The United States Government

South Korea Has Joined the Hague Abduction Convention

After years of prodding by the United States and other Hague Convention member nations, South Korea has finally signed the international treaty that requires a country to expeditiously return a child abducted by a parent to the child’s country of habitual residence, according to South Korea’s foreign ministry in a published report issued earlier today. The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or Hague Abduction Convention, will come into force in South Korea on March 1, next year, ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young said. Cho added that South Korea’s accession to the Hague Abduction Convention “will lay a groundwork for us to swiftly cope with parental child abductions.” Demonstrating a global shift in marriages, and the increase of cross-cultural marriages everywhere, Cho stated, “In particular, it is expected to help resolve human rights issues with regard to children in multi-cultural families.” International parental child abduction is a severe form of child abuse and malicious kidnapping. Recently, the United States Senate passed SR 543 condemning IPCA.

Peter Thomas Senese

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.

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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

U.S. Senate Resolution 543 Condemns International Parental Child Abduction

On the evening of December 4th 2012, U.S. Senators unanimously took a stand against international parental child abduction.  This is a big day for those of us that devote our lives to advocating for those innocent children that are targets of international child abduction.

The I CARE Foundation is pleased to share that U.S. Senator Barbara Boxter’s International Parental Child Abduction Resolution (Senate Resolution 543) first introduced to the Senate on August 2nd, 2012 passed unanimously yesterday, December 4th, 2012 a Senate vote. Previously, Senator Boxter stated before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee Business Meeting presided over 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.”

Senator Boxter’s comments made before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unequivocally shed light as to the great difficulties targeted children and parents face.  Senator Boxter, a known child advocate stated before Senator Kerry’s Foreign Relations Committee that, “The resolution (Senate 543) 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. By approving this resolution, we are sending a clear, bipartisan message that the United States Senate stands united in its condemnation of child abduction and its commitment to help end this injustice.”

The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a Senate Resolution 543 by a voice vote yesterday. Impressively, the resolution garnered 28 original cosponsors, and is a clear indication that the voices of the community of activists are reaching the halls of our nation’s Capitol.

Senate Resolution 543 reinforces several critical issues that are expected to come to the aid of targeted children and parents, as is discussed in a step-by-step summary analysis provided below.  However, on the surface, and with great light on the subject needed, Resolution 543 names Japan, India and Egypt as the worst offenders in the kidnappings of children from the United States to countries abroad.

Equally importantly, Senate Resolution 543 calls for several critical actions to be taken that will open up new avenues of child protection.  Specifically, Senator Boxter’s resolution calls for the immediate review of the protocols previously established by the United States Congress when our lawmakers agreed to become a signatory member of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction.  Specifically, Senate Resolution 543 (Article 2) (Section II) (Part E) states:

(E) 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—

(i) to improve the prevention of international parental child abduction from the United States; and

(ii) to ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to United States citizens who are parents of children abducted from the United States and taken to foreign countries.

What (Article 2) (Section II) (Part E) (iI) makes it clear that:

A review of Congress’ existing declaration when it annexed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction whereas it declined to financially assist targeted parents who have had their child criminally kidnapped (International Kidnapping Crimes Act) reunite with their children.According to an I CARE Foundation recent study,  parents who have their children internationally abducted face severe and overwhelming costs in attempting to reunite with their kidnapped children, and the financial costs and economic impact on the U.S. economy over the next 10 years is expected to reach over 5 Billion U.S. Dollars.   Clearly the resolution’s (2)(E)(ii) is specifying that the United States government must “ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to Untied States citizens” who have their children kidnapped – and this means financial assistance that may be required to locate an internationally kidnapped child, financial assistance for litigation expenses and any activity associated with a child’s recovery, including reunification assistance.  How important is this?  Enormous, particularly when we must consider that many of targeted parents fail to reunite with their abducted child because the stealing parent knows that so long as they can financially drain the other parent’s resources, and tie up the litigation into a long process, they should be successful in achieving their criminal act of abduction.  Should this portion of the Senate’s resolution be upheld, not only will it change the ability of a targeted parent to protect their child, but it will alter the dynamics of an abductor’s litigation strategy because they will not be able to financially drain the targeted parent.

Equally important, (Article 2) (Section II) (Part E) does something that could potentially make the greatest difference of all aspects of the resolution.  Specifically, the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI), which I believe is made up of some of the most dedicated and caring child advocates on the planet, presently have extreme limitations on what it can and cannot do to assist American parents who have had their child abducted.  Which leads to great frustration by the nation’s citizens who turn to OCI for assistance.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.

(Article 2) (Section II) (Part E) importantly states since international parental child abduction is a federal criminal act of kidnapping – this is not a child custody disagreement but a brutal act against a child – that review of existing protocols on how our national law enforcement agency may assist a targeted parent who has had a child abducted.

