act on behalf of kidnapped children. Surely, when this definitive review is conducted, there will be a clear disposition that OCI is underfunded, understaffed, and given limited power, which means as part of the Department of State, it is underutilized. Outward, the resolution calls for countries who are not members of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Abduction to become complying members of the international treaty. Presently, nations including Japan, India, and Egypt are not members of the international treaty, and few, if any children ever abducted to these nations ever are returned to the United States. Passage of SR 543 is an outstanding achievement.”

Carolyn Vlk, who is a Board of Director member of the I CARE Foundation and a Special Advisor to the Amber Watch Foundation added, “One of the most important messages of Senate Resolution 543 that I hope will transcend into the courtroom where the battlefield of abduction prevention is presently taking place is that judges who are presiding over these type of cases will realize just how serious these matters are, how difficult it is for a parent to recover their child, and how carefully plotted and schemed an actual abduction plan is. The key to protecting children from kidnapping is to not let them be stolen to begin with. I am very pleased to know that the resolution specifically calls for criminal extradition of kidnappers. I am also pleased to know that a review of government agency responsibility and interaction, such as those conducted by the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, will take place. The passage of Senate Resolution 543 is a very powerful step in the right direction.”

New York based attorney and I CARE Board member Joel Walter added, “I speak on behalf of the Board of Directors of the I CARE Foundation as well as our large number of lawyers in the foundations attorney network, when I say we are loudly applaud the Senate and all Senators who have made the passage of Resolution 543 possible. In streamlining the passage of 543, many much-needed and positive messages have been sent, including a clear green-light signal for child advocate organizations such as the I CARE Foundation to move forward on an assortment of federal legislative initiatives that will help protect children from this terrible fate of abduction. And that is exactly what the I CARE Foundation’s next step is: to move forward on additional new legislative initiatives that we have been working on over the past year. One thing that we must all remember is that a stealing parent generally has severe sociopathic tendencies and chose to abusively use a child of abduction to cause severe hurt against the other parent. In certain cases, the unthinkable act of filicide exists, as parental child murder is one of the leading causes of child death in our country. Clearly, children of abduction are in highly volatile situations. SR 543 is more important than perhaps we care to talk about.”

Senator Barbara Boxer said, “I am so proud that today (Tuesday evening, December 4th, 2012) the Senate took a stand to condemn the tragic and devastating crime of child abduction,” Senator Boxer said. “This resolution is a resounding call to the international community to join together to prevent and resolve abduction cases.”

Sentiment from several key United States Senators demonstrates a reshaping of Congress’ view on international parental child abduction with intent to act.

“International child abduction is a tragic situation that impacts not only the parents who are left behind but also the children who have been illegally separated from them and denied any contact,” Senator Lugar said. “Bringing greater attention to this issue is important if we are to change other governments’ attitudes to these abductions.”

“International child abductions aren’t faceless crimes, they’re real and they’re tragic,” Senator Kerry said. “The United States must condemn international abductions and work to resolve them. The international community must stand up and do all it can to make this right.”

New Jersey Senator Lautenberg said, “We need to gain the support of countries around the world in condemning this practice and agreeing to cooperate in the return of abducted children. This resolution will help us prevent these tragedies in the future.”

To read an analysis of Senate Resolution 543, including the resolution, please visit the I CARE Foundation’s website at: http://www.stopchildabduction.org


Press Information:
I CARE Foundation

225 Broadway
New York, NY 10007

Contact Person:
Maria Gina
Media Relations
Phone: 347-939-9399
email: email

Web: www.stopchildabduction.org

Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation

Upcoming Report On Financial Burden Of International Child Abduction In the U.S. Expected To Report Extensive Losses For Targeted Parents: WHTI Policy Flaws Cited

Authors and child advocates Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk recently published report on international parental child abduction originating from the United States points to major loopholes in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative as a primary reason how American children are illegally removed from the country.

New York, NY (PRWEB) November 06, 2011

A landmark study conducted by child abduction prevention advocates Carolyn Ann Vlk and Peter Thomas Senese reveals astonishing loopholes in Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) travel documentation requirements for children 16 years old or younger that inadvertently have created substantial opportunities for international parental child abductors and human traffickers who target thousands of U.S. children each year for cross-border abduction.

