International Parental Child Abduction from the U.S.: Reuniting with your child


Source: divorcelawyerconnecticut

Reuniting with Your Child

Reuniting with your child can be a powerful and emotional event, especially if the reunification takes place after a prolonged period of time. You and your child will no doubt be experiencing a wide range of emotions around this important occasion. Your case officer can provide you advice about reunification, and can help coordinateU.S.and foreign government authorities’ involvement.

 

Reunification Resources

  • Reunification Funds – The financial costs of reunification to left-behind parents can be substantial. The Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) has established a fund called The Federal Crime Victim Assistance Fund. When no other resources are available, this fund has at times been used to assist left-behind parents with travel costs associated with reunification. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children administers the OVC funds for left-behind parents. To learn about whether you might qualify for such assistance, contact your case officer.

Reunification Counselors– Many left-behind parents find it helpful to use the services of a reunification counselor to help guide them through the process. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children maintains a list of reunification counselors. If you think you might benefit from their assistance, ask NCMEC to put you in touch with one of these experts.

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Review of Hague Abduction and Child Protection Conventions


Source: the Hague Conference on Private International Law

The Hague Conference on Private International Law is to convene Part II of the Sixth Special Commission Meeting to review the practical operation of the 1980 Hague Child Abduction Convention and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention from 25th to 31st January 2012. 

The Child Abduction Convention applies typically where one parent has moved a child abroad without the consent of the other parent and without the permission of a court. In such a case, the “left behind” parent may apply through the Hague system for the prompt return of the child.

The Hague Child Protection Convention provides for co-operation among States Parties on a wide range of cross-border child protection matters, e.g., parental disputes over contact with children, the protection of runaway children and cross-border care.

The Special Commission programme includes, among other things, presentations and discussions on:

  • the enforcement of mediated agreements:
  • grave risk of harm defence in return proceedings;
  • international family relocation; and
  • the future of the Malta Process, a dialogue between senior judges and high ranking government officials from Contracting States to the 1980 and 1996 Conventions and non-Contracting States with Sharia based law. The Process is aimed at improving State co-operation in order to assist with resolving difficult cross-border family law disputes in situations where the relevant international legal framework is not applicable.
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What Is The Hague Abduction Convention?


Source / By Jermey Morley

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty signed by more than eighty countries.

-It provides that a child who is taken to or retained in a foreign country without the consent of a person with “rights of custody” over the child under the law of the child’s “habitual residence” must be returned to the habitual residence unless one of six exceptions applies.

Hague Convention Member Countries

What is ICARA?
In the United States the Convention is integrated into law by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, known as “ICARA.” That law gives state and federal courts concurrent jurisdiction to handle Hague cases. The law also provides the burdens of proof that govern the conduct of Hague trials. In addition, the law provides that if a petition is successful the parent who has taken a child away from its habitual residence must pay the legal fees and travel expenses of the petitioning parent.

The Purpose of the Hague Convention
The U.S. Supreme Court has stated that the purpose of the Convention is “to prevent harms resulting from abductions” which “can have devastating consequences for a child” and may be “one of the worst forms of child abuse” which “can cause psychological problems ranging from depression and acute stress disorder to post traumatic stress disorder and identity formation issues” and lead to a child’s experiencing “loss of community and stability, leading to loneliness, anger, and fear of abandonment” and “may prevent the child from forming a relationship with the left behind parent, impairing the child’s ability to mature.”

The Key Terms in the Hague Convention

1. “Right of Custody” in the Hague Convention

A petitioner in a Hague case must establish that he or she had a “right of custody” over the child under the law of the child’s habitual residence.. This does not require that there must have been a custody order in place before the child was taken. It means that the law in question gave certain rights to the petitioner which are sufficient to constitute a custody right. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a parent’s right to prevent international travel, known as a ne exeat right, is a “right of custody” within the meaning of the Convention.

2. “Habitual Residence” in the Hague Convention

The key term of “habitual residence” is not defined in the Convention.

