The issue of international parental child abduction continues to be a serious and growing problem around the world. Each year there are thousands upon thousands of unsuspecting parents and children that become victims of this horrific crime. Don’t be mistaken… international parental child abduction is a crime as it is a severe form of abuse against not only the child, but also the left behind parent. Those that are part of the team of the I CARE Foundation are very aware of the challenges that are present when faced with having to deal with a child that has been abducted… so prevention is always the key! A child that is protected from international abduction is one that is able to live as they should… free from abuse and free from fear.
When we look at abduction prevention, one of the most effective tools readily available to parents is the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form, specifically protecting a child from wrongful retention in a foreign country which accounts for approximately 85-90% of all international child abductions. If your child is going to be traveling abroad, as a parent you should seriously consider utilizing this proven effective travel consent form to protect your child from abduction. Being proactive is the key as the majority of parents who have become victims, have rarely seen the warning signs that may have told them the other parent was planning to kidnap their child.
Peter Thomas Senese, the Executive Director of the I CARE Foundation shares, “The travel document does not simply act as a parent consent form allowing a child to travel abroad but reinforces a child’s return to their country of origin based upon affirmation requirements that remove the majority of an abductor’s legal defenses to remain abroad in connection with Hague law. The consent form is a tool that can be utilized by parents around the world, as well as attorneys who are trying to protect abduction. If a traveling parent refuses to sign the document, then under no circumstance should the other parent or a court permit a child to travel abroad as there is a heightened increase to an abduction threat.”
As you read this you might think to yourself… “This could never happen to me“. Generally every parent that has become a victim would have, at some point, said the same thing. The parents that need to pay most attention to this information are those that are involved in relationships that are strained or are in the midst of a divorce or separation, as well, those that are involved in child custody disputes, These parents should be very aware of the risks involved when it comes to your child traveling abroad – in particular if your child’s other parent has strong ties to a foreign country. Another important aspect to this – if you happen to have a custody agreement that states that your child must travel, never assume that a court order is enough to ensure that your child will return home safely because this is just not the case. A parent that is already willing to kidnap their child, which is an extreme form of child abuse, is not going to think twice about ignoring the requirements of a court order. The simple fact is that without the protection of a travel consent form that has immediate and clear ramifications attached to it, such as the I CARE Foundation’s International Travel Child Consent Form, there are no guarantees that your child will return home.
Understand that the intent here is not to be blunt, but rather share the cruel reality that faces so many families today. Is there a chance that yours might be one of these families? If so, don’t hide your head in the sand. Being proactive and being aware of the warning signs of international parental child abduction, could well protect your child from a life of abuse at the hands of his/her other parent.
If you don’t fit into any of the criteria above, you should still be aware when traveling. Parental child abduction can commonly occur when both parents are traveling with their child to a foreign country. Perhaps you have planned a family vacation over, say, Christmas holidays during which, something like this could happen: The traveling family arrives in the foreign country they are visiting, and once they have landed, the would-be abducting parent files false claims of abuse and neglect against the other parent… the unsuspecting parent! Once this is done, they notify the other parent that they and the child will not be returning back to the country of original jurisdiction. From here, the targeted parent is generally forced to return back home without their child where they then need to seek legal assistance.
This is an example of what the cruel and unforgivable world of international child abduction can be like. But once again, it is important to note, that as a parent there are things that can be done to help protect your child and to help protect yourself.
The I CARE Foundation focuses a great deal of their efforts on abduction prevention and has been involved in an growing number of cases in both prevention and reunification. The work of those involved with the Foundation speaks for itself. At the forefront of this work is Peter Thomas Senese, who shows time and again that protecting children from parental abduction is a commitment that he stands unbowed to so that children and their families may never know the nightmare that is the world of international abduction. There are numerous sworn testimonial letters from individuals regarding the advocacy and volunteer work that Peter does each and every day. As well, Peter has provided testimony to the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in regards to the issues that revolve around international parental child abduction.
And on a final note, it’s important to mention again about the 12.23% decline in the reported U.S. outbound abduction rate during the year 2013. This past year’s decline brings the overall reduction in the outbound rate of international parental child abduction to over 38% since the I CARE Foundation began their advocacy efforts and working to bring an end to international abduction and trafficking. As the I CARE Foundation continues it’s extensive work in advocating and protecting children we hope to see this trend continue in the year to come. However, the truth is, there is still a great of work to do… so our efforts continue while we work to protect the innocence of children around the world.
To DOWNLOAD a copy of the International Travel Child Consent Form, please visit the I CARE Foundation’s official website.