The report is titled “International Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere,” and is contained in the child abduction prevention advocates’ recently published resource guide on child abduction titled “The World Turned Upside Down”, which has been made available as a free E-book by the authors.

The extensive study focuses in part on the limited ground and sea travel documentation requirements needed for children traveling to contiguous nations as defined by the WHTI, including to the two nations that represent the highest concentration of abduction cases to and from the United States: Mexico and Canada, while also focusing on illegal travel to the Caribbean via cruise ship.

Under existing United States WHTI policy, a child under 16 years of age traveling by land or by sea to Canada, Mexico, or any number of Caribbean island-nations is required to present as little as a photocopy of their nationalization papers such as a photocopy of a birth certificate. No valid passport is required unless a child is traveling by air. With fraudulent travel documentation being a major issue for the Department of Homeland Security, it is clear that all travel of minors must include use of a valid passport regardless of how travel is conducted.

According to the 2010 Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspect of International Child Abduction prepared by the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues, there were 1,621 ‘reported’ international parental child abductions originating from the U.S. during 2009. The average growth rate over the past several years is approximately 20% per year.

Additionally, the number of ‘unreported’ cases of international child abduction to contiguous nations is believed to be substantial and is discussed in “Crisis in America: International Parental Child Abduction Today” that is included in Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk’s “The World Turned Upside Down.” Supporting the concern of the existence of significant ‘unreported’ cases is the most recent National Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2) study, which reports that of the 203,900 children that are estimated to be parentally abducted annually in the U.S., only 28% (56,500) of these abductions were reported to law enforcement.

The “International Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere” report has two main objectives: the first goal is to raise awareness of the loopholes traffickers and child abductors may utilize to facilitate their criminal acts of child-stealing so that targeted parents of child abduction, the judiciary and its court officers, law enforcement officials, and policymakers may act to protect children from this hideous type of crime. The second objective is to offer potential solutions through preventative measures and legislative changes that may assist in preventing child abduction and human trafficking as it is uniquely related to current WHTI policy.

In addition, the child abduction prevention advocates have recently created a White House petition site urging others to share their voice in seeking to modify the existing WHTI policy so that all U.S. citizens, regardless of age, must travel with a vaild passport.

Peter Thomas Senese, the author of the upcoming novel ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ critics have called a ‘Call-To-Arms’ against child-stealing that was inspired by his experience as a father who faced international parental child abduction stated, “The information furnished in our report provides substantial insight on how each year thousands of targeted children of international abduction living in the Western Hemisphere, including a considerable number of defenseless U.S. children-citizens, may be criminally transported across international borders. The loopholes in current government policy that may allow abductors to steal children across international borders are severe. In releasing this comprehensive study and by offering measurable solutions, it is Carolyn Vlk’s and my aspiration to raise awareness so that existing policy may be changed in the name of our children’s best interest.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk commented, “International child abduction and human trafficking are urgently critical issues that necessitate an immediate response. As children do not have the ability to protect themselves, we must continue to identify risk factors and loopholes that lead them to becoming victimized. The current situation is intolerable and the sheer numbers of children that are disappearing is unacceptable. These are horrendous crimes which mandate our highest priority and that necessitate legislative changes to take place immediately at the federal level. A mandate requiring a passport for all international travel will create the type of change necessary to further protect the innocent ones from this unconscionable crime.”

Mr. Senese added, “In the near future, we will be releasing a comprehensive study on the financial cost and financial loss associated with international parental child abduction originating from the United States. Our preliminary findings are shocking, and surely will open up many lawmakers eyes on the exteme financial impact international parental child abduction has on our nation and its economy. All this aside – what we’re interested in getting our hands around is rather straight-forward: we want to fully understand how our children are being abducted and what can we do about it. Obviously prevention is key. And that means we must, under all circumstances, modify the WHTI because we’re not talking about 1 or 10 or 100 defenseless American child-citizens lives here, we’re talking about thousands of children. And this is unacceptable.”

