ISIS threatens to send 500,000 migrants to Europe as a ‘psychological weapon’


September 10, 2015

Italian press today published claims that ISIS has threatened to release the huge wave of migrants to cause chaos in Europe if they are attacked.

Lampedusa Italy

Breaking point: The officials at Lampedusa airport (pictured) are struggling to process the 1,200 newly arrived migrants in a reception centre built for a third of that number – and now Islamic State has threatened to send 500,000 to Europe’s shores

And letters from jihadists show plans to hide terrorists among refugees 

In 2011, Muammar Gaddafi ominously predicted war would come to Libya

He was deposed in a violent coup and killed in October of the same year 

Islamic State executed 21 Egyptian Christians on Libyan beach this week

Crisis in Libya has led to surge in number of migrants heading for Europe

ISIS has threatened to flood Europe with half a million migrants from Libya in a ‘psychological’ attack against the West, it was claimed today.

Transcripts of telephone intercepts published in Italy claim to provide evidence that ISIS is threatening to send 500,000 migrants simultaneously out to sea in hundreds of boats in a ‘psychological weapon’ against Europe if there is military intervention against them in Libya.

Many would be at risk of drowning with rescue services unable to cope. But authorities fear that if numbers on this scale arrived, European cities could witness riots.

Separately, the militants hope to cement their control of Libya then cross the Mediterranean disguised as refugees, according to letters seen by Quilliam the anti-terror group, reported by the Telegraph.

Searching for safety: With militancy and violence spreading through Libya, many Egyptians living there are now returning to their home country (pictured on the border village Sallum)

Italian Minister for the Interior Angelino Alfano said on Monday that Libya was the ‘absolute priority’ and insisted there was ‘not a minute to lose’ for the international community.

He said: ‘If the militias of the Caliphate advance faster than the decisions of the international community how can we put out the fire in Libya and stem the migration flows? We are at risk of an exodus without precedent.’

More than 170,000 migrants arrived in Italy by boat last year. Since last Friday almost 4,000 have been rescued.

The spread of militancy across Libya was predicted by the country’s deceased leader Muammar Gaddafi, who warned the Mediterranean would become ‘a sea of chaos’.

ISIS had not yet made frightening inroads into Libya when he made this chilling prophecy during his last interview in March 2011.

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Escape: Today, the spread of violence and extremism in Libya has forced thousands to flee to Italy (ferry port of Lampedusa pictured) where officials are struggling to deal with the sudden influx

But the Arab Spring uprising that year sparked a civil war in Libya and opposition forces – backed by NATO – deposed Gaddafi in violent coup just five months after his ominous prediction.

In October 2011, forces loyal to the country’s transitional government found the ousted leader hiding in a culvert in Sirte and killed him.

Four years later, Islamic State kidnapped 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Sirte – Gaddafi’s birthplace – before releasing gruesome footage of their beheading on the shores of the Mediterranean, just 220 miles south of Italy. In it the terrorists warned that they ‘will conquer Rome’.

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Russian court rules ‘abducted’ children to return to UK


November 30, 2013

Source: BBC

A north London mother has won a landmark ruling to get her children back from Russia after they were abducted by their father. Rachael Neustadt, from Hendon, says Ilya Neustadt took their two sons on holiday in December but never returned.

Abducted_Russia

Moscow City Court ruled that Daniel and Jonathan had been illegally kept in Russia in breach of a UK High Court order. Mrs Neustadt said she was delighted by the ruling.

Missing persons

The court said that five-year-old Jonathan and seven-year-old Daniel should be flown back to London. Mrs Neustadt, a former teacher from the US, claims that Mr Neustadt, who was a lecturer at London Metropolitan University, ignored repeated requests from judges in England to return their sons. Interpol also issued missing persons notices for the boys.

The case is the first to successfully use the 1996 Hague Convention on child abduction in England and Russia, which Russia ratified in June and the UK signed last year.

In September, the Russian court told Mr Neustadt to return the two children. He appealed against the decision and lost on Wednesday. Mrs Neustadt said she had campaigned for the last 11 months to bring her sons home.

“I think that day my heart started racing and it hasn’t stopped,” she said.

Every day I think what can I do to bring them back.”

Rachael Neustadt

“Every day I think what can I do to bring them back.

“They liked everything and there’s nothing that tells me that why just because they’ve been given a passport that they are Russians that belong in Russia.”

The boys’ maternal grandmother, Merry Rapp, has been helping care for the youngest son two-year-old Meir, while Mrs Neustadt fights her legal battle.

“It is very confusing for them,” she said.

“They have been told so much that is totally wrong. For example, that your mother no longer loves you. How do you say that and not damage a child? It’s not right.”

‘Hidden problem’

The charity Reunite International, which supports parents, said child abduction was a hidden problem. The group said that its helpline received 8,112 calls last year and the numbers were increasing.

Joanne Orton, the advice line co-ordinator, said: “We had 506 new parental abduction cases reported to us which involved 728 children. We also had 412 new prevention cases involving a further 586 children.

“Travel is easier and cheaper than ever leading to more mixed nationality partnerships than ever.

“Where a relationship has formed with one or both parents originating from a different country to the one they have settled in, if that relationship then breaks down, very often one parent will want to return to the comfort of their family in their native country.”