In many judicial circuits in the United States there is a heavy presumption that a child’s habitual residence should be determined by “the last shared intent” of the child’s parents, unless it is clearly shown that the child has become acclimatized to another jurisdiction. The courts in other circuits look primarily at the position of the child reviewed objectively without regard to parental intention. Many Hague cases are won or lost based on the application of the competing approaches to the often-complicated facts of particular international situations.

Mr. Jeremy D. Morley is an international lawyer & advisor who is well-known for international child abduction & hague convention issues.

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Abducted to Poland: Stephen Watkins at rally for his sons at Polish embassy in Toronto


Source: Bring home Watkins missing children support group and yorkregion.com

Stephen Watkins children was illegally abducted to Poland, The black hole of child abduction – A non co-operating member of the Hague convention.

Stephen Watkins at rally for his sons at Polish embassy in Toronto

A Polish court has denied a Newmarket man’s bid to bring home his two children, according to the man’s Facebook page.
Stephen Watkins accuses his ex-wife Edyta Watkins (Ustaszewski) of abducting their two boys, Alexander and Christopher, in 2009.


Mr. Watkins wrote in a Facebook post last night he is not feeling well in the aftermath of yesterday’s ruling.
“I am frustrated along with being very sad. I don’t know what to say except that I am not giving up on my sons.” he wrote, adding he plans to appeal the ruling.

In advance of the ruling, Mr. Watkins acknowledged his uphill climb to secure custody of the boys was far from over.
“One thing is finding your kids, it’s another thing bringing them home,” Mr. Watkins said by telephone Wednesday from Warsaw, Poland, where has been since Nov. 23.
Mr. Watkins has seen Alexander and Christopher at an apartment building in the eastern European country, but has been unable to hug them, he said.
They seem confused and Mr. Watkins believes they have been brainwashed.
The long road from family difficulties. which began 2-1/2 years ago, to receiving word about the children through Polish court documents last summer has been emotionally taxing and financially burdensome, he admits.
“The Polish courts have known where my kids are for about a year,” he charged. “It took them a year to contact me.”
After his children disappeared, his ex-wife attempted to enrol them at a Polish school. But with no documentation about their boys’ background, Polish authorities apparently became suspicious and launched an investigation, which landed in the courts, Mr. Watkins believes.
Then, the Polish courts sent Mr. Watkins a summons.
“That was our first lead,” he said.
He was glad to know where his sons were, but his research had taught him not to get too excited, he added.


The boys were reported missing the Monday following a scheduled weekend visit with their mother.
After Mr. Watkins was granted custody of the boys, United States Homeland Security confirmed a woman and two boys took a flight from Rochester, N.Y. to Detroit, Mich. March 8, 2009 before departing for Frankfurt, Germany.
From there, the trio apparently entered Poland.


Mrs. Watkins is a native of Poland and has family there. The boys could also be recognized as Polish citizens, Canadian authorities said.
Because Canada has no extradition treaty with Poland, Mr. Watkins has faced an uphill battle.
He thanked several local support agencies, York Regional Police and Canadian officials in Poland for their help and acknowledged members of Parliament have spoken on his behalf.

Earlier this week, Newmarket-Aurora Conservative MP Lois Brown issued a news release stating she had discussed Mr. Watkins’ efforts in the House of Commons during discussion about a government initiative to help protect Canadian children travelling abroad.
However, Mr. Watkins believes only pressure from the highest levels of the Canadian government — the Prime Minister’s Office — will help pressure the Polish government.
“My fingers are crossed that (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper will stand up and say something,” he said. “I need some of that political clout.”
In advance of the court ruling, Mr. Watkins didn’t hold his hopes high and was skeptical of a major change in the situation.
“My ex has gone to great lengths to travel around the world … and hide the children,” he said.

————————————————————————————————————

“I would like to thank the Canadian politicians LOIS BROWN, MP (Newmarket-Aurora) and JINNY SIMS, NDP PM (Newton-North Delta BC) for raising awareness to the Canadian government of my sons International Child Abduction case, known world-wide as ‘ Watkins Missing Children ‘, in Canada’s House of Commons and also raising awareness to the issues of International Parental Child Abductions from Canada.