Costs for targeted American citizen parents associated with an international parental child abduction include but are not limited to extensive legal costs in the United States and abroad (to the country that the child was illegally taken to and/or detained in, costs associated with finding a child if the child’s location is unknown or costs associated with hiring private security to monitor the child’s whereabouts while legal proceedings take place, and travel related costs associated with a targeted parent’s litigation and hopeful reunification abroad. In addition, the financial burden for the courts and law enforcement are also extensive.

Best-selling author Peter Thomas Senese stated, “When we consider the growing rate of abduction for reported international child abduction cases and the anticipated growing rate of abduction for unreported international child abduction cases in the Untied States, and then factor in the overall costs associated with an abduction, including factoring in a series of additional factors as will be reported in the upcoming study, the overall financial impact on American citizens over a ten year period will far exceed One Billion dollars.”

To read more about the “International Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere,” please download a free copy of “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk Make Major Contribution To Child Abduction Prevention Community: Publish Historic Resource Guide

Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk are child abduction prevention advocates who have spent endless resources researching issues related to international parental child abduction (IPCA). Recently, the child advocates published the historic ‘THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’, a 330 page resource guide containing groundbreaking research and landmark findings on a diverse number of issues surrounding IPCA. At the core of the manifesto, the authors ask the questions, “How are our children being internationally abducted, and, what can we do to prevent this from happening?”

Reviewers, critics, and more importantly, the intended audience of ‘THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’ – targeted parents of at-risk children and professionals and advocates who actively act to prevent abduction from occurring have praised Mr. Senese and Ms. Vlk’s publication as a resource tool that has had a significant impact on the safety of many children.

Peter Thomas Senese commented, ‘THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’ is the product of years of research and study into various issues of child abduction. Both Carolyn Vlk and I volunteer our time and resources to this important issue because it is our hope to stop as many child abductions as possible from occurring. Unfortunately, too many targeted children and many family law practitioners are not fully aware of the complex issues of international child abduction. So we decided to publish this extensive resource guide and make it free for everyone who needs it, while also using our finding to push for new state and federal laws and policy that will prevent international child abduction.”

Written reviews of ‘THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’ tell a story of two child advocates making a positive difference in the lives of many. For insight on the high-impact work of Mr. Senese and Ms. Vlk, please read the following reviews:

Written By: Joel S. Walter (Esquire and Renown Child Advocate)
The World Turned Upside Down is a must read for all parents! The authors, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk are leading advocates in the world of International Parental Child Abduction. Mr. Senese’s work in this area is exemplary and impactful, and he and Ms. Vlk, author of Florida’s Child Abduction Law, have both been successful ‘chasing’ parents, and they offer a detailed manual providing that which one needs to know if one’s child is at risk …The WORLD provides one with strategies by explaining the different laws and treaties that come into play regarding child abduction. Also, the authors provide the reader with those “risk factors” to watch for and methods to protect against a child’s abduction with steps to take should the abduction actually occur.It is critical that any partner in a cross-cultural relationship pay attention to the risk factors which are detailed by the authors …This clearly written resource guide will either help prevent an abduction or assist in the recovery of your child … The authors have demonstrated their activism by uploading a full free copy of The World Turned Upside Down which is a HOME RUN! Kudos!