This section of Senate Resolution 543 is critical because today, and in the past, the vast majority of parental child kidnappers did not fear any retribution for the scheming, abusive, and destructive criminal act of cross-border abduction.  Without concern that they would be held accountable for their act, and with the financial playing field heavily tilted in their favor, there has been a sharp increase of child abductions that could see as many as 100,000 to 125,000 American children abducted abroad if we consider the current number of reported cases of abduction, the forecasted number of unreported cases of abduction, the growth rate of abduction, and underlying conditions such as immigration migration to the United States as well as general population growth as factors.

Critically supporting (Article 2) (Section II) (Part E) is (Article 2) (Section II) (Part A), whereas the resolution calls for:

(A)   Vigorously pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned, and, where appropriate, seek the extradition of the parent that abducted the child.

Did you notice the key words, “Vigorously pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States?”

This is clearly indicating that the United States Senate is sending a message that children will no longer be considered collateral political damage and that the United States government will protect and defend its defenseless, innocent children who are kidnapped and held hostage overseas.

How?

By seeking “the extradition of the parent that abducted the child.”

As previously stated, parental child abductors have little concern that their actions will be prosecuted even though the acts of international parental child abduction violates federal laws including criminal codes on kidnapping, and, at times, laws prohibiting the aiding and abetting of a fugitive.  In addition, a state’s laws on abduction are also violated, as well as criminal codes of child abuse and child neglect.  Of course contempt of court and perjury are rampant in these cases, and are punishable by contempt of court charges.

However, now it is clear that a parent can and should seek criminal remedy in conjunction with civil remedy available to them under the Hague Convention.

For a long time now, child abduction prevention advocates and chasing parents have all shared a very important message: by having an arrest warrant issued against a child abductor, by extraditing the abductor on kidnapping charges, by prosecuting abductors, and by having them sentenced, a strong message that will serve as a deterrent against abduction will be issued, and many would-be abductors will think carefully before they abuse their child.

Extradition means in many cases that in the simplest terms an abductor will have limited ability to hide under the rules of law of another nation.  Granted, part of the challenge is that each country has its own rules as to what type of crime it will allow extradition of; however, the underpinnings of Senate Resolution 543 is to use diplomacy that enables the laws of a child’s country of original jurisdiction to allow the child’s custodial parent the ability of protecting their child.

Obviously, it is critical that international parental child abduction occurs.  Which means new abduction prevention laws must be created while certain existing policies must be modified.  Clearly, new laws and policy modifications that occur will become worthless if judges presiding over courts of jurisdiction of a targeted child do not enforce the laws they are governed to uphold. Furthermore, it must become a mandatory policy for each child protective agency to develop a special division of trained personnel familiar with international parental child abduction in order to protect a child from abuse, including the common-place false claims made by a taking parent against a targeted parent.

Over the past 15 years the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, funded a study on child abduction murder cases. The number of cases of filicide – the murder of a child by one of their parents – was alarming.   A recent report issued by the I CARE Foundation provides acute insight as to the grave risk of murder associated with international child abduction cases.

Perhaps shedding light as to just how important Senate Resolution 543 is are the comments of Mr. Joel Walter,Esq., a Board of Director of the I CARE Foundation when he shared his insight on parental child abduction and the threat of parental child murder. “Once removed from their home, the child becomes a hostage who is put into more danger than being alienated from their other parent and family, being forced to live the life as a fugitive, having their identity stripped away – no, there is much more at risk than all of this: there is the risk that filicide – the murder of a child at the hands of one of their parents – will occur. And this is the reality that we all keep in the forefront of our thoughts: child abductors have demonstrated their cleverness and willingness to scheme and break the law as exhibited by their criminal act of kidnapping, the vast majority of abductors kidnap their child because they have lost control of their emotions and use the child as a pawn for revenge against the other parent and are willing to go to nearly any length to cause pain and suffering to their target, even if it is at the expense of their own child, and conceivably, as has been demonstrated in various forms and ways as exhibited by the number of filicide cases, a parental child abductor could murder their own child as the ultimate act of revenge – especially when a child’s return to their country of original jurisdiction has been ordered or is imminent.”

For targeted parents who have had their children abducted to countries such as Japan, India, and Egypt, who are not members of the Hague Abduction Convention, Senate Resolution 543 made it clear that the United States legislative branch no longer is willing to sit idle while American children are kidnapped or illegally detained abroad while laws in their country and courts that oversee these laws do nothing to uphold the legitimate claims of law based upon a child’s original jurisdiction and the prevailing laws and court orders issued from such jurisdiction.