I am hopping and my ‘Christmas Wish’ is that our Canadian Prime Minister, STEPHEN HARPER, also send an equally strong message and statement denouncing the actions of Poland with my two Canadian children, illegally kidnapped from Canada and now stuck in Poland.

I believe it will take a strong statement from our Canadian political leader seeking the return of my sons, similarly to what the United States – Secretary HILLARY CLINTON has done denouncing the inactions of Brazil and Japan in similar child abduction cases, so that the country of Poland understands that International Child Abductions will not be tolerated by any nation.” says Stephen Watkins, the father of Missing / Abducted Alexander & Christopher Watkins.”

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U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443
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What is Needed Under The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction To Get My Child Back?


Source: Internationalchildcustody.com

The Hague Convention on International Child Abduction sets out standards for what is needed to apply for a return order of a child that is a victim of parental abduction or who has been wrongfully withheld by a non-custodial parent. Those standards are set out in Article 7:

Central Authorities shall co-operate with each other and promote co-operation amongst the competent authorities in their respective States to secure the prompt return of children and to achieve the other objects of this Convention.
In particular, either directly or through any intermediary, they shall take all appropriate measures –
a) to discover the whereabouts of a child who has been wrongfully removed or retained;
b) to prevent further harm to the child or prejudice to interested parties by taking or causing to be taken provisional measures;
c) to secure the voluntary return of the child or to bring about an amicable resolution of the issues;
d) to exchange, where desirable, information relating to the social background of the child;
e) to provide information of a general character as to the law of their State in connection with the application of the Convention;
f) to initiate or facilitate the institution of judicial or administrative proceedings with a view to obtaining the return of the child and, in a proper case, to make arrangements for organising or securing the effective exercise of rights of access;
g) where the circumstances so require, to provide or facilitate the provision of legal aid and advice, including the participation of legal counsel and advisers;
h) to provide such administrative arrangements as may be necessary and appropriate to secure the safe return of the child;
i) to keep each other informed with respect to the operation of this Convention and, as far as possible, to eliminate any obstacles to its application.

In theory each signatory country has a duty to aid in the return of a child who has been wrongfully withheld or is the victim of Parental Abduction. In the United States that duty is coordinated through the State Department who designates local authorities such as the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office to aid in the return of abducted children. In reality, many times the victim parent hires private attorneys such as Pisarra & Grist to aid in the process.

Also read: The Hague Convention – Proved useless

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Courts should punish parental abduction


Source: TheGlobeAndMail

The abduction of children by their mother or father is a serious crime deserving of serious consequences, and of a strong denunciation by the courts.

But the courts do not usually like to send first offenders to jail, especially when they are “otherwise of good character” and not a danger to reoffend. Many abducting parents receive conditional discharges. It is difficult to see why being a first-time offender should reduce a sentence, when the offence goes on for months or years.

That is what happened in September in R. v. Melville, an Ontario case involving a five-year-old taken by his mother from Toronto to Florida for 12 years, in violation of a court order. The judge in the abduction case did not believe there were extenuating circumstances of abuse. “In a system that is meant to focus on the best interests of the child, the child can be reduced to a weapon used by warring parents to bludgeon each other,” wrote Mr. Justice Todd Ducharme of the Ontario Superior Court, stressing the seriousness of the crime. But the Crown asked only for six months in prison, and that is what Judge Ducharme gave the mother.

It is also what happened in November in R. v. Neundorf, also in Ontario, in which a mother and her new husband took her two sons, in violation of a court order, to Singapore, without advising the boys’ father. It was seven months before she returned. In that case, the trial judge sentenced her to a year under house arrest; being a first offender worked in the mother’s favour. After she had served that term, the Court of Appeal granted her an absolute discharge, clearing her of a criminal record. Perhaps that was fair in the circumstances, but it is difficult to understand part of that court’s rationale – that the mother had experienced the hardship of not being able to see her boys for more than a year, as a result of her arrest and changes to the custody terms. Wasn’t that her fault?