Written By:  Jill Jones-Soderman (Executive Director: ‘The Foundation For The Child Victims Of The Family Court’)
We wish to note that Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk’s THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN  is filled with accurate, usable, effective information  dealing with that which is certainly one of the most horrifying experiences of a parent’s life, the abduction of their child by a co-parent.In fact, it is in the authors’ clear and thoughtful research on various issues concerning international parental child abduction that new and important light is shed on critical topics that ask the questions ‘How are our children internationally kidnapped?’ and ‘What can we do to prevent this?’ In answering these questions in various ways, Mr. Senese and Ms. Vlk continue to assess previously published statistics, research, and data, and analyze how this information was derived. What has become clear and certain is that the general public, the court’s, lawmakers, and attorneys  know very little about international parental child abduction, and the widespread impact it has on society. Concrete material which galvanizes the strength of a stricken parent includes such material as the research report titled ‘Crisis In America: International Parental Child Abduction Today’ …Truly, for the first time has there been a thorough analysis that provides the full view of abduction, while also dissecting and discarding previously inaccurate information based on faulty past studies … Another brilliant component of THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN is a section titled ‘International Parental Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere’. Here, the authors hit pay-dirt. In asking the question, ‘How are our children abducted?’, the authors are led toward studying the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).  Under the WHTI, it has become clear how children are abducted. Specifically, the WHTI allows for children under the age of 16 traveling by land or by sea from the United States to present a photocopy of their citizenship papers such as a birth certificate! As the authors point out, only the use of a passport at departure provides some control over possible abduction … Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk have created a highly valuable manifesto on international parental child abduction prevention and recovery that is clearly geared toward two objectives. The first is obvious: to help other parents and children who are targets of abduction. The second objective is to create a highly informative and accurate resource for lawmakers, members of the judiciary, and child advocates alike, as the authors focus their actions toward changing, modifying, or implementing new law and policy at either a state or federal level … THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN  is a unique, outstanding, generous contribution unknown to date for its desire to help a huge public that has suffered immeasurably for lack of information as to how to proceed and who to trust in their quest to find a missing/lost child.  THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN by child advocates Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk is a true manifesto that every parent potentially at risk, that every family court lawyer, and every lawmaker interested in protecting our nation’s children should read.

Written By: Rianna Pearson (Targeted Parent of at-risk children)
Undeniably, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk’s `The World Turned Upside Down’ is so much more than a brilliant resource guide selflessly created by two highly respected child abduction prevention advocates who have had an immensely impactful influence on a large and growing global community seeking to find effective remedies to this abusive crime against children. And I know this first-hand because I am a parent at risk who was able to protect my three children from abduction due in no small way because of Mr. Senese and Ms. Vlk’s intervention and the knowledge they directly shared with me which is also contained in `The World Turned Upside Down’. The reality is my children were not abducted to a foreign country because of the information contained in `The World Turned Upside Down’ and the extraordinary knowledge and actions of Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk … There are individuals who decide to act in the face of adversity in order to help others. In creating `The World Turned Upside Down’, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk have not only acted and acted again, but the information they share will help many others throughout the world … `The World Turned Upside Down’ is a carefully written manifesto on how to stop a growing worldwide problem. As for Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk, what can I say? I know if it was not for them, my children would be long gone. As I shared earlier in this review, “God bless both of you, and thank you so much for all you did for me and my children.” Help other customers find the most helpful reviews.

Written By: G. Nyberg (Renown Child Advocate)
The World Turned Upside Down is written by a parent who experienced firsthand the horror, pain, and financial burden of having his child abducted. Peter got directly involved in the search for his son and remained persistent in his quest despite the many setbacks and obstacles. Through his experience he recognized the necessity to help and educate parents facing the same circumstances. Peter wanted to empower parents with the knowledge, statistics, contacts, and networks he discovered effective and useful, so he wrote, “The World Turned Upside Down”. This book is essential for not only parents searching for their children, but for law enforcement, advocates, an NGO, and other professionals involved in international child abduction and human trafficking … The World Turned Upside Down is a must read not only for parents at risk of child abduction, such as those who believe a non-custodial parent is capable of taking their child illegally and leaving the country, but for anyone close to them.

Written By: Amanda Bayoumi (Targeted Parent of At-Risk Children)
In THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk have created an extraordinary vital tool for any parent who’s child is at risk of international parental child abduction or has been criminally abducted. Packed with a plethora of resources,important contacts and information right at your fingertips, THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN is the creation of years of research complied into to a easy to read format that will be always evolving based on the needs of the left behind parent. This will be a living and breathing book that with completely change the fight against international parental child abduction. I applaud the authors for their significant effort to help parents like myself who have been targets for a potential criminal child abduction. Not only has the written book THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN been a great resource to me and my legal representatives, but the material presented has in fact made a very big difference on my and my children’s safety. I am extremely grateful that this book has been published and made available the way it has. Clearly both Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk dedication to helping parents and children like myself is most commendable. THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN is a must read for targeted parents of abduction, lawmakers, and most of all, judges who oversee cases involving children and a potential abduction risk.

