Vietnam plans to join The Hague Convention


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VN prepares to join Hague Convention 1980

The PM has approved the preparation plan for joining the Hague Convention 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in the 2018-2021 period. 

Accordingly, from 2018-2020, the Ministry of Justice will review and evaluate the suitability between regulations of the Convention and Viet Nam’s laws, thus amending, supplementing and issuing new relevant legal documents and review regulations of the Convention with related international treaties Viet Nam has joined as a member.

The ministry will set up documents introducing the Convention and introduce the Convention to relevant objects, train and improve capacity of staffs and agencies in charge of the Convention.

By 2021, the ministry summits to the Government on the participation of the Convention.

The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

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Parents who abduct children to foreign land may be jailed


October 18, 2016

Source: newindianexpress.com

NEW DELHI: Parents who forcibly take their children to a foreign land following a marital discord can be jailed for a year, if Law Commission has its way.

abducted_india

In a proposed draft law on ‘parental abduction’, the Commission, which advises the government on legal reform, has said, “When such a kind of diverse family unit breaks down, children (sometimes babies) suffer, as they are dragged into international legal battle between their parents”.

The panel, which had already examined the issue of parental adbuction in 2009, has rewritten the draft bill prepared by the Women and Child Development Ministry after the Punjab and Haryana High Court in February asked it to examine “multiple issues involved in inter-country, inter-parental child removal amongst families”.

Inter-spousal child removal, it noted, can be termed as most unfortunate as the children are abducted by their own parents to India or to other foreign jurisdiction in violation of court orders.

The law panel said whoever wrongfully removes or retains a child either himself or through other person from the custody of a parent can be imprisoned for a term which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to Rs 10,000 or with both.

For those who wilfully misrepresent facts or conceal information related to the location of the child will be guilty of an offence punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to Rs 5,000 or with both, it has recommended.

The draft bill has also proposed setting up of a central authority to discover the whereabouts of a child who has been wrongfully removed. It will also prevent further harm to any such child and secure his or her voluntary return to the habitual residence.

It said the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980, came into force on December 1, 1983 and it would be necessary to implement it in so far as they relate to an expeditious return of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained in violation of the custody rights or access rights.

“In such an eventuality, the child is taken to a state with a different legal system, culture and language. The child loses contact with the other parent and is transplanted in an entirely different society having different traditions and norms of life,” the report submitted to the government today said. More than three crore Indians live in foreign countries, having cross-border matrimonial relationships.

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How to protect your children from being kidnapped


October 6, 2016

Source: http://krugersdorpnews.co.za

“I have found missing children in brothels, dead and drugged.”

In light of the rise in the number of missing children cases in Krugersdorp, the most recent being that of Dineo Mokoena, a Monument High school pupil who went missing near the school, child safety must become a priority.

Trafficking.jpg

It is impossible to prevent an abduction, but there is no harm in being informed and prepared should something happen. The News spoke to Jacqui Thomas, the Director of the Pink Ladies Missing Children Organisation.

“Most true abductions occur when victims are 14 or younger and unable to defend themselves,” Jacqui told the News. She went on to say that female children are more likely to be abducted although there are many instances where male children are taken for sexual purposes as well.

The main differences between the crimes of kidnapping and abduction:

The victim in a kidnapping can be an adult or a child, but for the crime to be classified as abduction, the victim has to be a minor.

A kidnapper’s intention is to limit either the victim’s freedom of movement or the parental authority of the victim’s custodians. In the crime of abduction, the perpetrator has an additional intention, namely for himself or someone else to marry or have sexual intercourse with the minor.

A person can be kidnapped without being physically removed from one place to another, but in an abduction the physical removal of the victim from the parental authority in the parental home is a requirement.

stop-child_-trafficking

Jacqui went on to say: “If someone attempts to forcefully remove a child or young adult, the victim should stop, drop, kick and scream to make it as difficult to remove them as possible. We teach people to to attract as much attention as they can.” She advises parents to teach their children to scream, “I don’t know you, I don’t want to go with you, you are not my mother/ father/ grandmother (etc),” when they are in danger of being kidnapped.

“Anywhere children are left unattended can become a problem area in terms of kidnapping. Places like shopping malls and gaming centres are problematic.

Even under-supervised, unsecured residential gardens can become places from which children are easily kidnapped. Similarly, and for obvious reasons, any place where there is a high concentration of adults, alcohol and drug use along with unattended children or young adults there will be a high instance of sex crimes against children as well,” Jacqui told the News.