A portion of the preamble of Senate Resolution 543 reads:

Whereas Japan, India, and Egypt are not parties to the Hague Abduction Convention and were also among the top 10 countries to which children in the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011;

Whereas, in many countries, such as Japan and India, international parental child abduction is not considered a crime, and custody rulings made by courts in the United States are not typically recognized by courts in those countries; and

Whereas Japan is the only member of the Group of 7 major industrialized countries that has not yet become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention: Now, therefore, be it –

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sponsored Senate Resolution 543, which garnered 28 original cosponsors and passed the Senate by voice vote Tuesday evening. Senator Boxer has been the Congressional leader on this issue since 2006, consistently raising legislative awareness. The renown child advocate Senator Boxter 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 an 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.”

Senator Inhofe said,  “Unfortunately, some countries around the world are complicit in allowing these unacceptable acts.  The heart wrenching stories I have heard from parents is not just devastating for them, but destructive for the children.  It is time for the Senate to act in a way that will help end this injustice.  This well written measure is a high priority.  I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join in this effort.”

“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.”

So now where do we go?

Well, obviously Senate Resolution 543 clearly indicates that the way our government, courts, and law enforcement handle international parental child abduction is not enough.  More – much more must be done as international child kidnapping spreads.

Prevention of abduction is critical.  This means that judges presiding over cases of abduction risk or act must become fully aware of the laws they oversee as well as the seriousness of this crime against children.  Education is critical.

The United States Senate has shared a very strong message: international parental child abduction is not a child custody case: it is criminal kidnapping, and it must be treated as such.

In addition, we need new laws that will help prevent abduction.  Two immediate legislative initiatives the I CARE Foundation is currently working on is to:

  1. Create a secondary secure screening list so that individuals possessing a right of U.S. citizenship and who are determined by courts or law enforcement to be high-risk child abductors  may be vetted prior to travel to ensure they are not abducting a child. This proposal is similar to the current Prevent Departure Program, which presently only permits the listing of individuals onto a secure screening list that do not possess a right of U.S. citizenship and who are in the United States.
  2. Under the current Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Policy, American children are permitted to travel outside of the country by land or sea to adjoining nations such as Mexico, Canada, and certain Caribbean-Island nations by presenting only a photocopy of a naturalization document such as a photocopy of a birth certificate.  We call upon the mandatory use of valid passports for all children entering into or traveling from the United States.

Obviously, bolstering the Office of Children’s Issues resources and capability are critical.  And using direct and ongoing diplomatic efforts to bring countries to the table of the Hague Abduction Convention, and ensuring that they comply with the treaty are also critical.

Senator Boxter’s Senate Resolution 543 Cosponsors was a bipartisan effort and included Senators Feinstein, Blumenthal, Rubio, Durbin, Kirk, Lugar, Moran, Roberts, Landrieu, Kerry, Cardin, Mikulski, Blunt, Lautenberg, Menendez, Gillibrand, Inhofe, Merkley, Wyden, Casey, Toomey, Reed, Whitehouse, Johnson, Hutchinson, Leahy, Cantwell, and Murray.

We applaud and thank Senator Boxter and all the Senators who passed Resolution 543 yesterday.  This is a major step in the right direction toward protecting our nation’s children, and equally, in doing so, sending a message to other nations that they too, must protect their child citizens.

We do take note that the statistical numbers of the number of cases of abduction cited in the legislative resolution are not accurate in that the cited 2011 numbers reflect the number of reported abductions that occurred in the year 2010.  We also take note that it is believe that the number of unreported cases of international parental child abduction are between 100% and 125% of the reported cases of abduction.  Finally, we believe that it is important to note that to state that international parental child abduction is on the aggregate rise of over 25% per year from the last known cited reporting years of 2006 through 2010.  The represented number of abduction cases in the senate resolution demonstrates that there is a critical need for more current research and shared updated information concerning just how severe international child abduction is today.Again, we are thankful for everyone’s efforts in making Senate Resolution 543 a reality.

The full text of Senate Resolution 543 is below.

RESOLUTION

Whereas international parental child abduction is a tragic and common occurrence;

Whereas the abduction of a child by one parent is a heartbreaking loss for the left-behind parent and deprives the child of a relationship with 2 loving parents;

Whereas, according to the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of the United States Department of State from April 2010, research shows that abducted children are at risk of significant short and long-term problems, including “anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, [and] aggressive behavior”;

Whereas, according to that report, left-behind parents may also experience substantial psychological and emotional issues, including feelings of “betrayal, sadness over the loss of their children or the end of their marriage, anger toward the other parent, anxiety, sleeplessness, and severe depression”, as well as financial strain while fighting for the return of a child;

Whereas, since 1988, the United States, which has a treaty relationship under the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this preamble as the “Hague Abduction Convention’’) with 69 other countries, has agreed with its treaty partners to follow the terms of the Hague Abduction Convention;

