Parental Kidnapping – Dad walks 400 miles for vital cause – “He raises awareness about parental alienation”


December 14 , 2014

Source: theacorn.com

Parental Kidnapping

ON A MISSION—Patrick Glynn of Old Agoura completed a 400-mile “Walk for Lost Kids” that started Oct. 15 in Boston and ended returned Nov. 14 at the U.S. Capitol.

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The divorced father is raising awareness about the issue of parental alienation. With him is Sherry Palmer of Fix Family Courts, who arranged a rally in an effort to change how child custody decisions are handled in family court. Some parents call it legalized child abduction. Others call it kidnapping or emotional child abuse.

Parental alienation by any name wreaks devastating consequences on children throughout the nation, who, through family court decrees and psychological manipulation by one parent against the other, find themselves emotionally unmoored, distrustful and eventually broken as adults.

Divorce creates enough drama for children, but when one parent pits their vulnerable child against the other parent, the consequences can be devastating.

Patrick Glynn should know. The resident of Old Agoura went through a harrowing divorce, but he never dreamed that he, a devoted caregiver of his two daughters since they were born, would be seen as the enemy by his wife and the court system.

Abducted_Children_USA

To raise awareness of the impact of parental alienation on mothers and fathers throughout the nation, Glynn spent a month on a walk, speaking about the phenomenon that, at times, can be a form of brainwashing.

Called the Walk for Lost Kids, he trekked 400 miles from Boston to the U.S. Capitol from Oct. 15 to Nov. 14 to raise awareness and possibly enact some common sense laws to protect the rights of both parents.

Glynn’s story, unfortunately, is typical. Glynn was not deemed by the court as the primary caregiver to his daughters. Yet, nobody, including his ex-wife, could say he wasn’t there for his children.

“My financial situation forced me to find work 300 miles from my kids so I was forced to move,” Glynn said.

The long distance didn’t stop Glynn from seeing his girls every weekend.

“I drove the 10-hour round trip each weekend religiously,” he said. “Every break, every weekend was with my kids. When my case hit the courts, I learned firsthand how family court had little to do with justice. Simple assumptions, like expecting 50 percent access to my kids, were quickly swept away. My ex, probably egged on by her attorney, tried to declare my custody at 7 percent—an occasional dad. And from day one in court I had to prove myself a worthy father,” he said.

Glynn isn’t just railing against partners who play dirty in divorce court. He is furious at how the court system aids and abets in the agony of divorce and child custody cases.

“I went from being an involved, hands-on dad to the courts relegating me to seeing my two daughters for six weeks a year, all because my wife wanted a divorce,” he said. “Now I pay her support and alimony in return for her keeping my children away from me.”

losing money

Parental alienation is more than just keeping children away from their parents. In the most severe cases, a parent subtly turns children against a parent through psychological manipulation. Although Glynn’s divorce was thorny, he has a relationship with his children although it’s been diminished by the legal battles.

Regardless of whether the alienation is slight or severe, children suffer, he said.

“I’ve experienced the atrocities and injustice firsthand, and that’s why I decided to walk 400 miles,” he said. “On my journey, I heard countless stories of lost kids—all eerily similar. Family law attorneys and courts perpetuate an adversarial situation, pitting two parents against each other to battle over their kids and the profits that result from being ‘awarded’ custody rights.”

Glynn’s efforts are making headway. The Walk for Lost Kids was sponsored by Divorce Corp., a group that hosted a divorce reform conference in November.

But the battle for divorce reform has a long way to go since most of it resides in the hands of state legislators.

At the conference, Glynn and other parents stung by parental alienation tactics learned how other countries handle divorce and child custody cases. Flawed economics of the U.S. child support system, corrupt family courts and even racketeering between judges and attorneys were also discussed at the event.

Tragic tales of loss predominated but a few success stories were shared. Alimony laws have been reformed in Massachusetts, and a reportedly corrupt judge in North Carolina lost his seat to a man dedicated to reform in child custody cases.

According to the National Parents organization`s report, which rates each state’s shared parenting legislation, most earned a C or a D grade.California earned a D and New York an F.

When Glynn ended his 400-mile walk at the steps of the U.S. Capitol, he gave a speech. He talked about the defeat of divorce exacerbated by the humiliation of being driven into poverty by the family court system and “selfish” ex-spouses. But the most pain, he said, comes from having the children you have adored and raised since birth taken away.

“It’s this very humiliation that has allowed so much corruption in family courts to blossom,” he said. “What the courts are doing to remove loving parents from our children’s lives is unconstitutional, illegal but most of all, it’s just plain unethical.”