She added that 70% of abductions were carried out by the mother.

“The saddest fact is, that when a child is abducted whilst both parents suffer as a result, ultimately the one person that suffers the most is the child,” she said.

Mr Neustadt has said he may appeal against the latest ruling.

He said: “We will finally reach some amicable solution based on compromises and not on possible actions that would be completely against the children’s best interests.”

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Parental Child Kidnapping – Already a Common Occurrence by 1856


The following article is noteworthy for offering evidence, in its comment on the case of a Mr. Thompson, “which has all too many parallels in California,” suggesting that parental kidnapping was already, by the 1850s quite a common ocurrance in the United States

***
FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): We would call attention to an advertisement in another column, under the caption of “Information Wanted.”  Mr. Thompson has called on us, and told us his story. It is one which has all too many parallels in California, yet he is entitled to heartfelt sympathy. It seems that about five months ago, he sailed for China, leaving his wife and two children in San Francisco. Before leaving he gave his wife $375, with which to pay her passage by the steamer to New York, he expecting to return to China by Cape Horn. The vessel, however, took passengers for San Francisco, and returned to New York, but was living at Vallejo with a man named John Forman, as his mistress.
Thither Thompson went, but found the parties had come to this city, some two weeks previous. He followed here, learned their arrival about that time, but could obtain no further certain clue to them. Partial information leads him to the belief that they went from here to Sonora. Mr. Thompson merely desires to recover the possession of his two children (girls), respectively six and eight years of age. John Forman, the despoiler of his happiness, is represented as being a ship caulker by trade; is a stout built man, about five feet six inches in height, with red whiskers.
The eldest child, Eliza, is of light complexion, blue eyes and has lost two of the lower front teeth. The youngest is of dark complexion and has a scar on the forehead. Any information of the parties will be thankfully received by Ananias Thompson (who appears to be as highly respectable man) at the Globe Hotel, corner of Davis and Chambers street, San Francisco.
NOTE: The comment “all too many parallels” indicates that parental kidnapping was already recognized as a “social problem” by 1856 in California.
November 18, 2013
[“A Recreant Wife,” Weekly San Juan Republican (Stockton, Ca.), Jul. 5, 1856, p. 3]
thompson-all-too-many-1856
Paragraph breaks not in original
***
FULL TEXT (Article 2 of 2): We published the other day a case of seduction and desertion, the aggravated party being Mr. Ananias Thompson. In the account we published, it was stated that the seducer was a person named John Forman. From the Bay papers it would seem that the recreant parties had separated, Mrs. Thompson, alias Mrs. Forman, having left her last paramour, a married man at San Francisco named Dougherty. Mr. Thompson learned the fact, applied at the police office for a warrant for her arrest for the purpose of recovering possession of his two little girls, but the papers state, [sic] he was informed that he could not testify against his wife, except in a case of assault and battery. He then obtained a friend, cognizant of the facts, to make the complaint, and the warrant was issued.
[“Charge Of Bigamy,” Weekly San Juan Republican (Stockton, Ca.), Jul. 12, 1856, p. 2]

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Daughter’s abductions haunt writer