Whereas the Hague Abduction Convention provides a legal framework for securing the prompt return of wrongfully removed or retained children to the countries of their habitual residence where competent courts can make decisions on issues of custody and the best interests of the children;

Whereas, according to the United States Department of State, the number of new cases of international child abduction from the United States increased from 579 in 2006 to 941 in 2011;

Whereas, in 2011, those 941 cases involved 1,367 children who were reported abducted from the United States by a parent and taken to a foreign country;

Whereas, in 2011, more than 660 children who were abducted from the United States and taken to a foreign country were returned to the United States;

Whereas 7 of the top 10 countries to which children from the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011 are parties to the Hague Abduction Convention, including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia;

Whereas Japan, India, and Egypt are not parties to the Hague Abduction Convention and were also among the top 10 countries to which children in the United States were most frequently abducted in 2011;

Whereas, in many countries, such as Japan and India, international parental child abduction is not considered a crime, and custody rulings made by courts in the United States are not typically recognized by courts in those countries; and

Whereas Japan is the only member of the Group of 7 major industrialized countries that has not yet become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That—

(1) the Senate—

(A) condemns the international abduction of all children;

(B) urges countries identified by the United States Department of State as non-compliant or demonstrating patterns of noncompliance with the Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, done at The Hague October 25, 1980 (TIAS 11670) (referred to in this resolution as the “Hague Abduction Convention”) to fulfill their commitment under international law to expeditiously implement the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;

(C) calls on all countries to become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention and to promptly institute measures to equitably and transparently address cases of international parental child abduction; and

(D) calls on all countries that have not become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention to develop a mechanism for the resolution of current and future cases of international parental child abduction that occur before those countries become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention in order to facilitate the prompt return of children abducted to those countries to the children’s countries of habitual residence; and

(2) it is the sense of the Senate that the United States should—

(A) vigorously pursue the return of each child abducted by a parent from the United States to another country through all appropriate means, facilitate access by the left-behind parent if the child is not returned, and, where appropriate, seek the extradition of the parent that abducted the child;

(B) take all appropriate measures to ensure that a child abducted to a country that is a party to the Hague Abduction Convention is returned to the country of habitual residence of the child in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Abduction Convention;

(C) continue to use diplomacy to encourage other countries to become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention and to take the necessary steps to effectively fulfill their responsibilities under the Hague Abduction Convention;

(D) use diplomacy to encourage countries that have not become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention to develop an institutionalized mechanism to transparently and expeditiously resolve current and future cases of international child abduction that occur before those countries become a party to the Hague Abduction Convention; and

(E) 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—

(i) to improve the prevention of international parental child abduction from the United States; and

(ii) to ensure that effective and timely assistance is provided to United States citizens who are parents of children abducted from the United States and taken to foreign countries.

For more information on international parental child abduction, please click here.

Thank you –
Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation

I CARE Director Peter Thomas Senese Speaks At United Nations

The United Nations

On Friday, September 14th, 2012 I had the great privilege on behalf of the I CARE Foundation to extensively speak and participate at the U.S. Department of State’s sponsored ‘International Visitor Leadership Program’ held at the United States Mission to the United Nations in conjunction with the United Nations to discuss the work and research the not-for-profit I CARE  Foundation has been conducting in the area of international parental child abduction prevention (IPCA).

Unquestionably, the initiative by the U.S. Department of State to connect global government leaders with non-government organizations such as the I CARE Foundation to discuss the challenges and potential solutions of IPCA demonstrates a pro-active, solution oriented approach to combating child abduction and trafficking by private and public sector leaders.

Peter Thomas Senese

As the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, it is with deep pride to continue to see the I CARE Foundation recognized by our global leaders as a preeminent organization actively at the battle-front against the pandemic of international child abduction.  On a personal note, my participation in the International Visitor Leadership Program was deeply satisfying.  You see, six years ago, when I first found myself Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction,I had made a promise to make a difference so other families would not have to race into the nightmare of abduction.

I am equally committed to that promise today as I was when I first made it six years ago. Along the way, we have created more than a few miracles.

The I CARE Foundation

The I CARE Foundation’s ongoing ground-breaking, critical research in the area of international parental child abduction has shed light onto many areas and issues associated with international child kidnapping.  Our legislative and policy modification initiatives have had a sizable positive impact on preventing abduction.  Our dedication to assisting children of abduction has led to the rescue and reunification of many internationally abducted children while also successfully preventing the abduction of many other children.  And our public outreach to educate society, particularly potential targeted parents, has led to the prevention of numerous child kidnappings. Our commitment to build a national and global attorney network of highly qualified lawyers dedicated to assisting at-risk children of kidnapping continues to be highly received by the legal community, and perhaps most of all, our ability to make a difference for others continues to expand and reflect our deep commitment to helping others.