Glynn is proposing a 50/50 custody solution, where divorce automatically gives each parent 50 percent custody without court intervention. The option to relinquish time would be allowed on an annual basis. The law would eliminate the tendency for one parent to discredit the other in order to “win” the child custody battle.

“In the current system, the likelihood is that one parent will merely eliminate the other,” he said. “This is in the interest of the ‘winning’ parent, the lawyers and the judges but not in the interest of either the children or the ‘losing’ parent.”

In his speech, Glynn asked some pertinent questions. “What kind of people remove a loving parent from a child’s life,” he asked. “What kind of government puts a financial incentive in place to encourage the practice? There is not a single more destructive thing you could do to a child’s life than remove a loving parent.”

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How Family Court cases like Wylie vs Wylie provoke fugitive parents


October 6 , 2014

Source: The Australian

Some women who feel betrayed by the Family Court resort to desperate measures. 

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WE had dinner in May 2013, almost a year before the abduction.

Over pasta and salad she said there were dark and terrible things I needed to know about the matter of Wylie v Wylie, the pseudonymous title the Family Court of Australia gave its published judgments in one of the most bitter and complex cases in its 38-year history. “Ms Wylie” was bright, well-spoken and tortured by the belief that her husband, “Mr Wylie”, was sexually abusing their six-year-old twin daughters. She asked if I could help her. I could not.

On June 7, 2013, Family Court judge Justice Peter Tree, “after eight days of trial before me of fiercely contested competing parenting applications relating to the parties’ six-year-old twin girls”, ordered that Mr Wylie have sole parental responsibility for the major long-term care of his children and that Ms Wylie ask her GP for referral to a psychiatrist. “I am satisfied, on the material before me, that the concerns which inevitably would otherwise have flowed from the mother’s notice of abuse, have been sufficiently addressed by the evidence,” said Justice Tree.

That evidence included documents detailing the outcome of an investigation conducted by the Queensland Police Service and the Department of Child Safety into Ms Wylie’s child abuse ­allegations against her husband that found: “Nil physical evidence of sexual abuse indicated through medical examination; nil verbal reports from the children of abuse over four interviews with QPS and Child Safety; verbal report from [one twin] to QPS and Child Safety citing coaching from her mother to make statements.”

On February 14 this year, Ms Wylie sent me a 1549-word email: “I have now seen two psychiatrists, four psychologists and a victims-of-crime counsellor who have all said that I am sane. The father and the Family Court believe I am not, so I just keep being sent to another mental health professional. I believe that this will keep happening until one of them says what the court wants to hear.

“Everything is being done by those who should be protecting my children to protect their abuser, and [the twins] are still forced to live with him.

“One in four children are sexually abused. Only one in 100 pedophiles see the inside of a prison cell. It is not because children aren’t talking, it is that they aren’t believed, and, more often than not, if their abuser is their father, he is given custody.”

On April 1, Ms Wylie sent a message to me that was also sent to Acting Inspector Craig Weatherley of the Queensland Police Child Safety and Sexual Crime Group: “I have tried and tried to have faith that the people who are paid to protect my children would do so. This situation needs to be made very public. It is ­horrifying on so many levels.”

On April 3, Ms Wylie emailed me a photograph of one of her girls. She was smiling, in a red dress, wearing the same kind of purple angel wings that my own seven-year-old daughter wears on occasion. “This is a photo of [her] BEFORE she started bleeding from her rectum and contracting another vaginal infection,” Ms Wylie wrote. “Painfully thin, eyes sunken in her head, and apparently absolutely no need for concern in regards to how well she is being ‘cared’ for. Can you imagine what state she is in now? They say a picture says a thousand words. This is the reality of her life right now.”

Child-abduction

The next day, April 4, Mr Wylie dropped his girls at the gate of the school they attend. It was between 8.30am and 8.40am, the last day of school before the Easter holidays. He watched his daughters walk 30m from the car to the school gate, amid the usual chaos of school drop-off; kids running left and right, parents zipping back and forth. His eyes zeroed in on his children and he said to himself, “Gee, they’re getting big those girls.”

Sometime between entering the school gate and the sound of the morning bell, the girls vanished. The Family Court issued a media release that spread across the country: “Fugitive mother of two [Ms Wylie] remains on the run more than a week after she is believed to have abducted her twin daughters from their … primary school. By now, she could quite literally be ­anywhere in Australia.

“The suspected abduction is unlawful and in breach of Family Court orders which [Ms Wylie] consented to … It is inevitable that someone has seen the trio in their travels, and may even know their present whereabouts. Any assistance knowingly provided to a criminal to avoid punishment is itself a serious crime.