Written By: David Bokel (Child Advocate and Targeted Parent)

The World Turned Upside Down is a great resource for law enforcement, judges, lawyers, legislatures, and parents. It is so painful to imagine your own child suddenly missing. Many parents and whole communities of people do not know what to do when a child goes missing. This book provides valuable answers. If more people worked on prevention, there would be fewer children missing. We need to look past the pain in order to find ways to prevent child abduction. I invite all to educate themselves and work hard to advocate for our children and reduce the numbers of children abducted. Together we can make a difference for the benefit of our precious children.

Written By: Vivian Middleton (Child Advocate)
The World Turned Upside Down is a book that is filled with Knowledge. Knowledge is POWER! Parental Alienation is an Epidemic throughout our world, yet very little is being done to prevent it. This book offers the reader to gain the knowledge necessary to bring about CHANGE! If one sit’s idly by and does nothing, then nothing changes. I can not emphasize enough just how very important it is for each of us to become involved. I feel that this book gives one an extended helping hand in bringing about a profound change and protect our children from such a horrific episode in their life and that of their loved ones, that forever leaves permanent scars. This is a preventable occurrence. But one must want and seek out change. I think that this book offers so much information to those who have not fully explored the World of Parental Alienation. It offers so much to those who are going through it. A GREAT RESOURCE of INFORMATION. Well worth reading and sharing and doing everything possible to bring about change to protect the innocent children that we are suppose to protect.

Written By: Peggy G – (Grandparent of at-risk children)
The “World Turned Upside Down” by Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk is a book that has truly impacted my family’s life. Speaking from experience, I know first-hand the serious challenges that a parent faces when their child is at risk for international child abduction. In my family’s case, this is even more true when the other parent is from the Middle East and from a country that is not a party to any international treaty and where women are not nationals of that nation and have NO rights. There is no doubt that abduction prevention is the key. Every case is unique and with jurisdictional laws that vary from state to state, it is so important to have the critical and up-to-date information on international parental child abduction and prevention that is found in “The World Turned Upside Down.” It is a wonderful gift that Peter and Carolyn have given to all of us to provide great insight on every issue that a targeted parent or family MUST pay attention to. I urge every parent involved in a cross-cultural relationship to read “The World Turned Upside Down.” Don’t wait. It may very well be the most important book you will ever read. On a personal note, I want to thank Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk for being so dedicated to helping other parents and their children. Their work and actions alone with my family have made such a big difference and we are so thankful to them both.

Written By: N. Caraballo (Child Advocate)
Although I was not personally and directly involved during the time in which the International Parental Abduction was committed in our situation, I am now having to deal with the aftermath and prevention of a potential re-abduction of a minor child that I have come to love, care and cherish. Although our child is back home where he belongs in Florida, the hardest and most challenging issue has been to educate the judge and the legal system to put in place the preventive measures to avoid another re-abduction. This book has all the information to educate the judges, courts, and attorneys to take into consideration the preventive measures that can be put into place to avoid re-abduction by the parent who have no respect to the laws of our country. I’ve learned so much from this book. Parental International Abduction is a CRIME, it is CHILD ABUSE!! Let’s get together and spread this informational book to avoid and deter those people who think they can commit this crime and get away with it!! THANK YOU, PETER AND CAROLYN FOR SHARING ALL THE INFORMATIVE RESOURCES CONTAINED IN THIS BOOK. I know with all this information, we can continue to stay strong and keep our child safe at home!