October 15, 2013

Source: wkcurrent.com

For the average parent, it would be unfathomable for their child to be kidnapped. West Kerr County resident Rosalie Hollingsworth underwent such a nightmare, not just once — but twice.
Now she tells about the saga of her losses and recovery in a poignant, honest and riveting book, “Destruction of Innocence, A True Story of Child Abduction.”
The book is intended to convey not only a message and a warning, but also rays of hope. Written in the style of a memoir, the chapters do not always follow the sequence of events in chronological order, but the unraveling of details takes on the feeling of a complex James Bond thriller.
Rosalie.Hollingsworth
West Kerr County resident Rosalie Hollingsworth lovingly holds a photograph of her daughter Triana, then 7 years old, who was kidnapped twice. Triana’s first abduction by Hollingsworth’s estranged husband lasted eight months; the second, four agonizing years. The ordeal of her return each time is documented in the new book written by Hollingsworth, “Destruction of Innocence, A True Story of Child Abduction.” Photo by Irene Van Winkle.
Writing the book was an ordeal in itself for her, Hollingsworth said, and she has laid out the story bluntly.
In addition to her daughter’s abductions, Rosalie reveals her own sad childhood, of betrayal and abuse that left her both vulnerable and determined.
As an adult, Hollingsworth suddenly found herself trying to cope with the twisted manipulations of her first husband, Franco. He swept her off her feet like a prince in a fairy tale, only to snatch away the one thing she loved the most.
In the book’s introduction, Hollingsworth details the cold and frightening statistics about child abduction:
“One child is reported missing every 40 seconds. … Of millions of children, an appalling 80 percent are parental kidnapping victims. Angry, jealous, fearful and, in some cases, deranged parents defy the law, stealing their children and disappearing. In the wake of each kidnapping are untold stories of despair and agony. After one year, over 50 percent of these cases will remain forever unsolved. This is the story of my daughter, Triana, who was twice taken from me. In the first abduction, my estranged Italian husband took our one year old baby and fled to Italy … Six years later, he kidnapped her again, disappearing with her into the remote jungles of South America.”
south_america
The book is filled with details of how Triana was dragged from one country to another, as her father changed identities like a chameleon, and the dangers she endured from predators of every ilk and shape.
Retelling her story still hits a raw nerve with Hollingsworth, even though Triana’s second abduction ended more than 25 years ago. It may be that some of her emotions will never be totally resolved, but perhaps become less jagged.
Asked why she finally decided to write the book, Hollingsworth said, “I was angry at myself for being naive, for having trusted this man who took my child. I was angry at Franco, Carmen (his mother), Kitty (his second wife) and the government — at every person who had not helped me locate my child or stood in my way of finding her. I needed to deal with this anger and writing helped me deal with most of it. I don’t know if I can ever forgive Franco for what he subjected my daughter to — it is just too painful to this day.”
Hollingsworth wrote at night when the house was quiet, but often found herself walking away from it when the thoughts and memories became too painful.
When she first met her husband, Franco, he appeared seemingly out of the blue, Hollingsworth said, and “I was dazzled by his devotion. He was diabolically charming and proposed to me after just six weeks.”
Franco, who came of age during WWII in war-torn Italy, was spoiled by his old-world Italian mother, who had tolerated his father’s debauchery. But he was also polished and well-educated, and to someone of his practiced cunning, Hollingsworth was easy prey.
What Hollingsworth found out only too late was that he had a temper that raged often and unexpectedly with jealousy, creating a constant firestorm in their relationship.
When Triana was only a year old, she was spirited away from their home in California by her conniving father and taken to Italy.
After eight agonizing months, using her own ruses and subterfuge, Hollingsworth was able to bring Triana back. For years, Hollingsworth parried with Franco over custody, and then, when she least expected it, the nightmare that had haunted her once again repeated itself.
The second time around, her ordeal took four years, scouring through the wilds of South America, as authorities and even church figures were not only ineffective, but also blocked her path.
Every time Hollingsworth tried to enlist the help of others, it seemed to fall mostly on deaf ears. It was only through her own courageous perseverence, and the help of several “guardian angels,” that Triana was eventually brought home.
During the intervening years, Hollingsworth met and married another man, Stan. He brought his own sons into the picture, adding a layer of complication. The couple then had another child. It was while she was pregnant with Tisha that the final drama unfolded, making it even more precarious and volatile.
The debris left behind in the wake of traumatic events to Triana, Hollingsworth and other members of the family is immeasurable and will never be completely tidied up.
Triana is left coping with low self-esteem. Over time and with counseling, she has made progress, Hollingsworth said, but she is still left with difficult challenges.
However, Triana has brought her mother a wonderful gift in the form of a son, on whom Hollingsworth dotes, as she does all her grandchildren.
Younger sister, Tisha, has three of her own boys and stays in touch, as do some of Stan’s sons.
Reflecting on the aftermath, Hollingsworth said, “Someone asked me out of all the things that happened, what did I learn? All I can say is that none of it was worth the loss of my child and what she went through. To me, true knowledge comes from good things, and this wasn’t a good thing.”
For children who are rescued, her advice is for them not to blame themselves for trusting the parent who abducted them.
Today, Hollingsworth’s greatest consolation are the children and grandchildren who beam back at her from the many photographs she has placed around her home. They are her next generation of treasures, and she joyfully basks in their glow.
Hollingsworth said she wrote the book to bring greater attention to the issue of child abduction. In the 1970s, the government was of little help, but, she added, “Today we have the government getting involved, along with all kind of alerts and publicity to kidnappings and child abductions.”
The other, and more important part of her message, she said, was to parents of abducted children.
“Do not give up the search. Do what you have to do to locate your child. Use every resource you can possibly find. Contact every person you know who could help. Don’t give up.”
For more information about Hollingsworth’s book and child stealing, visit http://www.destructionofinnocence.com. Reviews can be found at amazon.com and at barnesandnoble.com.

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An analysis of the extortion threat in Mexico


September 28, 2013

Source: RED24.com

Extortion has been an issue in Mexico for a number of years, but came to prominence on 25 August 2011. On this date, as many as ten heavily armed gunmen arrived in three vehicles and entered the Casino Royale in Monterrey, capital of Nuevo Leon state. They doused the facility in fuel and sporadically detonated grenades on the gaming floor.

extortion-letter1

The final death toll in the casino fire was declared to be 52. Subsequent investigations established that Los Zetas, arguably Mexico’s most prominent drug cartel, was responsible for the incident. According to members of the cartel that were arrested for their involvement, the intention of the attack was to send a message to the owner over his failure to pay an extortion fee to the cartel.

The scale of the extortion problem is assessed to have increased in the two years following the Monterrey incident. The increase in cases from the respective first quarters in 2012 to 2013 alone is believed to be greater than 180 percent. In addition, cases involving foreign firms are reported to have doubled in the same period. This challenges the long-held assumption that extortion has a limited impact on foreign business operations in Mexico.

Extortion is essentially the unlawful extraction of money, property or other concessions through coercion. In Mexico, it is largely a factor of the general insecurity that has accompanied the rise in drug cartel-related violence. Since 2006, when former president Felipe Calderon launched a large-scale anti-narcotics security strategy in an effort to combat organised crime, extortion rates have grown significantly.