In a B.C. case from 2008, R. v. Gill, a mother received a conditional discharge after fleeing an abusive situation and taking her two children home to India – for 10 years. Again, perhaps fair in the circumstances; but the message of deterrence, and of the need to respect court processes, was lost.

Each parental abduction turns on its facts, of course, and it would be foolish to urge that all abductors be tossed in jail, regardless of the circumstances. The maximum sentence is 10 years in jail, reflecting Parliament’s view of the seriousness of parental abduction. Parental abduction is a form of child abuse, and the courts should treat it that way.

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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

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

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

Child Custody and Parental Abduction – When good people get bad legal advice


Source: This Lemonade Life Blog

The Author of this blog don`t want to share her experience with other parents in risk of International Parental Child Abduction trough our blog. We just have to respect that and remove the content.

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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

Breaking News: Children in the European Union gain additional protection against international abduction


BRUSSELS, December 23, 2011 – Wednesday, the European Commission proposed the EU accept Russia and seven more countries as parties to an international convention designed to prevent child abduction. The 1980 Hague Convention ensures the prompt return of children abducted by one parent to their habitual country of residence and protects parental access rights.

International abduction by a parent is a global problem affecting several thousand children each year. Wednesday’s move will effectively extend protection for children in the EU to eight new countries: Russia, Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Gabon, Morocco, Seychelles and Singapore. The Convention has been ratified by 86 countries to date, including all EU members.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s agenda for children’s rights,” said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner. “We already have strict rules in place to ensure abducted children can be returned and disputes swiftly solved within the EU. By welcoming Russia and others as EU counterparts under this international agreement, we can make sure children are similarly protected at a global level as well.”

If one parent in an abduction case comes from outside the EU, the Hague Convention only applies if that parent’s country of origin is a member of the Convention. All EU Member States are party to the Convention and the European Commission actively promotes membership of the Convention at an international level so that children in the EU can be better protected worldwide.

This multilateral treaty does not seek to adjudicate in custody cases, but provides for a procedure whereby an abducted child can be returned promptly to his or her home country. Once sent back, the child’s local authorities can determine where and with whom the child should live. The Convention is also designed to secure protection for rights of access.

If a parent abducts a child within the EU, the so-called Brussels IIa Regulation (Council Regulation 2201/2003) imposes strict obligations to ensure the return of the child. Under the Regulation, the courts in the EU Member State to which the child has been abducted cannot refuse an order to return a child to the Member State of origin.

Data recently collected shows that the Regulation works well: in general, child abduction disputes between EU Member States are solved in a much more efficient and swift manner, thanks notably to the removal of the cumbersome ‘exequatur’ procedure. This means a shorter period for courts to recognise and enforce judgements from another Member State.

Article 38(4) of the 1980 Convention stipulates that the Convention applies between the acceding country and Contracting States that declare their acceptance of the accession. Therefore, the European Union has to decide whether to accept the accession of Russia and other countries.

As the matter of international child abduction falls into the exclusive external competence of the European Union, the decision whether the EU, via its Member States, should accept other countries’ accession to the 1980 Convention has to be taken by means of a Council Decision.

In February 2011, the Commission presented an EU agenda for reinforcing the rights of the child by putting the principles of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights into practice. It includes a series of concrete actions where the EU can provide added value to policies for children’s well-being and safety, including promoting child-friendly justice, better informing children about their rights, and making the internet safer for kids.

For more information: International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless

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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

Contact us here: Mail

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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

Abducted to Poland: Stephen Watkins at rally for his sons at Polish embassy in Toronto


Source: Bring home Watkins missing children support group and yorkregion.com

Stephen Watkins children was illegally abducted to Poland, The black hole of child abduction – A non co-operating member of the Hague convention.