Written By: Ann Kerlin (Child Advocate)
It is sad and disgusting to know that grown adults play a cat and mouse game with one another using their own child(ren) as a pawn. In a lot of instances, one parent abducts their child(ren) from the guardian parent and crosses international lines to flee and hide. The mental and spiritual damage this causes to the child(ren) is staggering yet it doesn’t just continues but is growing more rampant each year. On top of having to deal with parent against parent, there are also still many child(ren) abducted by strangers for whatever reason, be it greed or just evil intentions. In order to bright light to this worldwide epidemic, Peter Thomas Senese, being experienced as a “Chasing Parent” himself and Carolyn Ann Vlk, who has experienced the threats of abductions of her son, wrote this comprehensive e-book to outline the numbers (which is staggering), the financial burden on the “Chasing Parent” of trying to recover their abducted child(ren), as well as resources that the “Chasing Parents” can utilize to perhaps locate and recover their abducted child … As much as we want to keep our eyes closed to this type of tragedy, they happen and more times than we would like. Kudos to Peter and Carolyn for their hard work and dedication in bringing this book and awareness to the forefront.

Written By: Stephen Bryer (Targeted Parent Of At-Risk Children)
I hope it is not viewed as to strange to say in my review of THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN ‘God Bless both of you, Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk’: without the information that you have provided in your incredible resource guide, I am certain my son and daughter would be long gone and out of the country. It was due to the information you created that my lawyer was able to persuade the court to act carefully and not permit my ex-wife leave the country with my son and daughter. As it turned out, she had every intention of abducting my kids and staying in Russia … The acts of Mr. Senese and Ms. Vlk to create such a thorough and detailed guide – and publish it for free only leads me to say one thing: God Bless you, Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk.

For more information, please visit http://www.peterthomassenese.com/ or http://www.chasingthecyclone.com/

Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk Release Landmark Open-Tablet E-book Publication on International Child Abduction ‘THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN’ To Aide Targeted Children And Raise Awareness Of Growing Epidemic

Best-selling author Peter Thomas Senese along with child advocate Carolyn Ann Vlk have announced the official E-book publication release of their groundbreaking international child abduction prevention open-tablet resource guide titled ‘The World Turned Upside Down’.

Demonstrating the child abduction prevention advocates ongoing commitment to assist targeted children and their parents against the rapidly expanding criminal act of international parental child kidnapping while also seeking to raise the public’s awareness of the growing epidemic of cross-border child abduction, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk have made the highly informative ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ available as a free E-book to ensure that the information provided is immediately accessible to those who may desperately need it.

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ by Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk is a unique and extensive resource guide containing significant and relevant information on international child abduction including a series of landmark research studies that will be of great interest to any individual concerned with preventing either domestic or international child abduction, including targeted parents, law enforcement officers, courts, social workers, lawmakers, and other professionals who advocate for children and who are interested in understanding and preventing this serious and dangerous crime against unsuspecting children.

Unique to the child advocates’ efforts, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ takes shape in the form of a virtual E-book that is expected to be frequently updated with new content, information, and material as relevant and useful information concerning international child abduction becomes available. In essence, ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ (315 pp) is the foundation for what will become a very unique open-tablet cyber-library capable of providing critically important, easily accessible information on international parental child kidnapping to all individuals in need of such information.

Peter Thomas Senese previously created and produced along with Carolyn Vlk the groundbreaking 9-part educational documentary film series on criminal international parental child abduction titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, and is the author of the upcoming critically praised novel on international child abduction titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’. Mr. Senese commented, “It has been Carolyn and my intent to continue to make a substantially helpful impact for defenseless children and their parents who are targeted by predator parents or others intent on committing the criminal and cruel act of international child kidnapping. One of the many aspects that makes ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ a unique book is that in its open-tablet E-book format we will be able to add new and relevant material and cross-index this information as it comes to light so individuals in need of the new information will have immediate access to it. What we’re creating is a living E-book that is expected to evolve into a single-resource for the millions of targeted parents, law enforcement officers, lawmakers, and child advocates from around the world who are interested in stopping child abduction.”

Co-Author Carolyn Ann Vlk included, “Peter and I have been extremely committed to raising the public’s awareness on the high-growth and seriousness of the crime of international parental child abduction while also seeking to implement child abduction prevention measures such as the state of Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act that is now law, or the implementation of the federal ‘Prevent Departure Program’, which is now a widely dispersed and extremely useful tool used to combat international parental child abduction here in the United States. Our present activity includes creating new legislation that will close the significant abduction and trafficking loopholes associated with the ‘Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative’ that clearly has created a black hole on international abduction and human trafficking We’re actively engaged in creating legislation that will hold non-citizen child abductors accountable for their kidnapping crime with respect to our nation’s immigration policy. And we’re actively seeking solutions that will take a stand against dual-passport issues with respect to a child of duel citizenship possessing a foreign passport when this child has been declared a risk for criminal abduction by one parent.