Perpetrators and targets
Among the chief perpetrators of extortion in Mexico are drug cartels. The larger of these organisations yield considerable influence in their areas of operation and usually conduct their criminal affairs with a high degree of impunity. Los Zetas, together with the equally pervasive Sinaloa cartel, maintain a presence in a significant number of Mexican cities and smaller organisations have filled the void elsewhere. Although the principal activity of large drug cartels remains the production, trafficking and distribution of a range of narcotics, the pressure put on drug cartels by an ongoing government offensive and increased competition have meant that these groups have diversified their criminal activities in order to augment their revenues. Among these activities, extortion has been particularly lucrative.

1291026869-business-community-rallies-against-extortion-and-kidnapping-_521788

Amid general insecurity perpetuated in large part by the presence of several influential drug cartels in the country, opportunistic unprofessional extortion has grown. This group of perpetrators has piggy-backed on the fear instilled by drug groups to threaten victims during extortion attempts. Under the guise of being part of a cartel, the lay-criminal can conduct extortion without the necessary capability or motivation to carry out threats. Apart from drug cartels and opportunistic criminals, there are also a proportion of extortion attempts instigated by criminal organisations that do not partake in drug trafficking activities. The extent to which criminal organisations will follow through on threats is largely contingent on the professionalism of the group.

Until fairly recently (roughly 2006), local and family-owned businesses were discriminately targeted by extortionists. This was fundamentally due to the ease with which perpetrators could identify those with control over the finances of the enterprise. Smaller local firms are also more likely to have cash available on demand. However, there has been a significant expansion in the potential targets of extortions in recent years. Indeed, statistics and anecdotal evidence suggest that the full revenue-spectrum of businesses and the full range of income-earners are targeted.

Another departure from the status quo in recent years has been the willingness for extortionists to target foreign companies or those with interests in these companies. Statistics on the extent of the crime among foreign firms aren’t easily accessible; this is largely due to the lack of reporting and undesirability of this becoming common knowledge. However, at least one survey indicates that as many as 36 percent of foreign firms fell victim to extortion in 2012.

Characteristics of extortion in Mexico
It is assessed that the majority of extortion incidents in Mexico are initiated via telephone. Although random cold-calls are common (often initiated from within the Mexican prison system), potential victims are usually researched by means of reconnaissance to establish how much money can be extorted. In addition, information on the victim’s family and other aspects of their personal life can be used by the perpetrator to bolster the threat. In communication with the victim, the perpetrator will make a demand and the threat of violence to the victims or to their family, property or business interests will be used to encourage an expedient result for the perpetrator. In other cases of telephone-based extortion, the perpetrator may claim to have already kidnapped somebody related to the victim in some way. In this case, the release of the victim is contingent on meeting the extortion demands.

Those involved in extortion are increasingly directly approaching business owners and employees. This method is common in areas with a significant organised crime group presence. As with telephone-initiated extortion, threats to person and property accompany demands. Often justified as protection money or ‘derecho de piso’, extortionists may make demands of victims on a regular basis. This can lead to an extortion racket that can extend to other businesses in the area or industry.

The amount demanded in revenue-motivated extortions varies greatly. This is dependent somewhat on the professionalism of the perpetrators, the size of the company, and the perceived revenue that said company draws. In virtual extortions, demands of as low as US$400 are not uncommon, while larger companies may be victims of attempts to extort as much as US$200,000. In addition, racketeering can see larger companies pay up to US$20,000 per month to those perpetrating extortion.

States worst affected by the crime include Morelos, where as many as 34 incidents are recorded per 100,000 of the population, Durango (17 per 10,000), Baja California (16 per 100,000), Chihuahua 13 per 100,000), Jalisco (12 per 100,000), as well as Mexico City (11 per 100,000). At this point, it is worthwhile reiterating that reporting rates are believed to be exceedingly low and that the actual rate of extortion could be as much as double those listed above. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests an extortion rate nearer to 100 per 100,000 in some areas of worst-affected states. Furthermore, local sources report that, in some major cities, few city-centre businesses are exempt from extortion attempts.

Advice
Given its effectiveness as a crime and the relatively low risk to the perpetrators, extortion incidents are unlikely to decline in the short- to medium-term. Those intending to operate in the country should explicitly address the risk as part of their due diligence assessments and are advised to consider ways to mitigate the threat. These measures include developing a crisis response plan and process; assigning crisis management roles and responsibilities; and, conducting training and role-play exercises to simulate extortion situations. This should ideally be done together with a security organisation that specialises in dealing with kidnap for ransom and extortion (KRE). In-country personnel should be made aware of how to deal with extortion attempts and, at the very least, keep a low public profile, avoid disseminating unnecessary company and personal information, and remain calm and measured in communication with the perpetrators.

 

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Border Controls: Beefing up Passports to Prevent Parental Child Abduction


September 11, 2013

Source: The Huffington Post

For most children, summer conjures up thoughts of carefree, school-free days in the sunshine, holidays and fun.

Sadly, some of their parents do not feel as upbeat. It’s not just that they recognise the intricacies involved in balancing childcare and jobs, the effect of boisterous kids on their eardrums or the expense of keeping offspring entertained until they return to the classroom.