“Their father is deeply concerned and desperately seeking public help.”

Ms Wylie was issued one of the 520 recovery orders made by the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court in the past year, orders that Chief Justice Diana Bryant calls a “last resort” when parents don’t voluntarily return children, or take them on the run.

I went back over the emails Ms Wylie had sent me throughout the past year and my thoughts kept returning to her message of April 1, three days before the abduction. Her desperate course was mapped in two lines. “I have had enough of playing nice,” she wrote. “Following the rules does not work.”

I’m looking at Mr Wylie as he’s talking, ­telling me what it feels like to be a father of two kids still on the run with their mother, five long months after they disappeared. I’m studying his teeth, his hair, his skin and his speech to make foolish and unqualified gut assessments about whether or not he speaks the truth. He will get this for the rest of his life and he knows it. The stain of the allegation. “You have your best friends asking you outright, ‘Tell me now, did you do it or not?’” he says.

He cries when he says this, screws his face up, grits his teeth. The thought has a physical impact on him. “They want to help but they don’t want to be put in a position where they’re supporting someone who is a child abuser.

“One police officer said to me, ‘It’s the easiest allegation to make but the hardest one to prove and if you hate someone enough, that would be the way to go.’”

He pulls a small red rental car into a carpark on Brisbane’s suburban northside, where police have had unconfirmed sightings of Ms Wylie and her two daughters. “We used to live here,” he says. “She knows the area well.”

He pops his boot, takes a block of A4 posters marked, “ABDUCTED/MISSING $10,000 REWARD. For information leading to the location of missing 7-year-old non-identical twins… abducted by non-custodial parent in breach of court orders”. His girls beam in school uniform photos, one daughter missing her two front teeth. He sticks the posters to light poles, public noticeboards; hands them out to strangers.

“I came back to school at 3pm that afternoon to pick them up,” he says. “There were kids coming out and one little girl with her dad says to me, ‘What’s wrong with [one of the twins]? She wasn’t at school today.’ I thought she was just confused.

“Then I went in to where they wait to be picked up and there was no one there. I went up to their classroom and the teacher came out and said, ‘They haven’t been here all day.’” He shakes his head. “That’s not good.”

Tears fill his eyes again. “They found her car and the kids’ uniforms and school bags abandoned in the car about five minutes away from the school,” he says. “I don’t know whether she was waiting there, but, obviously, there’s been a changeover of cars.”

He shows me the text message he sent her immediately that afternoon: “Call me urgently.”

“I knew immediately it was [her]. I thought it was almost inevitable. She was getting to the end of the line. In terms of trying to push that line she was going with. There was no further way she could push it through the court. The only thing that was left for her was to take them.”

Mr Wylie met Ms Wylie in a public gym. They married in 2000, bought and renovated and sold houses in the property boom, travelled and worked through Europe. Their twin girls were born through IVF in 2007, when Mr Wylie was establishing his own small business.

“We had arguments,” he says. “We’d had a bit of conflict — mortgages, business debts. It was the usual thing, money. She had her ideas on business, I had mine. We had differences in parenting. We were fighting after the girls had gone to bed. Eventually I said we should split up.”

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And the war began. Fights over debt, fights over houses, legal fights over custody arrangements, accusations of domestic violence. Then Mr Wylie received a text message from Ms Wylie: “You need to talk to the Department of Child Safety, they’ve got some concerns.” A mandatory report had been made to the department alleging, Mr Wylie says, that one of the twins made a disclosure to an occupational ­therapist: “Daddy hurts me down here.”

A departmental “Assessment of Harm and Risk of Harm”, however, later determined that “the children are at risk of emotional harm as a result of the allegations being made that their father is sexually harming them. Their mother has advised that she was sexually abused as a child and believes that [Mr Wylie] is doing exactly the same things to her daughters. A parent who has been harmed as a child is more likely to display harmful parenting patterns relating to what they were subjected to themselves as a child.

“There is previous child protection history in relation to [Ms Wylie] alleging the girls were being sexually harmed by their father. The outcome of this investigation was Unsubstantiated as [the twin] advised that the rash was caused by her underpants being too tight.

“[Ms Wylie] appears to be experiencing a high degree of stress as a result of her relationship breakdown with [Mr Wylie].”

Mr Wylie sips water at a small cafe before setting off to walk the streets handing out ­pictures of his girls. “It’s vigilantism,” he says. “It’s laughing in the face of the law.”