“In our extensive voluntary child abduction prevention activity together, Peter and I continue to ask the questions, ‘How and why are our children being criminally internationally abducted at such staggering rates, and what can be done about it?” ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ takes into consideration, and offers answers to many facets of these questions while also providing valuable insight on the issues at hand that are based upon our extensive and ongoing research as demonstrated.”

Peter Thomas Senese, reached in Washington, D.C. where he was actively educating policymakers on the proposed WHTI modification legislation added, “Tragically, there is limited social understanding as to the inherent cruel acts of child abuse and serious dangers associated with the pandemic of international parental child abduction. And despite parental child abduction being a federal crime of kidnapping in the United States, as well as in most every other nation, the growth of these malicious acts against children has increased in substantial part due to failures by lawmakers to create child abduction prevention laws, and more glaringly, even greater failures by the judiciary to implement and uphold these laws created in order to protect children from the act of international criminal kidnapping. Thus, in part, it is our hope that ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ sheds further light into just how dangerous a situation we have on our hands, while offering certain solutions that can make a sizeable difference in curtailing the unyielding growth of international parental child abduction and child trafficking. In reality, there are very real solutions that can be implemented that will dramatically reduce the number of criminal abductions, I think the key is to look within at prevention issues, while of course, holding all nations accountable who do not comply with international law.”

According to Carolyn Ann Vlk, “The statistical challenges of this pandemic as published in ‘Crisis In America: International Parental Child Abduction Today’ Peter Senese and I previously released include the harsh reality that many nations do not even attempt to keep record of how many children are criminally removed from their borders each year. And those nations that do, such as the United States, have only published the ‘reported’ number of cases without providing any insight into what clearly is a much more sizeable number of ‘unreported’ cases of international child abduction. There are millions of children each year around the world who are targeted for abduction each year, with a substantial number of these children intended to be removed from their native country of origin. In fact, if the growth rate of international parental child abduction continues to rise as projected, in the year 2020 alone the United States will have more children criminally parentally kidnapped from our nation’s borders than can fill a professional baseball stadium!”

The outlook for parents of children criminally kidnapped abroad seeking to reunite with their kidnapped children is tragically alarming. For instance, there are approximately 200 criminally abducted U.S. and Canadian child-citizens illegally detained in Japan right now. In our history, no U.S. or Canadian child who was abducted from either the U.S. or Canada has ever been returned home. None. Ever. Japan is a black hole of child abduciton where no child has ever been legally brought back. Sadly, there are many black holes.

The title for the publication ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ was created due to the reality that many parents who are targeted for international parental child abduction enter into a nightmarish ordeal where limited help and understanding is found, and the majority of criminally kidnapped children are never returned. Supporting this reality is Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs for the United States Department of State who writes, “Very few options exist for parents and children who are victims of parental child abduction.” Ms. Jacobs also stated, “Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of redoubling efforts to promote compliance with [Hague] Convention obligations and encourage additional nations to join the Convention.”

Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children has previously stated, “The problem of missing, abducted, trafficked and sexually exploited children is large, growing, under-recognized and under-reported” Mr. Allen observed, “Children are the single most victimized segment of our population. Even with all of the progress we have made, most Americans still don’t understand that basic fact. According to Justice Department research, more than 2,000 children will be reported missing in the United States today!” Additionally, Mr. Allen stated, “The numbers are staggering. The tragedies continue and too many children do not make it home.”