MotherAndChild

Many separated parents understand how difficult it can be to put their children’s welfare first when relations with their former partners become strained. Indeed, anxieties which resident parents believe to be entirely natural can become even more heightened when their exes want to take children abroad on holiday.

Some fear their family becoming another statistic, adding to the growing number of children who are abducted by their parents.

Last December, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) released figures showing that the number of abductions had risen by 88 per cent in a decade. In the 12 months to September last year, the FCO recorded 512 abductions by parents and featured 84 different countries.

A framework, established by the 1980 Hague Convention, allows for children to be speedily returned to their homes while the underlying problems that prompted their being taken are resolved.

The problem is that only 89 countries are currently signatories to the Convention. It can take years to locate and return those children taken to states which haven’t yet signed up to the Convention.

As a result of that complication and the general increase in cases of parental child abduction, official efforts have been stepped up to find a workable means of stopping such incidents happening in the first place.

Last year, a meeting of Hague signatory states proposed a new ‘consent to travel form’ added to passports in order to identify those parents legally entitled to take their children overseas and, conversely, those mothers or fathers who had restrictions preventing them from doing so.

Talks followed with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), an agency of the United Nations which regulates air travel and the global passport system, but have so far yielded no definite results.

ChildAbduction

The Hague initiative did at least give rise to further exploration of the subject by the European Commission. Detailed research led to a report to the European Parliament at the start of this month.

In part, it confirmed what practitioners in parental child abduction cases, including myself and my colleagues in Pannone’s Family department, had long suspected. It described how the current system of combatting abductions is flawed and highlighted how little information has been compiled about children at risk of being taken across borders.

Adding further relevant information to passports, perhaps in a manner similar to that proposed by Hague Convention signatories, was one possible solution put forward.

Such a method would complement the passport system already in place and potentially overcome the inconsistencies both between countries and even in different regions of the same country which can have damaging consequences for parents trying to avert abductions and, of course, their children.

There would, naturally, be more administration to enhance current arrangements and that work would cost money. Who would pay – and how – has not been discussed to date.

What the Hague Convention and now European Commission have begun, though, is to develop momentum towards a resolution of an issue of pressing concern. A European directive would only affect those countries in the Community and certainly – sadly – not be worldwide. Those gaps would need to be filled in a later point.

However, it represents a start. To those parents who have experienced the agony of having a child abducted and exhausted money and time trying to have them returned to their homes, that first step is a critical one.

They will be hoping the authorities’ attempts to action a scheme to stop children boarding planes or boats does take off.

 

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International Parental Child Abduction in Italy


June 1, 2013

Source: legalsl.com

The parental child abduction under the Italian Criminal Law

The child abduction is a crime under the Italian Criminal Law, even when it is committed by one of the parents.

Intent Look

Pursuant  to Article 570 of the Italian Penal Code, the person who subtracts to the parent or other guardian, a child under fourteen years of age or an unsound mind, or holds them against the will of the parent or other guardian, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years.

A complaint of the parent (or other guardians) is required in order to start a lawsuit against the abductor.

About the international parental child abduction, pursuant to Article 570-bis of Italian Penal Code, unless the fact constitutes a more serious offense, the person who subtracts a child to the parent or other guardian, leading or holding him abroad against the will of that parent or guardian, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to four years.

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If the offense is committed against a child who has reached the age of fourteen and with his consent, the penalty of imprisonment will be from six months to three years.

If the crimes are committed by a parent, the sentence involves the suspension of the exercise of parental authority.

Italy is a member State of the 1980 Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.

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Abductors free daughter, 10, of Bulgaria ‘drug lord’


April 29, 2013

Source: Krmagazine.com

Police said Monday that the kidnapped 10-year-old daughter of one of Bulgaria’s alleged cocaine-trafficking lords, Evelin “Brendo” Banev has been released after 47 days in captivity

Kidnap_Bulgaria

Abductors free daughter, 10, of Bulgaria ‘drug lord’

The kidnapped 10-year-old daughter of one of Bulgaria’s alleged cocaine-trafficking lords, Evelin “Brendo” Banev has been released after 47 days in captivity, police said Monday.

Lara Baneva was left at a parking lot in the capital around 10:00 pm (1900 GMT) Sunday and walked to a nearby police station, the interior ministry said. The girl was in good physical condition and was put under psychological care, it added.

State BNR radio reported that a ransom of 500,000 euros ($653,000) was paid for her release, but the information was not officially confirmed. According to private bTV television the kidnappers had initially demanded 2.0 million leva (1.0 million euros, $1.3 million) from the Banev family.

Lara Baneva was kidnapped on March 5 in the posh Boyana neighbourhood on Sofia’s outskirts while being driven to school. Witness reports said three masked men had opened fire on the car, wounding the driver and abducting her. The case was the first high-profile kidnapping of such a young child in Bulgaria.

The girl’s father, a 48-year-old former wrestler, was sentenced by a Sofia court on February 15 to seven and a half years in jail for laundering drug-dealing profits worth almost two million euros ($2.6 million).

The police operation against him and his accomplices was called “Cocaine Kingpins.”