He looks down at one of his reward leaflets. “The hardest thing to think about is the stuff they’re experiencing right now,” he says. “The fear, the anxiety, the ideas being put into their heads: ‘Daddy’s not safe.’”

In the five months she’s been on the run, somewhere across Australia, Ms Wylie’s story has spilled from the courts into the slaughterhouse of the internet. One men’s rights website has dubbed her a “child abuser, child abductor, fugitive, feminist”. A “Friends of…” website, on the other hand, lists testimonials about Ms Wylie’s character from family and friends, including Professor Ros Thorpe, emeritus professor of social work at James Cook University and president of the Family Inclusion Network Townsville, which considers the interests of both children and ­parents in the child ­protection process.

Almost a year ago, Ms Wylie made an aside to Thorpe, her friend. “It might come to the point where I might have to take off with them,” Ms Wylie said.

“I said to her, ‘I don’t think that’s a good idea because the consequences for you will be bad,’” says Thorpe. “I was shocked [but] I wasn’t ­surprised because she’s been tortured by this. I don’t think she’s mentally unbalanced at all. She has no psychopathology. She’s not crazy.”

Thorpe and her long-time friend Dr Freda Briggs AO, emeritus professor in child development at the University of South Australia, had been staunch advocates for Ms Wylie prior to the abduction. They believed her, heart and soul. They still do. They’ve called for a reinvestigation of the case, saying key witnesses — including family members who allege to have heard direct disclosures of abuse by the girls — were not interviewed during the harrowing investigations and court hearings.

Briggs is working on multiple cases of ­mothers who feel betrayed by the Family Court. “Why would these mums give up their jobs, their homes, their positions, their support ­networks and flee with their children if it wasn’t something serious? They are taking the children into hiding to protect them from the parent and the Family Court.”

Briggs analysed interview transcripts from the Wylie case and claimed “inappropriate questioning of the children” by police. “How does a police inspector know what language would have been developmentally appropriate for kids aged four and five?” she says. “It requires great sensitivity and special skill in interviewing young children. You need a child-­focused environment and you are required to spend a great deal of time with the child. Those children were interviewed all over the place, in police stations and in the school office. The police said the father… was safe and that he would never do anything to harm them. No responsible professional would make such a statement because no one can be sure what went on in that home.”

Mr Wylie counters: “Their argument is, ‘Police bullied the kids, they’re not experts in child development.’ Well, the Child Protection and Investigation Unit is specifically tasked with dealing with these issues and questioning these kids. Officers from Brisbane were flown up to interview the kids again, for the fourth time after this complaint was made. These were the best of the best, the head of all the CPI units in Queensland brought his senior detective up, the one who trains all the other CPI detectives. And it was exactly the same outcome. And then the supporters are like, ‘Well, it’s obvious the father is coaching them.’

“That’s what I put to Freda Briggs. I mapped it all out and I said, ‘What more possible investigation could there be?’ ”

Briggs says the case ­highlights a growing problem within Australian family law. “The Family Court was set up for divorces,” she says. “It was not set up for child abuse cases.

“These situations happen so frequently that now family lawyers and the women’s legal services advise the mothers to not tell the Family Court about child abuse because you are likely to be labelled as delusional or malicious and you become the bad parent. The focus goes on the mother and the mother loses the child.

“What we would really like is to be able to get child abuse cases out of the Family Court or ensure that judges or participants are experts in child development and child abuse which, currently, they are not.”

When he retired from the Parramatta Family Court last year, seasoned judge Justice David Collier made a rare public statement about an increase in accusations of child abuse in hostile cases. “I’m satisfied that a number of people who have appeared before me have known that it is one of the ways of completely shutting ­husbands out of the child’s life,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald. “It’s a horrible weapon.”

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Alastair Nicholson was Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia from 1988 to 2004. “I have a lot of time for David Collier but I wouldn’t put it as strongly as that,” he says. “I think, on the other hand, these fights get very bitter and you certainly will get some cases where that will happen. Of course, the real risk anyone takes who makes a false allegation is that if you make false allegations, and knowingly do so, the court’s very likely to say, ‘Well, you’re really not fit to be a parent of the child because you’ve been prepared to use the child in this way.’ So it may all go very pear-shaped from that person’s point of view. To say nothing of the child.”

A separate specialist court to process such matters is not the answer, according to ­Nicholson. “There’s only so far you can go with this specialist concept,” he says. “You’d go crazy ­hearing these cases all the time. The judge does. You have to have a break from it. I’d be very ­worried about the effect of having a specialist court just dealing with these cases.”

