Help reunite families destroyed by parental abduction


July 6, 2012

Source: yourhustonnews.com

As our nation grapples with important issues involving a weak economy and out of control spending, there is one troubling concern that hits closer to home: the growing number of child abductions by non-custodial parents. These kidnappings are devastating and occur too frequently, but they can be solved with help from the public.

Bianca Lozano, a girl who has not seen her own mother in sixteen years, turns 18 years old on August 19th. Bianca was kidnapped during a weekend visit by her non-custodial father, Juan Antonio Lozano, when she was only 18 months old. Evidence indicates that Juan Antonio Lozano originally fled to Mexico after taking Bianca from her mother.

Her mother, Deana Herbert, has spent the last 16 years searching for a single clue about the safety and well-being of Bianca. She continues to work with federal, state and local law enforcement, Harris County officials, the State Department, the Texas Attorney General’s office, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI and Crime Stoppers in Houston to locate her daughter.

This tragedy was brought to my attention shortly after I took office. We have consistently worked to encourage community awareness and to keep pressure on law enforcement to be diligent in solving this case. The communities both in the US and Mexico can help law enforcement with tips or any information they may have concerning Bianca’s whereabouts.

I urge the public to be aware of this tragedy and to aid in our efforts to find Bianca and other children like her. I am counting on the good nature of all Americans to think carefully if you have seen this girl or her father and to let authorities or my office know if you have any information about Bianca’s whereabouts.

Last year, at least 1,500 children were unlawfully taken to foreign countries by a parent who had been living in the United States. Only 578 of those children were returned home.Roughly one third of the abducted children ended up in Mexico because of the parent’s ties to extended family or because of Mexico’s proximity. Unfortunately, international parental abductions are growing rapidly, which makes finding these kidnapped children all the more difficult.

Five minutes is too long for a mother to go without knowing the whereabouts of her child. Sixteen years is unbearable. I implore the good people of Texas and Mexico to come forward with any information.

As the father of two wonderful children, I can only imagine the heartbreak Deana has felt over the past 16 years, missing her daughter’s milestone moments. We have tried to work with the State Department on this matter but time is running out. Due to the International agreement of the Hague Act and Bianca’s 18th birthday, the State Department is very limited in what they can do moving forward to help this family. That is why I am asking for the public’s help to look carefully and help connect this girl with her mother.

Bianca, now 18, has a light-brown, semi-oval-shaped birthmark on her right shoulder blade. At the time of her disappearance she had pierced ears. If anyone has any information about her location, please contact the FBI or local law enforcement. Bianca Lozano deserves to know that she has a mother in Texas who loves her very much and wants to know she is safe.

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935% rise in child kidnapping / Abductions in 15 years


Source: TheSundayGuardian

While there is much hoopla about increasing crime rate in general, a report by a Delhi-based NGO, published last week reveals that kidnapping and abduction of children have increased by 935% in the last 15 years.

According to Twenty Years of CRC: A Balance Sheet, a study by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights that analysed the 2009 report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of reported cases on kidnapping of children in India increased from 894 in 1994 to 8,945 in 2009. These numbers are even more disturbing when you consider that NCRB takes only the First Information Report (FIR) and not the Daily Dairy (DD) entries.

So is there an increase in the actual crime rate? Or is it that more people are reporting them now? A bit of both, but the latter is more likely, says Amod Kanth, chairman of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights. “In the 1990s, other than murders, not many reported a missing child. So, if a kid was kidnapped, unless he/she is from an affluent or rich family and the case got media attention, it was never reported. That’s why most cases end up as DD entries,” he explains.

“In 2008-2009, for instance, the NCRB reported that 2,982 kids went missing in Delhi, out of which 368 were found. In about a few months, due to my commission’s insistence, an investigation was conducted in each missing case and we recovered 1,700 kids. Many of those cases were converted from a missing report to kidnapping. The courts (HC and SC) insist that missing cases have to be registered as kidnapping but it is done only if the family or parents of the child raise the issue,” he adds.

There is also another problem. Policemen are often accused of being lackadaisical in their preliminary investigation of DD entries. “An FIR is filed only after the police verify the facts of the DD entry. Most of the time, they do a hotch-potch job and close the case saying they didn’t find any credible evidence to pursue it,” says Bharti Ali, co-director of the Delhi-based NGO.

Kanth concurs and adds that registration creates accountability. “Senior policemen rarely sidestep child kidnapping cases. If there is a lapse, it is only because the system is obsessed with curbing crime through numbers,” he retorts. “If a senior officer files an FIR, it adds a number to the crime rate and that’s never a good sign. When number of crimes has increased, the legal system, senior bureaucrats that policemen report to and even the media hype the numbers, without understanding how the system works. Finally, the law enforcement agencies look like culprits.”