Colonel Van Staden, the investigating officer in the case of the missing Dineo Mokoena, said that in some cases, teenagers run away and are then reported as missing.

“The more beautiful the child, the more they are victims. I have found missing children in brothels, dead and drugged,” Van Staden said.

She says that it is important to scare children away from the streets so that they don’t get tempted to run away, and end up being reported missing.

“Cases of missing children increase in the summer – some genuinely go missing while some run away, but because they didn’t alert anyone, they are reported as missing,” she told the News.

Van Staden advises the public to take heed of the following:

Know who your children’s friends are. Have their names and contact details handy, so that if your child goes missing, you can answer one of the first questions the police will ask, namely, “Who are your child’s friends?”

Keep track of your children’s behaviour because 90 per cent of the time their behaviour will have changed shortly before they went missing.

Watch out for signs of drug abuse, because some of these children don’t go missing – they run away with other drug-using friends

Children are very unlikely to run away without taking extra clothing with them. They often pack a bag of clothing before leaving, so be aware of where their clothes are at all times.

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Bill to curb parental abduction


August 14, 2016

Source: www.telegraphindia.com

One day two years ago, my wife left for India taking our two-year-old son. I’m now fighting a long court battle for custody in India.

– A US-based Indian father to The Telegraph

Cheerful Rural Indian Children

Cheerful Rural Indian Children

New Delhi, July 29: A bill the government is drafting makes it an offence for a parent to take her child away from his overseas home without her spouse’s consent and retain him in India without custody rights.

After the bill is passed, a parent accused of such “abduction” will not be able to get an Indian court to grant her custody of the child. Instead, the child will be sent back to his home abroad.

For years, the US and several other countries had prodded India to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980, which requires child custody cases to be adjudicated in the country of the child’s “habitual residence”.

New Delhi had resisted, saying such a law would force abused Indian wives abroad to stay on in such relationships rather than flee.

Officials in the women and child development ministry said the proposed bill, whose draft has been sent to related ministries for their opinion, would try to treat such abused women with sympathy.

Although India has not signed the Hague Convention, the UN Convention on Child Rights, which it has signed, says child abduction in any form must be prevented.

“In the absence of a domestic law so far, a parent who managed to get the child to India got the child’s custody,” a ministry official said.

The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016, applies to children under 16 who have been “wrongfully removed to or retained in other State (country) which is not his/her habitual residence”.

It mandates the formation of a central authority, with the powers of a civil court, with which complaints can be lodged in lieu of a court and which can decide all such cases.

“The law will not say which parent should have custody. It will return the child if he has been found to be wrongfully brought and retained in India. Then legal proceedings in that country will continue,” the official said.

The bill will not provide penal provisions against the parent found to have abducted the child. But the errant parent must bear the expenses incurred by the central authority to locate the child, the legal costs of the litigating parent, and the expenditures in returning the child.

The ministry had been in undated with complaints from Indian fathers and mothers based abroad whose spouses had brought their children to India by force or without their knowledge.

Recently, a petition begun by Bring Our Kids Home, or BOKH — a coalition of such parents in the US — requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama to sign a bilateral agreement on the subject.

BOKH says India is among the top five countries for international parent-child abductions, with 173 such kidnappings between 2010 and 2014.

The draft of the bill was prepared after Punjab and Haryana High Court asked the ministry and the Law Commission to examine the issue. The law panel recommended that India frame a domestic law and sign the Hague Convention.

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The International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act – ICAPRA


July 12, 2016

Source: https://travel.state.gov/

The International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA), signed into law on August 8, 2014, contains provisions that increase the Department’s annual reporting requirements.

International-Child-Abduction-US

Each year, the Department will submit an Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction to Congress by April 30. By July 30, the Department will submit a report to Congress on the actions taken towards those countries determined to have been engaged in a pattern of noncompliance in the Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction.

Prior to 2015, as formerly required under 42 U.S.C § 11611, the Department published an annual report on countries that did not comply with their treaty obligations under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction (“Convention”).  This “compliance report” identified countries that were “Not Compliant with the Convention” and countries that showed “Patterns of Noncompliance with the Convention”. The report listed cases that remained open and active for 18 months or more after the Convention application was filed. The report also listed countries with Convention enforcement concerns.

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Nine Network’s botched child abduction story in Lebanon


June 30, 2016

Source: The Australian

The costs of the Nine Network’s disastrous child abduction story in Lebanon continue to escalate, with the network transferring more than $500,000 to its Lebanese legal team last week.