David B, a father who successfully reunited with his previously abducted child commented, “IPCA is a severe crime against both the child and targeted parent. The malice of an abducting parent is well documented by leading experts and government officials in the United States and elsewhere. The fact is, international child abduction is a criminal act of kidnapping. The severity of this crime can be long lasting for the child. Today, we need to uphold the criminal statutes in place in order to protect our children. Those individuals known to have criminally abducted a child internationally should not be allowed back in the country due to the severity of their crime and the likelihood that they will attempt to re-abducted a child once again: an occurrence that is well documented. ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ is an incredible resource guide that not only will help targeted parents, but will educate policymakers as to just how bad and dangerous this situation really is. The book’s free release and the material contained in it demonstrates how deeply committed and knowledgeable Carolyn and Peter are to helping children everywhere.”

A. Castro, whose child was previously criminally abducted to Europe, successfully reunited with his child, to only need to act again to prevent a second abduction added, “The failure by courts and their judges to understand the gravity of international parental child abduction and the ease of which a parent can criminally abduct a child has led to the substantial spike in the number of tragic abduction cases. The information contained in ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ and the selfless and dedicated efforts of Carolyn Ann Vlk and Peter Thomas Senese to provide assistance to targeted children and parents like myself is incredible. This publication is an extremely helpful resource guide every person involved in child abduction should read.”

Gloria Nyberg, a leading child abduction prevention advocate who has participated in a substantial number of international parental child abduction reunifications and who has acted endlessly to prevent targeted children from becoming victims of criminal child abduction stated, “For many parents who face having a child abducted abroad, the maze of complex legal and personal issues they must immediately attempt to navigate can be devastating. The challenges are magnified many fold due to the fact that most every parent does not expect for this crime against them and their child to happen. They are typically victims of a well-conspired fraudulent plan. By creating ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Vlk are providing the world with yet another very special gift: a remarkable resource guide that will help a tremendous number of people, including parents and children facing this type of crime. Combining this publication with the extensive previous research reports and educational documentary film Peter and Carolyn have previously created or published, along with their tireless effort to create and implement new laws that will serve children everywhere, their efforts have and will continue to bring positive awareness of the dangerous and growing issues at hand.”

Amanda B, a mother presently at risk of having her young children abducted to the Middle East added, “The selfless efforts of Peter and Carolyn have made a direct impact on the safety and welfare of my children. I am grateful for their direct assistance on my and my children’s behalf: today my children are safe at home, and I am extremely grateful. ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ is such a vital resource that parents like myself, who are at risk of having their children internationally abducted, can turn to. It is an incredibly useful tool written by two caring child advocates who give of themselves freely in order to help others.”

Jill Jones Soderman, PHD the Executive Director of ‘The Foundation For The Child Victims Of The Family Courts’ (501c3), and the Founder of ‘The Family Resolution Center’, located in Chester, New York, which focuses on issues surrounding children, including international child abduction and parental alienation added, “Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk have committed a significant portion of their lives and personal resources to the intervention and prevention of child abduction. As part of such efforts, Peter and Carolyn have written one of the most comprehensive, understandable written works bound by groundbreaking and landmark research on a plethora of issues surrounding the criminal act of international child abduction. In ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk’s commitment toward defenseless children and their targeted parents is undeniable, extraordinarily impactful, and speaks volumes from the loving hearts of Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk. ‘The Foundation For The Children Victims Of The Family Courts’ looks forward to contributing to the ongoing resource guide ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ as this incredible evolving open-tablet E-book will make a positive difference against the war on international parental child abduction and child abuse.”

‘The World Turned Upside Down’ is available for free download on best-selling author Peter Thomas Senese’s official website, the official website of Senese’s ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, and on numerous websites including ‘International Parental Child Abduction Information’. Also available on these sites is the educational documentary film ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ created and narrated by Peter Thomas Senese, and co-produced by Carolyn Ann Vlk, along with various helpful information.

Peter Thomas Senese’s CHASING THE CYCLONE

Peter Thomas Senese added, “Carolyn and I are pleased to publish the open-tablet E-book ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ as we continue our efforts to prevent the acts of international child abduction. We recognize that ours are only part of the great effort put forth by a global community interested in protecting children everywhere. We thank all those who have demonstrated leadership in this area, feel deeply for those children who have been victimized by the malicious acts of abduction along with their parents who have or who are chasing the cyclones of child abduction, and look forward to participating in efforts that will create new laws and policies focused on protecting targeted children and their parents from abduction.”