Ali also blames the infighting between courts and commission. “They argue about who is in-charge of the case and hardly interact. For instance, when the government locates child labourers, they’re sent home without producing them to the Child Welfare Committee. How can we track them?”

Moreover, when children from rich or affluent families are kidnapped, often the accused is known to the family. “If there’s demand for money, most families pay the ransom and don’t report the case. Their only concern is safety of the child, which is understandable but on the downside, the criminals remain unidentified,” adds Ali.

Poor kids are kidnapped often for trafficking, labour, marriage, begging, slavery, prostitution, etc. “I guarantee that out of the 8,945 cases in the report, at least three-fourth hail from the poorer sections of the society. Considering how time-consuming and expensive the legal system is, it’s hardly surprising that poor families rarely report a missing child,” she avers.

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One key to ABP World Group`s successful recovery and re-unification of your loved one is to use all necessary means available

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NOTE: We are always available, also during The Christmas holidays. Christmas is the high season for parental abductions.

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443
UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –

Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

Bermuda on Congressman’s hit list over child abduction treaty


July 9, 2011 – Source: The Royal Gazette

Bermuda is among the countries that need to be punished for harbouring children kidnapped from the US, according to Congressman Chris Smith.

The Republican has named and shamed the Island as one of about 20 countries failing to abide by an international child abduction treaty.

Mr Smith, who represents New Jersey, said more than 2,400 American children were wrongly being held overseas, calling it a “deeply troubling and growing problem.”

He told the US Congress that Bermuda had carried out a “serious human rights violation” by failing to quickly return abducted children who had been unlawfully removed by one parent. The international treaty states that abducted children should be returned within six weeks for custody hearings as the courts in the country where the child was living have better access to the appropriate evidence and witnesses.

In light of this, Mr Smith is pushing to pass the International Child Abduction Prevention Act bill through Congress to secure the return of abducted children and penalise non-cooperating countries by withholding US financial aid and other assets.

Mr Smith said “the return rates of American children are still devastatingly low” even though more than 80 countries had signed The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

In 2010, 978 children were abducted to Hague Convention signatory countries with only 350 children or 38 percent returned.

Mr Smith, chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees international human rights, said the US would not tolerate child abduction or have patience with countries “that hide abductors behind The Hague Convention.”

The report states that: “Bermuda demonstrated patterns of noncompliance in the areas of central authority performance and judicial performance.”

It questions Bermuda’s application of the Convention when the taking party is not a parent, the challenges in bringing a Convention case to court when the Central Authority is also responsible for representing the state in court for child abuse cases and some courts’ failure to prohibit consideration of the merits of custody in domestic proceedings while a Hague application is pending.

The report details a June 2010 case when the Bermudian Central Authority wrongly said that because the taking person was an aunt and not a parent, the Convention would not apply. The family court then proceeded with a custody hearing and granted the aunt “full care, control and custody” of the child despite the pending Hague application.

The report states: “In November 2010, Bermuda appointed a new Attorney General (Michael Scott) who has expressed his commitment to ensuring that Bermuda is compliant with the Convention.

“At his urging, the court in the above case scheduled a hearing on The Hague application, but the left-behind parent (LBP) withdrew the application just days before the hearing, citing a lack of legal representation and a voluntary agreement with the taking aunt.”

The emotional federal hearing debate, which took place on May 24, included speeches from the parents of children abducted from America.

Mr Smith said international abduction was “a global human rights abuse” that harms children and inflicts emotional pain and suffering on the left-behind parents and families.

He said: “International child abduction rips children from their homes and lives, taking them to a foreign land and alienating them from a left- behind parent who loves them and who they have a right to know.

“Their childhood is disrupted, in limbo, or sometimes in hiding as the taking parent seeks to avoid the law or to conjure legal cover for their immoral actions.

“Abducted children often lose their relationship with their mom or their dad, half of their identity and half of their culture.”

Attorney General Michael Scott and Youth Affairs and Families Minister Glenn Blakeney did not respond to requests for comment.

The US State Department’s 2010 Hague Convention compliance report highlights Argentina, Australia, Austria, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Israel, Mexico, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey for failing to enforce return orders.

It also states that Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Honduras, Mexico, the Bahamas and Saint Kitts are among countries failing to abide by The Hague Convention, by not ensuring swift enforcement of convention orders.

He said: “The convention creates a civil framework for the quick return of children who have been abducted and for rights of access to both parents.

“Under the convention, courts are not supposed to open or reopen custody determinations, but rather decide the child’s country of habitual residence, usually where a child was living for a year before the abduction.

“Absent extenuating circumstances, the child is to be returned within six weeks to their habitual residence, for the courts there to decide on custody or to reverse any previous custody determinations.”

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