Ali -Elamine-Sally Faulkner

With jailed child recovery agent Adam Whittington and his team of three fixers due back in court as early as today, The Australian has obtained fresh detail about the skyrocketing costs ­associated with the botched operation. It is understood Nine transferred $US400,000 to its Lebanese lawyers on June 24.

The transfer, coupled with earlier payments, put the network’s costs well over $US2 million in legal fees alone.

The payments, which Nine has been at pains to say have been to cover the network’s legal fees, and not to bribe officials, came as the Lebanese judge presiding over the case was expected to make a decision on whether to press ahead with criminal charges against the Nine crew, who were arrested over the failed ­abduction of Lahela and Noah Faulkner, children of Brisbane woman Sally Faulkner.

Faulkner-Tara-Lebanon

Nine’s reporter Tara Brown, cameraman Ben Williamson, sound recordist David Bailment and producer Stephen Rice, as well as Ms Faulkner, have been on bail since April 22 when the father of the children, Ali Elamine, dropped his personal charges after Nine paid $US500,000. Since then there has been great uncertainty about the fate of Mr Whittington and his crew who, unlike Ms Faulkner, a jilted mother, command no public sympathy in Lebanon.

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Angie Vu is being extradited to France to face parental kidnapping charges


June 24, 2016

Source: Daily Mail

Angie Vu to be extradited to France: ‘Ample evidence’ to send Asia’s sexiest DJ to Paris to face parental kidnapping charges, says judge.

Angie-Vu-Clinton

A former Playboy Playmate and ‘Asia’s sexiest DJ’ is to be extradited to Paris to face parental kidnapping charges after a seven month stint in a Brooklyn jail.

Angie Vu, 33, has been locked up after allegedly trying to flee the U.S. with her nine-year-old daughter, who was supposed to be in the custody of her father.

Federal Judge Frederic Block said there was ‘ample evidence’ that Vu had knowingly violated a French family court decree that required her nine-year-old daughter to be in the care of her biological father, who has custody of the child.

The day before her hearing, Vu had appeared before the judge for oral argument, an opportunity she told the New York Daily News was ‘overwhelming’.

But the judge cut her off just minutes in and advised her that her argument for custody of her daughter should be heard by French authorities.

Vietnamese Vu was jailed in November after allegedly trying to fly from John F. Kennedy Airport to China with her daughter Isabella. 

Isabella’s father, Richard Froger, is based in France and has custody of the girl but agreed to allow her to stay with Vu until August 29, but Vu is accused of breaking that agreement by boarding the plane.

Angie-Vu-Daughter

During her time spent in jail, Vu claimed that she had been ‘tortured’, calling the lack of a full-length mirror ‘cruel’ and branding prison life ‘horrible’.

‘This place is so horrible, there’s no sunlight ever. I have been under the harsh light 24/7 and turned pale,’ Vu told the New York Daily News.

‘I need a good supply of Guerlain’s moisturizer in here. I miss my Versace dresses and Louboutin heels. My nails are nicely trimmed but I’m dying to have some colors on them. The torture is real.

‘There’s no real mirror in prison. We all buy this tiny piece of plastic, but the images are distorted. I wish there should be at least one full-length mirror in here. I haven’t looked at myself for months. It’s cruel.’

Vu, who has previously said she has had to repeatedly turn down the advances of lesbian inmates, said being jailed had taken a huge toll on her life.

‘[I’ve gone] From extremely proud and confident getting naked for Playboy to shaking, sobbing in humiliation to do hundreds of strip search for contraband,’ she said.

‘Last year became the dark year of my life. I had abandoned my jobs, my fans and pushed away all other fabulous hungry men and all the young sexy model boys that were chasing me.

‘I’m not supposed to be worried about anything. It gives me wrinkles.’

Vu said her legions of fans have sent in a huge haul of gifts, from teddy bears to flowers and even lingerie, but it has all been returned because it is contraband.

Despite her less than luxurious existence, she vowed to continue her legal fight.

‘Do I feel ashamed for being here? The answer is no,’ Vu said.

‘I’m here for a great cause, for protecting my child. This injustice won’t crash my spirit. I’m still rocking and rolling.’

Angie Vu HA DJ

Vu maintains that the Family Court in Paris made a mistake when it awarded custody of their nine-year-old daughter to her biological father.

A judge ruled she should be extradited to France to face the parental kidnapping charges, but she appealed the decision, delaying proceedings until her appeal can be heard.