He welcomes, however, a broader system that better connects the long-disconnected ­systems of state and commonwealth. “It’s pie-in-the-sky stuff, but I’ve long thought that instead of having state child protection courts and the federal family court with a child protection capacity, there should be one system throughout Australia because, otherwise, it really doesn’t work very well. There’s more co-operation than there used to be but it’s still not an ideal system.”

Either way, he says, and “despite the determination of individuals, there has to be a stop somewhere” — meaning a legal decision that all parties must live with.

“It is, of course, easy to make an allegation,” Nicholson says. “Of course, you get some outright liars, but in my experience there were a lot of cases where a suspicion had arisen and the person becomes convinced that the suspicion is reality. They’ll blame the systems, they’ll blame the experts, and you always have that ­terrible feeling, ‘Well, maybe they have got it right.’ It’s one of those things that you lie awake at night about.”

Dad, I am so angry right now. I cannot believe that my own father would lie to me for my whole life and just pretend like everything is OK … I will not wait any longer for my psychopathic father to tell the truth. I have already given you more than 10 years … I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t been destroyed by your lies. You NEED TO GET HELP NOW. Don’t end your life living with a lie. Make the most of the rest of your life and get help. You are a very special person to me, make sure you remember that. I will never stop loving you but I absolutely HATE your behaviour.

Abbey [surname withheld]

That is an edited letter written by a 14-year-old West Australian girl to her father in December 2010. In May last year, Abbey ­disclosed to her mother that her father sexually assaulted her repeatedly between the ages of three and seven. In November last year, Abbey took her own life, aged 17.

In 2002, Abbey’s father was charged with the sexual assault of Abbey’s best friend when she was seven. It would take Abbey years to disclose that she, too, had been assaulted by her father with her best friend on regular sleepovers.

In 2005, her father was convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, released on parole after two years. Upon his release, despite protestations from Abbey’s mother, the father was granted access visits with his three children by the Family Court of Western Australia. “In my attempts to protect my children, I was treated as a hysterical woman by the Family Court, even though [the father] had been charged with child sexual offences at the time,” Abbey’s mother says. “I was made to look like a vindictive wife instead of what I was, a protective mother.”

She has called on the state government to launch an inquest into her daughter’s death. Meanwhile, national child protection advocate Bravehearts has launched Abbey’s Project in her daughter’s name, calling for and recording exhaustive statements from Australians who have experienced “instances where deficiencies in the Family Court practices, policies and procedures have resulted in children being assaulted and placed at serious risk of sexual harm”, ­culminating in a report to be submitted to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston hopes the project will be “the precursor for a much larger and broader inquiry into the operations of the Family Court of Australia and related child protection organisations and institutions”. She says: “Every week in Australia, the Family Courts are ordering children into contact with, and even into the custody of parents who are dangerous, toxic and abusive because Family Courts do not have the powers, expertise and resources to competently investigate allegations of child abuse.”

Court-ordered contact with her father left a pre-teen Abbey deeply confused, says her mother, seeding the anorexia and self-loathing that plagued her teens. “I know why [Ms Wylie] is running,” says Abbey’s mother. “Because she’s alone. It makes you feel sick. For 10 years I have felt sick. All I was trying to do was protect my kids through the Family Court but I was so alone. No one heard me. And now Abbey’s dead.

“I know why mothers run. I wish I had run myself. Abbey would still be here.”

Ms Wylie’s parents live on a sprawling Queensland cattle property. It keeps them busy; keeps their minds off thoughts about where on Earth their daughter and grandchildren might be. They say their daughter is a resourceful woman, as at home in a tent by a creek bed as she is in a plush hotel suite.

The couple has been receiving counselling through the past five months. “I worry where they are,” Ms Wylie’s mum says. “Are they OK? It gets cold and I think, ‘Are they warm enough?’ I know they’ll be happy with their mother though. She will spend her time trying to make them happy.”

Family Court of Australia Chief Justice Diana Bryant has a far grimmer picture in her head. “Abduction of children always has a detrimental impact on the children,” she says. “First, there is the removal from familiar surroundings, school, friends and family, and especially the other parent. Then there is the subterfuge and hiding and often the adoption of false identities. Children may also be kept away from school to avoid detection.

“In order to live in this situation and where children are old enough to ask questions, a regime of denigration and rejection of the other parent is often necessary to justify the circumstances. This is likely to have a long-term detrimental psychological impact on the children.

“Once located, the possibility that the children could be removed from the abducting ­parent will also be traumatic for them. When a parent abducts a child and goes into hiding, the children will inevitably be harmed and will always be the losers in these situations.”