International Visitor Leadership Program

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.  Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.  These visits reflect the International Visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States.

International visitors are selected and nominated annually by American Foreign Service Officers at U.S. Embassies around the world. The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds and administers the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).

During our specific conference, discussion took place that evolved around the simple question ‘How can we as a global society help stop the pandemic of international parental child abduction?’

A few things stood out immediately.  This included:

  1. Unquestionable realization that IPCA is a severe form of child abuse; and,
  2. The vast majority of abductions are well schemed plans against a targeted parent; and,
  3. Targeted children and parents of abduction face severe hardship; ,and,
  4. Abducting parents utilize the existing legal system to draw out court proceedings; and,
  5. The longer a court proceeding takes, the more difficult it is for a child to be returned; and,
  6. Litigation must focus on narrow focus of jurisdiction established by the Hague Convention; and,
  7. IPCA is growing worldwide at an alarming rate; and,
  8. IPCA causes severe emotional and financial devastation to all connected to it; and,
  9. The economic cost of IPCA on the global market over the next decade will be many tens of billions of dollars.
  10. New research and studies similiar to the I CARE Foundation’s work must continue, and, utilizing the research findings to initiative new laws and government policies are critical to protecting children.

Chris Morris, Eugene Pothy & Peter Thomas Senese

As our conference unfolded, it was with awe that I listened to my friends Christopher Morris and Bryan Mooney, both parents who had children internationally abducted under the rules of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abductiondiscuss the severe challenges they have each faced respectively over the past two and three years trying to reunite with their children.

As I listened to each of these dedicated, loving parents discuss portions of their cases (which I am very familiar with), I could not help but wonder if their children will ever really know how much their fathers love them.  It is my hope that these children of abduction do, because the love Chris and Bryan have for their children has led them to do whatever possible to reunite with their children.

Dedicated Parent Bryan Mooney and His Children

Both Chris and Bryan’s stories of well-schemed child abduction by their childrens’ other parent re-enforced the notion that it was necessary for judges to expedite international child abduction cases, and settle the issue of which country has the right of jurisdiction of a child.

Chris and Bryan’s point was made very clear when it was shared that collectively, they have spent over U.S. $300,000.00 between the two of them thus far trying to bring their abducted children home, and their protracted litigation is far from over.

Critically, Chris and Bryan’s conveyance that the spirit of the Hague Convention to be expedited was made to all.

Eugene Pothy Reuniting With His Son After 9 Years

I was also very happy to hear my dear friend Eugene Pothy, who miraculously was reunited with his abducted child taken to the Ivory Coast and illegally detained for nearly 9 years, speak about the mental and spiritual hardship of abduction of children. Eugene’s points of view reinforced Chris and Bryan’s point of view that IPCA litigation must be expedited by the courts.

Fortunately, our conference was the right forum to share our view. And the message was heard.

Another very important issue that was discussed revolved around abduction prevention.  Specifically, it became clear that certain countries, for example, Turkey, have the ability of preventing abductions from occurring (736 total IPCA cases under the Hague over the past 10 years) by citizens who possess a right of Turkish citizenship because Turkish judges have the ability of preventing a high-risk child abducting parent from departing the country by all means of departure.

In contrast, the United States only has the ability to stop a high-risk child abductor from departing the country if that individual is not a U.S. citizen. Thus, individuals who possess duel citizenship in the U.S. and who are determined to be high-risk parental child abductors have limited security screen to prevent them from illegally removing their child from the country.

As some of you may know, members of the I CARE Foundation’s board of directors, including Carolyn Vlk and myself worked very hard to have the Department of State disseminate the Department of Homeland Securities’ ‘Prevent Departure Program’ as a tool to be used to help prevent abduction. However, the problem with the Prevent Departure Program is that it only applies to non-U.S. citizens. Thus, the I CARE Foundation’s efforts to modify the Prevent Departure Program to include a secure screening list for high-risk child abductors possessing a right of U.S. citizenship appear to be critical to protecting children.

Another I CARE Foundation measure that was discussed and warmly embraced was our initiatives to require all individuals entering into or departing the United States, regardless if they travel by land, sea, or air, to present a current and valid passport.

Overall, the day was very meaningful as a great deal of information was exchanged that inevitably will help protect defenseless children.  It was indeed a great privilege to have been asked by the United States Department of State to participate in such a highly esteemed program to a humbling experience to know that the I CARE Foundation’s work is respected around the world.

There is no question that it was yet another day of progress to protect children from abduction.