The lawsuit she filed portrays Mr Froger as a reluctant father who played no part in his daughter’s life until she was seven years old and refused to even acknowledge her until she was five.

The suit, seen by the Daily News, features emails written by Froger after the couple’s fling in which he outright says: ‘I never wanted to have a baby with you.’

‘I still remember when I asked you if you used contraception pills!!!’ Froger is alleged to have written in 2006. ‘So you lied me and I don’t feel guilty about nothing.’

Vu replied: ‘I was sad when i read your email before but now I think its ridiculous that you think I have to use a baby to trick you.

‘First, I’m not the kind of women who r ugly, stupid or uneducated that I cannot get a man.

‘I thought you were a handsome kind gentleman that I had feelings for even though I didn’t expect anything from you as I wrote.’

Vu, who is also a DJ and has appeared on America’s Got Talent, was being held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn in an open dormitory with about 100 other female inmates.

She is being held without bail as she is considered a flight risk.

In February she told the Daily News that prison was not as bad as she expected, although the food was disappointing and she kept having to turn down advances from lesbian inmates.

‘A lot of lesbians around here and a few blondies are hitting on me,’ Vu told the paper. ‘But I prefer to read my Bible for now.’

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Parental Abduction Turns Violent


March 26, 2016

Source: http://alpenhornnews.com

The Sheriff’s Department is requesting the public assistance in locating a six-month-old infant, the child’s biological mother and the maternal grandmother after an unscheduled visitation turned violent on Thursday.

Re_Kidnap_Recovery_Abducted

In a statement to The Alpenhorn News by a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson, it was reported that Diana Cox, 30, resident of Crestline, and her mother, Isabel Scheif, 61, resident of Rancho Cucamonga, allegedly forced their way into the residence of the paternal grandmother in the 23000 block of Zurich Drive, Crestline. After forcing their way into the residence, the paternal grandmother, who was babysitting at the time, was assaulted and a six-month-old infant was forcibly removed from the home.

The Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told The Alpenhorn News that Cox and the infant’s father are currently separated and in a custody dispute. The Sheriff’s Department spokesperson said a custody hearing is pending but did not release the date. The Sheriff’s Department reported that currently, there is no court order to determine who has custody of the infant and the only information released was that the father had custody pending the hearing.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. on May 10, Cox and Schleif were alleged to have arrived at the assault victim’s residence on Zurich Drive, Crestline, with Schleif reportedly knocking on the door. When a visiting family friend answered the knock, Schleif reportedly made a request that they wanted to visit the infant. The witness reportedly refused, stating that he did not know who they were, but that he would summon the grandmother for them. The two suspects waited outside while the witness walked downstairs to summon the paternal grandmother, and then stayed with the infant while the victim went to the front door.

When Cox and Schleif made their request to visit, the victim said she did not think it was a good idea at this time, since a custody hearing was approaching. Cox is alleged to have rushed inside the residence and started to assault the 63-year-old disabled woman, threw her to the floor and then continued into the house. While Cox ran downstairs, Schleif is alleged to have forcibly held the disabled victim down on the floor.

According to the witness, Cox rushed into the bedroom where the infant was laying in a crib, pushed the startled witness out of the way, grabbed the infant and ran back upstairs. According to the female victim, the two suspects ran from the residence, jumped into Cox’s vehicle and, with Cox allegedly driving and holding the unrestrained infant in her lap, left at a high rate of speed, reportedly running stop signs as they left.

The Sheriff’s Department spokesperson told The Alpenhorn News that the disabled female victim sustained bruises, scratches and contusions during the assault.

As of The Alpenhorn News’ press deadline, the suspects have not been located. The Sheriff’s Department reported that they have obtained arrest warrants for both Cox and Schleif, charging violation of California Penal Code (PC) Section 278.5, (child abduction), violation of PC Section 273a(a), (willfully placing a child in circumstances that endanger their person or health is endangered) and violation of PC Section 236, (unlawful imprisonment). While the exact bail of the warrant was not released, according to the San Bernardino County Uniform Bail Schedule, bail appears to be $100,000.

The Sheriff’s Department requested that the photographs of the two suspects be published to aid in the public’s assistance in locating the two suspects, but as of The Alpenhorn News’ press deadline, those photographs have not been received. The Sheriff’s Department did report that Cox’s vehicle is described as a black 2001 Jeep Cherokee with a California License of 4UQW913.