“The grandparents want the children to live with them,” says Briggs, referring to the Wylie case. “It’s not going to happen, is it? He’ll get the kids back and she’ll go to jail.”

“What do you mean, ‘What if he is innocent?’ ” asks Professor Thorpe. “You mean, ‘How would I react?’ Well, I would find it very hard to believe and accept, just as his supporters find it hard to believe that he has abused the girls.”

Every day, meanwhile, Ms Wylie’s parents finish their day’s work on the farm and then go inside and wait by the phone for news of their daughter. The only way they can communicate with her is through news pieces such as this. “Take care,” her dad says. “And we love you.”

Sometimes the phone rings late in the night, wakes them up. “Hello?” her dad says. “Hello?”

But there’s no response. Only silence.

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Disturbing figures reveal Greater Manchester had almost twice the national rate of child abductions and kidnappings


September 10, 2014

Source: manchestereveningnews.co.uk

Police investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

Crying-child

GMP investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

Greater Manchester had nearly twice the national average rate of child abductions and kidnappings last year, the M.E.N. can reveal.

Police investigated 46 abductions and 20 kidnappings of children across the region between April 2013 and March this year.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act by charity Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT), show that in 2013/14, GMP recorded 2.4 incidents of the crimes for every 100,000 people. The national average is 1.3.

There were seven incidents where parents abducted their children. Parental abduction often happens when the couples separate or begin divorce proceedings.

Figures show that more than two children, on average, were abducted or kidnapped every day in England in 2013/14.

The statistics – from 36 out of 39 police forces – show that there were 504 child abductions and 302 child kidnappings between April 2013 and March 2014. In 30 per cent of child abduction cases, the child was abducted by a parent.

Further figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the number of child abductions across England and Wales rose in 2013/14 for the first time since 2004/05; from 513 to 569 – an 11pc increase.

Child abduction is the act of taking a child away from their family, carer or person who has lawful control of the child without consent or lawful justification. Kidnap is similar, but the child is usually imprisoned.

Stockport MP Ann Coffey, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, said: “These figures for Greater Manchester are very disturbing. It must be terrifying for a child to experience abduction or kidnapping. Everything possible must be done to return missing children as quickly as possible.

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“We clearly need to find out the reason why Greater Manchester appears to have a higher number of abductions and kidnappings than some other areas, because it’s not clear to me why that is.”

Geoff Newiss, director of research at PACT said the figures only paint half the picture, with many abductions, particularly by parents, going unreported.

He added: “These new figures illustrate that Greater Manchester is not immune from the problem of abduction. Abduction covers a broad range of offences, including custody disputes, grooming offences, stranger sexual abuse and revenge attacks.

“A number – of all types – of abduction are not reported to the police.”

Commenting on the findings, Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick, from GMP, said: “Although the figures are higher the national average, the number is still very small within a county that holds a population of just under three million people.

“However, protecting the children of Greater Manchester is one of the Force’s priorities and we take all reports of child abduction seriously, thoroughly investigating each case.”

Charity’s schemes will help protect children

Charity bosses are raising awareness of abduction and kidnap figures to highlight two new resources to protect children – the UK Child Abduction Hub and Child Rescue Alert.

Parents and Abducted Children Together (PACT) and Missing People are urging people to make use of the services, with abduction rates rising for the first time since 2004/5.

The UK Abduction Hub, set up with cash from the People’s Postcode Lottery, gives information and advice on child abduction.

Child Rescue Alert allows anyone to sign up to receive free alerts – by text, email or via social media – if a child is taken in their area.

Kate McCann, mother of missing Madeleine, launched the new Child Rescue Alert on International Missing Children’s Day earlier this year.

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Kate McCann (left), mother of Madeleine McCann, and Coral Jones, mother of April Jones, at the launch of the new Child Rescue Alert earlier this year

Bosses say abduction comes in many different forms, of varying severity, and that government statistics do not provide the level of detail required to fully illustrate the risks.

The new services, they say, could save a vulnerable child’s life and are aimed at making sure every family across the fact knows the facts about abduction and kidnap.

 

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UK arranged marriages: Kidnapping, rape and murder in the name of family honour


November 26 , 2013

Source: ABP News

“We have kidnappings, abductions, assaults, sexual offences. Anything that you can imagine could happen, does happen, in the name of honour,” says Nazir Afzal, Crown Prosecutor for the north-west of England.

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And murder – 10 to 12 cases a year. Yet as the hyper-active, smartly dressed lawyer concedes in his Manchester office, violence invoked in the name of family honour, mostly by citizens of South Asian and Middle Eastern origin, is often hidden and unreported.