As for the International Visitor Leadership Program, the IVLP has a luminary list of esteemed participants include:

Afghanistan: President Hamid Karzai (1987)
Austria: President Heinz Fischer (1964)
Belgium: Prime Minister Yves Leterme (2002)
Bhutan: Prime Minister Lyonpo Jigme Yoser Thinley (1987)
Brazil: President Dilma Rousseff (1992)
Croatia: President Ivo Josipović (2002)
Croatia: Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic (1996)
Czech Republic: Prime Minister Petr Nečas (1994 and 1999)
Denmark: Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (1989)
Dominica: President Nicholas Joseph Orville Liverpool (1985)
Finland: President Sauli Niinistö (1992)
Finland: Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (2003)
France: Prime Minister François Fillon (1984)
France: President Nicolas Sarkozy (1985)
Georgia: President Mikheil Saakashvili (1997 and 1999)
Germany: President Joachim Gauck (1993)
Grenada: Prime Minister Tillman Thomas (1986)
Guinea: President Alpha Condé (1962)
India: President Pratibha Devisingh Patil (1968)
Ireland: Prime Minister Enda Kenny (1989)
Kenya: President Mwai Kibaki (1961 and 1999)
Lithuania: President Dalia Grybauskaitė (1994)
Macedonia: Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski (2000)
Malawi: President Joyce Banda (1989)
Malta: Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (1990)
Mauritius: President Anerood Jugnauth (1981)
Mauritius: Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam (1986)
Mexico: President Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa (1992)
Moldova: President Nicolae Timofti (2005)
Montenegro: Prime Minister Igor Lukšić (1999)
Mozambique: President Armando Emílio Guebuza (1987)
Namibia: Prime Minister Nahas Gideon Angula (1996)
Norway: Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg (1988)
Poland: President Bronisław Komorowski (2006)
Poland: Prime Minister Donald Franciszek Tusk (1993)
Portugal: President Aníbal Cavaco Silva (1978)
Slovakia: Prime Minister Robert Fico (1990)
Slovenia: Prime Minister Borut Pahor (1991)
Sri Lanka: President Mahinda Rajapakse (1989)
St. Kitts and Nevis: Prime Minister Denzil Llewellyn Douglas (1990)
St. Lucia: Prime Minister Stephenson King (1985)
Sweden: Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt (2002)
Taiwan: President Ma Ying-Jeou (1971 and 2003)
Togo: President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé (2001)
Trinidad and Tobago: Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar (1998)
Trinidad and Tobago: President George Maxwell Richards (1986)
Turkey: President Abdullah Gül (1995)
Zimbabwe: Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (1989)
Macedonia: President Gjorge Ivanov (1999)

In leaving the United States Mission to the United Nations, I left reaffirming once again my commitment to helping defenseless children of abduction and their targeted parents.

I CARE Foundation Urges Lawyers In Texas, Nevada, Arizona & New Mexico Sought To Join Department of State’s “Attorney Network”

The International Child Abduction Research & Education Foundation (I CARE Foundation) has launched a recruitment campaign urging attorneys located in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada to join the United States Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network (“Attorney Network”) – and help protect innocent children victimized or targeted by international parental child abduction (IPCA). Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada are hotbeds for IPCA due to a significant increase in reported and unreported parental kidnapping cases to and from Mexico and remaining Central America. The Department Of State’s recruitment of attorneys in these states is due to the rise in abduction cases, combined with their effort to educate undocumented parents living in the United States who have been victimized by child abduction that they and their abducted children have protective rights under the Hague Convention.

The I CARE Foundation is urging lawyers in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada interested in assisting parents of children who have been internationally abducted or who may be targets of international parental abduction to participate in the Department of State’s “Hague Convention Attorney Network” according to Peter Thomas Senese, a director of the foundation. “In order to prevent child abduction, the reality is lawyers educated on the complex issues of international child abduction need to be mobilized within the Department of State’s attorney network. When this occurs, there will be significant opportunity to educate a less than knowledgeable judiciary who are too often unfamiliar with the complexities typically present in these cases. Additionally, and of equal importance, particularly in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada is the need for undocumented individuals living in the United States to know that if their child is abducted from the United States, they have major recourse under the Hague Convention, and that the Department of State’s Office of Childrens Issues is ready, willing, and able to assist them.

The Office of Children’s Issues in the U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (the “Convention”). The International Child Abduction Remedies Act (“ICARA”), establishes procedures for litigating Convention cases in the U.S. The U.S. Central Authority has numerous functions including facilitating the institution of judicial proceedings in the U.S. “with a view to obtaining the return of the child and, in a proper case, to make arrangements for organizing or securing the effective exercise of rights of access.” In April of 2008, the U.S.Central Authority assumed the responsibility for all incoming cases, and overseeing a network of volunteer attorneys.

The “Attorney Network” provides critical assistance. Lawyers that join the “Attorney Network” are asked to consider taking Hague Convention return and access cases on a pro bono or reduced fee basis. There is never an obligation to take a case, and legal fees and expenses may be recoverable under the Convention’s Article 26 and the implementing statute (42.U.S.C 11607), and under state law when state law remedies are pursued (e.g., UCCJEA). In addition, lawyers with and without Hague experience are welcome to join the Attorney Network, as the Attorney Network offers a host of information and mentor programs. In addition to incoming cases of abduction, attorneys can also represent parents in abduction prevention cases and outgoing abduction cases.