Eastern_European_Mafia_Police

Banev was subsequently extradited to Italy, where he is now standing trial for allegedly trafficking 40 tonnes of cocaine from Latin America to Europe for the ‘Ndrangheta mafia between 2004 and 2007.

Lara Baneva’s kidnapping was the first in Bulgaria since 2009, when police broke up a nine-member gang nicknamed “The Bold” that carried out over a dozen abductions for ransom in 2008 and 2009.

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International Parental Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents


January 21, 2013

Source: Government of Canada

Introduction

International child abductions are difficult and complex situations. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon. Every year, hundreds of Canadian children are wrongfully taken from Canada or held in another country by abducting parents.

An international child abduction occurs when a parent, guardian or other person with lawful care of charge of a child removes that child from Canada, or retains that child outside Canada, without either the legal authority or permission of a parent who has full or joint custody rights.

 Canadian_Child

If you think the other parent may be planning to abduct your child, there are things you can do to prevent it. Start by reading the section entitled Preventing the Abduction of Your Child.

But if the abduction has already happened, you should know: each international child abduction is unique—but at the same time shares much with others.

Taking certain steps will improve the chances you will find and recover your child. Consular officials, provincial/territorial and federal governments, law enforcement officials, lawyers and non-governmental organizations may all help you decide on and take those steps.

This guidebook is meant to help you understand the processes and issues involved in searching for and trying to bring back your child. It gives you information about:

  • stopping an abduction in progress
  • finding your child in a foreign country
  • bringing your child back to Canada.

The guidebook is also meant to direct you to the right sources of help. It has a directory of resources and organizations that you can turn to for help. It also has checklists of information you will need during each stage of the process.

You may face legal and emotional difficulties as you fight an international child abduction. Despite the challenges, it is important not to become discouraged. Remember that you can take many actions to resolve an abduction.

It is also important to remember that, despite all your work to get your child back, it may be a long and complicated process—and that things do not always work out as planned.

You can be sure that the Children’s Issues Section of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada will be there to help. Our dedicated Consular Case Management Officers will be available to you throughout the process. They are very knowledgeable about international child abduction issues and have detailed information about specific countries. They will be key in helping with your case.

If you have questions that are not addressed in this guidebook, please contact:

Children’s Issues Section, Consular Services
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
125 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0G2
Toll-free telephone (Canada): 1-800-387-3124
International telephone (collect): + 1-613-996-8885
Fax: 613-944-1078

Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to provide accurate and current information in this guidebook. None of this information should be construed as legal advice, nor is it intended to replace the advice of a lawyer or other authorities.

This guidebook and other information for parents of children abducted to foreign countries are available at travel.gc.ca/child.

If Your Child Is Missing

What you can do

Your child is missing. You think the other parent may have taken them out of Canada.

Or your child is outside Canada and you want to bring them home—but you think the other parent will try to keep them where they are.

Either way—and even if you are not sure your child has been abductedthere are steps you can take. This section tells you about them and about the people and organizations that can help you.

Take these steps as soon as you think your child is missing.

Tell the local police

The local police will be your main point of contact.

Tell them what your child looks like—things such as age, height, weight and the colour of eyes, hair and skin.

Tell them what the abducting parent looks like.

Give them photos, if you have them.

Tell them whether the parent or child has citizenship in a country besides Canada.

Show them the most recent custody order or agreement, if you have one.

custody order is a legal document, handed down by a court, that sets out which parent has custody of a child and on what terms.

custody agreement (or parenting agreement), is also a legal document setting out the terms of custody. It is signed by both parents to show that they agree to its terms. Usually, an agreement’s terms have been reached by the parents working together, often with help from their lawyers or mediators.

If you are in Canada, ask them to enter your information into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and the U.S. National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer systems. This will give every police force in Canada and the United States access to the information.

Give them any other information you think may help them find and return your child. The more information you can give the police, the better.

Give them a phone number or an address where they can reach you at all times. Being reachable at all times is very important.

Tell your family and friends

Ask them to call you right away if they hear anything about your child or the abducting parent. Give them the same phone number or address you gave the police.

Remember: You want to be reachable anytime, anywhere, in case someone has news.

Tell your child’s school, doctor and daycare (and hospital, if need be)

Tell them you have called the police.

As you did with your family and friends, ask them to contact you if they hear anything that might help you find your child or the abducting parent.

Give them the same phone number or address you gave the police and your family and friends.

If your child gets regular treatment at a hospital, give the hospital the same information.

Contact a lawyer

A lawyer can:

  • give you legal advice and represent you in court
  • tell you what options you may have
  • help you protect your interests when you deal with governments and organizations in Canada and other countries
  • help you consider whether to get a custody order or agreement—even after an abduction has happened. A custody order or agreement helps when you are dealing with authorities in Canada or another country.

If you need the services of a lawyer, the law society in your province or territory will provide a referral service. For contact information, visit this list of law societies in Canada.

Contact Passport Canada (Government of Canada)

Passport Canada is a special agency of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, a partner in the Government of Canada’s efforts against international child abductions.

Ask whether the agency has issued a travel document, such as a passport, in your child’s name.

Tell them the details of your situation. Give them copies of legal documents concerning your child—for example, custody orders or separation agreements.

Be aware that Passport Canada will have to decide how much they can legally tell you. The information you give them will help them decide.