The Sheriff’s Department cautions anyone who encounters either of the two suspects not to approach the suspects if seen, but to call the Sheriff’s Department or 911. Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Cox, Schleif or the six-month-old infant, is urged to contact the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Station at (909) 336-0600. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

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Kansas – Two Arrested, Charged in Parental Kidnapping


March 8, 2016

Source: ozarksfirst.com

NEVADA, Mo. — A 20-month-old child is back with family in Kansas after a parental kidnapping that ended in southwest Missouri Monday. 

Erin-Jordan-Houghton

The kidnapping happened across the state line in Kansas, where authorities put out a public notice describing the car involved.

Vernon County Sheriff Jason Mosher says someone from the public spotted the car in his county and called deputies.

Deputies tried to pull the car over on Highway 54.  It eventually turned into a dead end and the two people inside were arrested.

Warrants have been issued by Kansas authorities charging Jordan Q. Houghton of Frontenac, Kan. with kidnapping; Interfere with governmental or political function and Erin Houghton of Frontenac, Kan. with attempting kidnapping; Interfere with governmental or political function.

The 20-month-old child was unharmed and turned over to Kansas authorities, Mosher said.

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April Jones’ parents back campaign aimed at improving chances of rescuing abducted children


February 10, 2016

Source: walesonline.co.uk

The parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones travelled to Cardiff to back the ‘Amber Alert’ campaign.

April-Coral-Paul-Jones

Coral and Paul Jones (left), the parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones (right), are backing a campaign which aims to improve the chances of rescuing abducted children before they are harmed.

The parents of murdered schoolgirl April Jones have travelled to Cardiff to back a campaign aimed at improving the chances of rescuing abducted children before they are harmed.

Five-year-old April was snatched as she was playing near her home in Machynlleth and murdered by paedophile Mark Bridger, who is now serving a life sentence.

Coral and Paul Jones spoke at an event in the Wales Millennium Centre also attended by Wales MEP Kay Swinburne, who leads a cross-party group at the European Parliament which encourages groups and individuals to register with the Amber Alert network.

In the UK the network is known as Child Rescue Alert: it exists to spread details of missing children who are in danger as quickly as possible via mobile phones, apps, social media and business networks, as well as traditional news outlets.

‘Every second counts’

Coral said: “April went missing in 2012 and an alert was sent out then.

“It means a lot to me – they helped me out and I’d like other people to be helped as well.

“Even if it gets one child back home, so one family doesn’t have to go through what we went through, it’s worth it.”

Paul said: “Every second counts in a situation where a child has gone missing – it’s very important that as many people sign up as possible to this scheme.”

Coral is now campaigning for April’s Law, which would increase sentences for those convicted of sex crimes, ensured they were always on a register and that crucial members of the community, including teachers, were made aware when paedophiles moved into an area.

A chilling statistic from the United States has suggested that 76% of abducted children are murdered within three hours of being abducted.

Kay-Swinburne

‘The more people sign up, the more effective it’s going to be’

Dr Swinburne said: “Launching the campaign at the European Parliament in May last year was very valuable in that it encouraged different countries to talk together about making their alert systems more compatible with each others.

“But I think it’s important to step up the campaign in Wales, which is why we’re meeting in Cardiff Bay to encourage AMs to spread the word to their constituents.”

Tim Burton, deputy police and crime commissioner for Dyfed-Powys, said: “This is a great initiative, and one that has particular resonance in our police area, which is where April’s family live.

April-Jones-Wales

“After the elections in May, it’s something that can be taken forward by all four incoming commissioners in Wales.”

Susanna Drury, director of policy and development for Missing People, one of the partner organisations involved in the project, said: “Our role is to get as many people as possible to sign up for Child Rescue Alert.

“The more people sign up, the more effective it’s going to be, and the more chance we’ve got of finding a child who is in danger.

Related: She was brutally murdered by a local man I’d said hello to when I passed him in the street’ April Jones’ sister describes how killer Mark Bridger destroyed her family

‘It’s a very quick and efficient system’

“Our other role is actually activating the alerts.

“On the police’s request, or on a request from the National Crime Agency, an alert will be issued by our team within minutes.

“It’s a very quick and efficient system, and we can get the message out either nationally or locally, or anything in between – whatever the police force thinks appropriate for that particular situation.”

At present around 300,000 people have signed up across the UK – and a range of partnerships with organisations like Facebook extends the reach even further.

People and organisations can sign up by visiting www.childrescuealert.org.uk .