Presently, there are over 1,640 ‘reported’ cases of IPCA originating from the United States according to the last published report issued from the Department of State to Congress. The number of cases has nearly tripled from 2006 to 2009 alone according to a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office’s (“GAO”). According to I CARE, the number of ‘unreported cases’ of IPCA appears to be substantial and at least equal the number and growth rate of ‘reported’ cases.. Many of the ‘unreported’ cases appear to involve immigrants who originate from Central and South American, and Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada (along with California) clearly have a high-volume of incoming and outgoing cases.

Peter Thomas Senese added, “Overall growth rate of IPCA is conservatively estimated to be between 15% – 20% per year, and there could be well over 100,000 children abducted from the United States between 2009 and 2020 if current trends conservatively stay the same.”

As the growing rate of abduction and the shortage of trained attorneys becomes more well known, key media voices in the legal community have recently come to support I CARE’s recruitment campaign for attorneys to join the Department of State’s “Attorney Program.” Aware of the growing crisis in Connecticut, the Connecticut Law Tribune(CLT) recently published an important article concerning this issue.

Patricia M. Lee, a Florida attorney practicing in the area of parental child abduction and a Director of the I CARE Foundation who was interviewed by the CLT states, “I feel privileged to have been a referral attorney for the implementing agency for many years of my private practice. The trauma experienced by victimized children and parents when faced with a child abduction, especially in the international arena, is overwhelming, primarily due to the lack of experienced attorneys, but also, due to the great financial burden, and cultural and language barriers. When they have nowhere else to turn and are so desperate, being able to help these people has been a rewarding experience personally, as well as professionally. It is worth every hour I have spent climbing the learning curve in this little known area of the law. OCI has always been responsive and helpful in the practicalities of dealing with clients living abroad, and the network of mentor attorneys available across the U.S., nothing short of a wealth of information and assistance. My experience in taking these cases has been humbling, to say the least, as I have seen the very best of my profession, which is too often the object of jokes and derision. I would encourage any attorney to join the Attorney Network.”

Joel S. Walter, an lawyer practicing in New York, a member of the I CARE Foundation, and a Director of the Attorney Network said, “As a lawyer practicing complex cases primarily in federal court for over 30 years, it is astonishing to learn of the tragedies children of abduction and their targeted parents face. In joining the Department of State’s “Attorney Network”, I have an opportunity to give back to our community, and make a difference in the life of a child. Participating in the network is not just good lawyering, but it is good citizenship. The I CARE Foundation looks forward to assisting the Department of State by educating other lawyers about the attorney network in hope that they too may participate in this critical program.”

Denise Gunn Garno, a Naples, Florida based lawyer practicing primarily complex family law matters and who is a member of the Department Of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network commented on the significance of lawyers from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada to join the ‘Attorney Network’ when she stated, “Florida’s new CAPA law presents a challenge to attorneys attempting to ensure CAPA is applied in cases wherein children are in imminent danger of abduction. A lack of judicial awareness is extremely detrimental as it puts children’s lives in jeopardy. In order for the State of Florida and our nation to protect our children from abduction, we must not only create abduction prevention laws, but the rules of law must be adhered to. My participation in the Department of State’s Hague Convention Attorney Network will make a difference in the lives of my clients and hopefully the children targeted of this crime from my home state.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, writer of Florida’s CAPA law and a director of I CARE said, “The reality is that laws that have been established to protect children are not followed in part due to an uneducated judiciary. The way to remedy this is to have informed litigators who can make a difference before the courts. Texas, Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona have a high case load and clearly attorneys are needed by the Department of State to join their “Attorney Network.”

An extensive report to be published by I CARE this December puts the cost of IPCA in the United States over the next 10 years at over 1.6 Billion dollars.

If you are a lawyer interested in finding out more about the Hague Convention Attorney Network, please visit http://travel.state.gov/pdf/AttorneyNetworkFlyer.pdf or call 202-501-4444. To learn more about international parental child abduction please visit http://www.travel.state.gov/abduction.

Peter Thomas Senese Along With The I CARE Foundation Launches a Recruitment Campaign Seeking Lawyers to Join The Department of State’s “Hague Convention Attorney Network”

The I CARE Foundation along with Patricia M. Lee, Peter Thomas Senese, Joel S. Walter, and Carolyn Ann Vlk have launced a recruitment campaign seeking lawyers to join the Department of State’s “Hague Convention Attorney Network” and assist children and their parents targeted for international parental child abduction. A common concern amongst the legal and child abduction prevention advocacy community is that the judiciary is not educated about the complex legal issues concerning international parental child abduction. In order to address this growing and harmful concern, the I CARE Foundation has launched its campaign in hope and anticipation that an educated legal community will make a difference in the fight to protect children from abduction.
The following article appeared in the Connecticut Law Tribune and discusses I CARE’s activity.