Ask them to add your child’s name to the Passport Canada System Lookout List. This will alert Passport Canada officials if they receive a passport application for your child.

Call Passport Canada at 1-800-567-6868 (Canada and the United States toll-free) or visit passportcanada.gc.ca for more contact information.

What Passport Canada may do

  • Invalidate your child’s Canadian passport or other travel document.
  • Refuse to issue a new passport if that would contradict a court order or separation agreement.

Contact Consular Services (Government of Canada)

Consular Services is also part of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, a government department that is a partner in the Government of Canada’s efforts against international child abductions.

In Canada, call Consular Services toll-free at 1-800-387-3124. Inside or outside Canada, call 613-996-8885, collect where available and direct where not. Emergency assistance is available at those numbers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you are outside Canada, you can also contact the nearest Canadian government office abroad. For a list of locations and phone numbers, see the Directory of Canadian Government Offices Abroad.

What to expect when you contact Consular Services

When you contact Consular Services, you will be dealing with people in the Children’s Issues Section.

A Consular Case Management Officer (CMO) will be assigned to work with you. Your CMO will follow up with you, by phone or email, whenever you have questions. But in an emergency after regular office hours, call the numbers above.

If the international abduction has not yet happened, the CMO will work with other government departments to help keep it from happening.

The Consular Case Management Officer (CMO) will be very knowledgeable about issues regarding international child abductions and have detailed information about specific countries.

Your CMO will always talk with you before taking any action in your case.

Consular Services will ask you, among other things:

  • your name, date of birth and citizenship
  • your child’s name, date of birth and citizenship
  • the other parent’s name, date of birth and citizenship
  • to give a detailed description of the situation and the background to it
  • what documents (for example, passports or visas) your child and the other parent would use to travel
  • to provide copies of legal documents, such as a court order, mediated agreement or signed consent letter for children travelling abroad
  • for information on the other parent’s ties to the other country
  • the other parent’s travel plans, if you know them
  • when you last had contact with the abducting parent and your child
  • what steps you have taken already, such as calling the police or consulting a lawyer
  • for your consent to speak with other people and organizations that can help get your child returned to Canada.

Consular Services can:

  • help you contact another country’s diplomatic or consular offices in Canada to find out whether they have issued travel documents or a visa that your child may have used to leave Canada
  • contact authorities in other countries and ask for their help—this help can vary greatly, depending on the country
  • help you work with Passport Canada to find out whether they have issued your child a Canadian passport
  • try to contact the other parent, if the other parent refuses to speak with you directly.

Consular Services cannot:

  • pay your legal fees or other expenses
  • give you legal advice, act as your lawyer or represent you in court
  • mediate with the other parent on your behalf.

Contact non-governmental organizations

Canada has many organizations that can help when a child is missing. They help in many ways, from giving emotional support to searching for the child.

If you contact one of these organizations, tell your lawyer. Your lawyer can help you make sure the organization does not take steps that get in the way of your other efforts to find your child.

See the list of non-governmental organizations. You will have to decide whether their services are appropriate for you.

Contact the other parent’s family and friends

As you did with your own family and friends, ask them to contact you if they hear anything that might help you find your child or the other parent.

Be sure to keep the contact friendly.

Give them the same phone number or address you gave the police and your family and friends.

The other parent’s family and friends may be able to tell you where your child is—the most important information in a child abduction investigation.

Media

You may decide to contact the media about your child’s abduction. You should consider this decision carefully. You may wish to discuss the possibility of contacting the media with a lawyer to help you consider all implications for your case.

Media attention may not be helpful. Sometimes it may let abducting parents know people are looking for them. That could make them go into hiding, making them harder to find and making the situation more stressful and dangerous for the child.

What authorities can do

Local and national authorities in Canada, as well as those from other countries, will do their best to keep an international abduction from happening. They will try to keep the abducting parent and child from leaving Canada or stop them when they arrive in another country.

Be aware:

Canada does not have “exit controls”—people leaving the country do not go through an immigration check. This makes it hard for authorities to keep people from leaving. 

The abducting parent may leave Canada with your child very soon after abducting them. This means authorities may have only a short time to keep the abduction from happening.

What follows describes what the different authorities may do.

Local police

Local police may:

  • check the abducting parent’s credit card reports and records of purchase
  • check what long-distance calls the abducting parent may have made
  • seek cooperation from a doctor or hospital that has treated your child, if your child needs prescription medicine or regular medical treatment
  • get the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Interpol involved
  • issue an Amber Alert
  • enter your information into the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) and the U.S. National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer systems.

Be aware: Police can do some of these things only after a judge has determined that there is enough evidence to reasonably believe that police require the authority to carry out such actions. Also, police may require a copy of your custody order or agreement to carry out some of these actions.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is Canada’s national police force. The RCMP’s National Missing Children’s Operations helps other police forces find and return missing children to their parents.

The RCMP may:

  • at the request of your local police, put your child’s description on a website that gives the public information on missing children across Canada
  • request that Interpol publish a notice that lets police forces in Interpol member countries know an international child abduction may have happened.

Interpol

Interpol is the world’s largest international police organization. It has about 190 member countries. Interpol lets police around the world work together to solve crimes.