Stephen Watkins at rally for his sons at Polish embassy in Toronto

A Polish court has denied a Newmarket man’s bid to bring home his two children, according to the man’s Facebook page.
Stephen Watkins accuses his ex-wife Edyta Watkins (Ustaszewski) of abducting their two boys, Alexander and Christopher, in 2009.


Mr. Watkins wrote in a Facebook post last night he is not feeling well in the aftermath of yesterday’s ruling.
“I am frustrated along with being very sad. I don’t know what to say except that I am not giving up on my sons.” he wrote, adding he plans to appeal the ruling.

In advance of the ruling, Mr. Watkins acknowledged his uphill climb to secure custody of the boys was far from over.
“One thing is finding your kids, it’s another thing bringing them home,” Mr. Watkins said by telephone Wednesday from Warsaw, Poland, where has been since Nov. 23.
Mr. Watkins has seen Alexander and Christopher at an apartment building in the eastern European country, but has been unable to hug them, he said.
They seem confused and Mr. Watkins believes they have been brainwashed.
The long road from family difficulties. which began 2-1/2 years ago, to receiving word about the children through Polish court documents last summer has been emotionally taxing and financially burdensome, he admits.
“The Polish courts have known where my kids are for about a year,” he charged. “It took them a year to contact me.”
After his children disappeared, his ex-wife attempted to enrol them at a Polish school. But with no documentation about their boys’ background, Polish authorities apparently became suspicious and launched an investigation, which landed in the courts, Mr. Watkins believes.
Then, the Polish courts sent Mr. Watkins a summons.
“That was our first lead,” he said.
He was glad to know where his sons were, but his research had taught him not to get too excited, he added.


The boys were reported missing the Monday following a scheduled weekend visit with their mother.
After Mr. Watkins was granted custody of the boys, United States Homeland Security confirmed a woman and two boys took a flight from Rochester, N.Y. to Detroit, Mich. March 8, 2009 before departing for Frankfurt, Germany.
From there, the trio apparently entered Poland.


Mrs. Watkins is a native of Poland and has family there. The boys could also be recognized as Polish citizens, Canadian authorities said.
Because Canada has no extradition treaty with Poland, Mr. Watkins has faced an uphill battle.
He thanked several local support agencies, York Regional Police and Canadian officials in Poland for their help and acknowledged members of Parliament have spoken on his behalf.

Earlier this week, Newmarket-Aurora Conservative MP Lois Brown issued a news release stating she had discussed Mr. Watkins’ efforts in the House of Commons during discussion about a government initiative to help protect Canadian children travelling abroad.
However, Mr. Watkins believes only pressure from the highest levels of the Canadian government — the Prime Minister’s Office — will help pressure the Polish government.
“My fingers are crossed that (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper will stand up and say something,” he said. “I need some of that political clout.”
In advance of the court ruling, Mr. Watkins didn’t hold his hopes high and was skeptical of a major change in the situation.
“My ex has gone to great lengths to travel around the world … and hide the children,” he said.

————————————————————————————————————

“I would like to thank the Canadian politicians LOIS BROWN, MP (Newmarket-Aurora) and JINNY SIMS, NDP PM (Newton-North Delta BC) for raising awareness to the Canadian government of my sons International Child Abduction case, known world-wide as ‘ Watkins Missing Children ‘, in Canada’s House of Commons and also raising awareness to the issues of International Parental Child Abductions from Canada.

I am hopping and my ‘Christmas Wish’ is that our Canadian Prime Minister, STEPHEN HARPER, also send an equally strong message and statement denouncing the actions of Poland with my two Canadian children, illegally kidnapped from Canada and now stuck in Poland.

I believe it will take a strong statement from our Canadian political leader seeking the return of my sons, similarly to what the United States – Secretary HILLARY CLINTON has done denouncing the inactions of Brazil and Japan in similar child abduction cases, so that the country of Poland understands that International Child Abductions will not be tolerated by any nation.” says Stephen Watkins, the father of Missing / Abducted Alexander & Christopher Watkins.”

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

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

Contact us here: Mail

Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction

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