Wanted: Lawyers Willing To Help Abducted Children
By CHRISTIAN NOLAN – Staff Writer For The Connecticut Law Tribune
Non-profit group seeks help enforcing provisions of international treaty

Imagine how helpless any parent would feel if his or her child were abducted by an estranged spouse. Now think about how much more horrifying it would be if the child was whisked away to another country.
A recent study estimated that between 2009 and 2020, there will be more than 50,000 reports of children involved in custody arrangements being smuggled out of the U.S. The study goes on to say that the number of unreported cases will likely equal or exceed the reported total.

What can the other parent do to try to get their child back? Hiring a lawyer might help.

But few attorneys are trained to do this sort of work. That’s why a non-profit group called the I CARE Foundation is on the recruiting trail.

An agency spokeswoman said Connecticut is among the places where volunteer attorneys are needed because “a large international migratory population” lives in the state. Other “hotbed” states include New York, New Jersey, Texas and California.

“The statistical increase in abduction will continue to rise due to multi-cultural relationships and as individuals embrace global citizenship,” said I Care’s Maria Gina. “Many individuals who originate from a foreign country and see their marriage or partnership end typically seek to return back to their country of origin. If there is a child involved, they often attempt to take the child with them without court order.”

Gina said “there are simply not enough lawyers familiar with the [legal] issues, and this is true in Connecticut.”



I CARE Foundation Director
Patricia M. Lee

 One lawyer who specializes in these kinds of cases spoke of the difficulty in finding an attorney to handle these complex cases. “You get a call out of the blue to help someone for free or for very little money. Would you be willing to take on a case you know very little about?” said Patricia Lee, a Florida attorney. “Very few attorneys know how to do it… I think of the experienced attorneys that I’ve spoken to, it may be they’ve had an issue arise in their family law practice once in a lifetime.”

International Treaty

The cases often fall under the jurisdiction of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The international treaty, signed in the early 1980s, has provisions for punishing the kidnapping parents and returning children to the pre-abduction status quo.

In 2008, the Office of Children’s Issues in the U.S. State Department assumed responsibility for all new cases, and for overseeing a network of volunteer attorneys. The government partnered with the I CARE Foundation to recruit lawyers willing to be trained to become part of the Hague Convention Attorney Network.

Lee was one of the early enlistees. In one of her memorable cases — a child abducted in Europe had been brought to the U.S.

A Belgian man had married an American woman. They had a child, and then the relationship deteriorated. The wife’s mother lived in Florida; on a visit there with the child, the woman decided to get a divorce and stay.

After federal officials found the woman, Lee was contacted. She filed a Hague petition, which can be done in federal or state court. Lee recommends state court, because there is usually less delay. “We had a trial relatively quickly and the judge ruled that the child had to be returned to Belgium,” Lee said.

Back in Europe, the couple went ahead with a divorce, and the woman and child were eventually allowed to move to the U.S. But the father was guaranteed parental and visitation rights.

In most cases, Lee said, the fleeing parent claims to be a victim of domestic violence. That is not a legitimate excuse for abducting a child. “The Hague Convention assumes the signatories have laws in place to address domestic violence so persons victimized should avail themselves to the laws in the country they live,” said Lee.

Lee warned that the longer a parent waits to try to track down the estranged spouse and to file a Hague petition, the tougher it is to regain custody. She said the defense is allowed to present evidence that it is in the child’s best interest to remain in the foreign country if the child is well settled into his or her new environment.

Lee had one client who learned the hard way. A U.S. male married a German national who fled back to her homeland with the kids. She filed for divorce there. Meanwhile, the man had hired a family attorney unfamiliar with the Hague Convention who simply initiated divorce proceedings in the U.S.

Eventually Lee, who speaks German, became involved when she was asked to translate legal documents. More than a year had gone by and a German court gave the woman sole custody. She had told the German court the father was an abuser who neglected his family. She also had time to convince the children of this, too.

Ultimately the father couldn’t afford to pay attorneys in both the U.S. and Germany and the cost of repeated air travel between the two nations. So he gave up his attempt to regain custody. “Basically, he lost the kids,” said Lee. “It’s a very sad story, but it’s not unique. That happens all the time.”

Lawyers interested in finding out more about the Hague Convention Attorney Network should visit http://www.travel.state.gov/childabduction and click “For Attorneys & Judges;” contact HagueConventionAttorneyNetwork@state.gov; or call 202-501-4444.

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.”