Through Interpol, the RCMP may:

  • issue notices to all member countries that a child is missing
  • ask police in member countries to look for an abductor or to look for a child and ask about the safety and well-being of that child.

Interpol notices

Interpol issues notices to police forces around the world to search for abductors or children. The notices are colour-coded.

Red notices seek people wanted on an arrest warrant.

Blue notices seek people who may or may not have committed a crime (including abductors).

Yellow notices seek missing people (including children).

For more information, visit Notices.

Amber Alerts

Amber Alerts help find abducted children fast. Every province has an Amber Alert program; the territories do not.

Amber Alerts appear in media such as television, radio, the Internet and newspapers, and through SMS, as soon as police think a child might have been abducted. The alerts ask the public to get involved in finding the child.

Police issue Amber Alerts only when they think a child may be in serious danger. This means they are issued less often when a child has been abducted by a parent.

Your local police will decide whether to issue an Amber Alert for your child.

Canada Border Services Agency (Government of Canada)

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) can:

  • issue border alerts to watch for a missing child whose parent may be taking them from the country; often these are part of an Amber Alert.

Be aware:

  • CBSA does not check everyone leaving the country, because Canada does not have exit controls.
  • It takes time to organize efforts to stop an abductor from leaving Canada. If an abductor and child leave the country quickly, authorities may not be able to stop them.

Other countries’ border services

The Canadian government may:

  • ask another country to stop a parental abductor and child as they try to enter that country.

Be aware: The Canadian government can only ask for help from another country’s government. The government of the other country will decide what action to take.

Your Consular Case Management Officer will manage the request (see Contact Consular Services for more information).

Read more here: Government of Canada

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Contact us here: Mail

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Kidnap threat grows as European economic woes continue


January 12, 2013

Source: commercialriskeurope

The 20,000 kidnappings reported worldwide annually represents a growing risk for business with the economic woes in Europe likely to see incidents rise in countries such as Greece and Italy, Willis warned this week.

kidnapping_02

In its Resilience publication, the broker said the actual number of kidnaps is likely to be far higher than the official figures suggest as many go unreported.

In hotspot Mexico there were over 2,000 kidnaps reported last year, but according to the Council for Law and Human Rights, an NGO that works with families of victims, the true figure is around 18,000.

Earlier this year global security company Red24 noted that official data showed a 9% increase in kidnapping incidents between 2010 and 2011.

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“The threat is growing, the risk is fluid and it can very easily move from one country to another,” said Richard Scurrell, Executive Director at Willis’ specialist kidnap-and-ransom division, Special Contingency Risks (SCR).

A number of factors are driving this increase, primarily inequalities in developing nations. “A lot of the countries where kidnaps occur regularly have a fantastically wealthy element of the population at the top, a very small middle class and a very large poor population,” explained Paul Mills, Executive Director of Security Services at SCR.

As the economic crisis in many parts of the world drags on, so more countries may match this profile, he continued.

Mexico, for example, saw a surge in kidnapping and extortion following the economic crash of 1994, and now Mr Mills fears the risk could return to European countries such as Greece or Italy, where it has not been a serious issue for decades.

“We have already seen incidents of high-net-worth individuals being attacked by more radical elements,” he said.

The growth in income inequality and increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of large multinational businesses is therefore a real issue for risk managers at big firms.

As Willis pointed out: “The latter’s workers make obvious targets for abduction; the former means a growing pool of potential perpetrators.” Kidnapping comes in various guises. Planned events, where perpetrators have watched their target and are well-organised, are distinct from opportunistic crimes, where the kidnapping is an afterthought to a robbery or carjacking.

The latter tend to result in lower ransom demands and shorter detentions, but also tend to be more unpredictable, meaning more danger for the victim.

Latin America continues to pioneer new methods, such as virtual kidnapping. In these instances kidnappers monitoring victims to learn their routines and perpetrators use this knowledge to extort money from families or employers by claiming to have kidnapped the victim when he or she is simply unreachable.

Whilst the majority of large companies in the developed world already have some form of kidnap and ransom coverage, said Mr Mills, many choose not to draw attention to such policies.

kidnapped

Coverage is often not disclosed to employees to stop them becoming targets. Employees can also commit fraud against companies.

“There have been various cases where individuals have apparently been kidnapped, only to be found later hiding out,” pointed out Mr Mills.

Willis argues that the kidnap and ransom coverage is ‘wide ranging’.

Policies usually cover not just the ransom (reimbursed, rather than paid directly by the insurer), but various other expenses involved such as travel costs, medical bills, rewards for informants and time away from work for those released-important considerations, given the length of time kidnapping cases can take to resolve, said the broker.

In addition to kidnapping, insurance also typically covers against extortion, wrongful detention and hijacking.

Added endorsements might include cover for loss of earnings, security costs in the case of threats, product losses as a result of extortion, and emergency repatriation.

Kidnap and ransom policies can also cover the costs of crisis-response consultants in the event of an incident. This is their real value, said Willis.

“The real value of these policies is in the resources that are brought to bear in the event of a kidnap,” said Mr Scurrell. “The overwhelming majority of multinational organisations can afford to pay a ransom, but they’re not likely to have the expertise and experience in-house to deal with a kidnapping.”

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