Mr Afzal knows about honour, having grown up in Birmingham in a Pakistani Muslim household.

Honour, he says, can be a good thing, helping bind families and communities together.

But, “at the moment in so many communities, in so many families, it is merely used to suppress women, to oppress women. So, if they misbehave in some way, or make their own choice, they have dishonoured the family. If men do the same, well it’s men – you know they do what they want. Regrettably too often it’s used to control women.”

After World War II, Britain received waves of migrants from its former colonies in India, Pakistan and later Bangladesh.

Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and others came, some for higher education, but mostly to work in the factories around London and in the Midlands and north of England.

dishonor_murder

In England, generations who self-identify as Asian now number more than 4 million, 8 per cent of the English population.

‘In the name of the father, the son, and the male members of the family’

Arranged marriages are a still a feature of migrant communities, with parents agreeing that their children will marry, particularly first cousins. But for teenagers growing up in the United Kingdom, torn between the strictures of home and the freedoms of 21st century Britain, arranged marriages too often become forced marriages.

“There are probably between 8,000 to 10,000 forced marriages or threats of forced marriages in the United Kingdom every year,” Mr Afzal says.

“We prosecuted more than 200 cases last year of honour-based violence. What we have here are crimes in the name of the father, the son and the blessed male members of the family.”

Currently there is no law against forced marriage in the United Kingdom. That will change early next year, with new legislation similar to that introduced this year in Australia.

Hundreds of young girls disappear from British schools every year

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a unit devoted to trying to prevent young people, mostly girls and women but also boys and men, being compelled to travel abroad to marry someone whom in many cases they have never met.

The Forced Marriage Unit handled 1,485 cases last year, 35 per cent of them involving teenagers aged 17 or younger. One of its biggest problems is trying to track down people who travel to South Asia and never return.

Mr Afzal says a British government survey of school pupils highlighted the problem.

“They discovered hundreds and hundreds of young girls, and by that I mean 11, 12, 13-year-olds, who would just disappear off the school rolls.”

While it is illegal in the United Kingdom for anyone to marry under the age of 16, marriages involving children still happen in South Asia and the Middle East.

Sometimes girls do not return to Britain until they are pregnant, the theory being that this may assist the process by which the husband seeks residency in the United Kingdom.

Girl told to ‘put a spoon in your knickers’ at airport to avoid being sent abroad

Jasvinder Sanghera, who escaped a forced marriage by running away from her Sikh family home in Derby at the age of 15, formed Karma Nirvana 20 years ago to help people in trouble.

She says the Leeds-based charity has received more than 30,000 calls since 2008.

“To me that’s a drop in the ocean … it could be quadrupled,” she said.

 

Ms Sanghera recalls an occasion when a girl feared she was being taken abroad against her will.

“The call handler said, ‘Put a spoon in your knickers. When you go through security it will go off and at that point you’re going to be stopped by a security guard and say I’m being forced to marry’. Which is exactly what she did, and it saved her life.”

Campaigning on the issues of forced marriages has given Ms Sanghera a high profile, an MBE, a meeting with prime minister David Cameron and with countless senior police and other government officials. And yet she believes schools, police and communities are not taking forced marriages and honour-based violence seriously enough.

“If you are Asian and missing from education, the same questions are not asked as [of their] white counterparts here in Britain,” she said.

“And that has not changed because we know there are hundreds going missing off our school rolls. Maybe they’re not being forced into marriage, but the point is, ask the question and look into it. They’re not even doing that.”

As for police: “There are some police forces which are doing sterling work now and trying to get it right. On the ground it’s a different story. There are 43 police forces across the UK and I would refer to potentially four [getting it right]. You know, it’s very much dependent on the person you get on the day.”

British police have been severely criticised for their failures in a series of high-profile honour killings:

  • Banaz Mahmud, 20, strangled on the orders of her father and uncle
  • Surjit Athwal, 27, murdered on the orders of her mother-in-law and brother-in-law
  • Shafilea Ahmed, 17, suffocated by her parents.

In each case, police initially, and in some cases repeatedly, failed to comprehend the seriousness of the threat.

As Ms Sanghera tells trainee detectives in Birmingham, relating the Banaz Mahmud case: “She told police her family was planning to kill her because she’d left an abusive marriage and was seen kissing a man outside a Tube station. And she was not believed. She was dealt with as being melodramatic, fantasising.”

Just a month later she’d been raped and garrotted, her body packed in a suitcase and buried in a garden.

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Tacoma police conduct child abduction drill


September 13, 2013

Source: kirotv.com

TACOMA, Wash. — 

Tacoma police conducted a child abduction drill Thursday. Everything about the drill was supposed to feel real, all the way down to how they brief the media to get the word out.

Tacoma_Police

The drill is practice for something they said has happened too often in Tacoma — 16 child abductions in about the last 50 years.

It was a nightmare scenario for parents. A girl in a park abducted by a stranger vanished as police moved to find her and her kidnapper before it’s too late.

But this was not a real abduction, it was a drill by the Tacoma Police Department’s Child Abduction Response Team or CART. The drill conducted Thursday morning on the city’s northeast side is part of an effort for police to win national certification, making them one of 20 CART teams nationwide and the only one in Washington state.

One notable abduction was that of Teeka Lewis, who disappeared in 1999. Her mother still goes back every year to the place she vanished. At the time, 2-year-old Lewis disappeared from a bowling alley that has since become a Home Depot

Teresa Lewis, Teekah’s mother, said watching the drill brought back memories of her daughter’s disappearance. “It’s like I’m reliving that day,” said Lewis.

Teekah Lewis is one of 16 children abducted by a stranger in the city of Tacoma since 1961. Tacoma police said that number is considered high among law enforcement.

The training hopes to better the law enforcement response to similar situations in the future.

Thursday’s drill was part of a certification process conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice and the National Criminal Justice Training Center. Police Detective Lindsey Wade said having a CART team in place when an abduction happens gives police what they need most: an organizational structure for rapid response that helps cut the amount of time it takes to get law enforcement mobilized, civilian resources in place to filter through tips and telephone calls and to alert news media outlets to broadcast information that can lead to valuable clues.

“About 76 percent of the time when a child is killed during a stereotypical abduction, it happens within three hours,” said Wade, “so that’s not a lot of time for us to react.”

There were people from different departments who will work on how to respond to abductions more efficiently.

The drill ended with a Tacoma police SWAT team locating the suspect, who was portrayed by a police officer, and the victim, a teenage actor, well before the deadline.

Alan Wolochuck, an assessor with the U.S. Department of Justice, praised the department’s performance after the drill. “They did very well. One of the best that we’ve seen around the country,” said Wolochuck.

Lewis said she believes the abduction of her daughter, along with other unsolved cases, helped spur the department to assemble the CART team. “The resources they have now, I wish they had them back then so she would have been found,” said Lewis.

A decision on the team’s application for national certification is expected to take about two weeks.

Related

Child abduction drill in Tacoma photo
Child abduction drill in Tacoma
VIDEO: Tacoma police conduct child abduction training gallery

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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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Kidnapping – Reporters in Yemen seen as high-value targets


August 7 , 2013

Source: Al Jazeera

A video confirming fears that a Dutch couple had been kidnapped in Yemen has increased concerns about the risks facing journalists in the country

Reporters-in-Yemen-seen-as-high-value-targets

Reporters in Yemen seen as high-value targets

A video confirming fears that a Dutch couple had been kidnapped in Yemen has increased concerns about the risks facing journalists in the country.

Evidence that Dutch freelance journalist Judith Spiegel and her husband Boudewijn Berendsen had been seized was posted on YouTube in mid-July.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is warning that reporters are now seen as “high-value targets” in a wave of kidnapping that has plagued the country, while Reporters Without Borders has voiced alarm at the growing threat to media staff.

In the the minute-and-a-half video, Spiegel and Berendsen – missing since June – appear scared and tearful as they plead for help.

“My name is Boudewijn Berendsen…”

“And my name is Judith Spiegel. We are kidnapped, here in Yemen. We have a huge problem,” they tell the camera.

Negotiations to secure their release are not proceeding well, Spiegel adds: “So far, nothing has been done. No reaction, no results. These people are armed. If there’s no solution, they will kill us.”

It remains unclear who is holding the couple, who claim on the video that their captors were demanding progress within 10 days, but do not specify what their demands are.

Their abductors’ deadline has since expired.

Premonition

The freelance journalist and stringer for multiple Dutch media knew she risked kidnap, writing in a column for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad in March: “When I’m lying awake at night, I realise that I’m nowhere safe in this country…

“The idea of having to spend months with these extremists troubles me, and I don’t want to appear in a movie with a Kalashnikov pointed to my head, as happened to Dominik [Neubauer, an Austrian student who appeared in a video in February 2013], ” she wrote.

Soon after Spiegel and Berendsen were reported missing, a Sanaa police official told Yemeni press it was likely they had been kidnapped .

Both the Yemeni and Dutch government remain tight-lipped about the case, and the journalist’s parents have released few details about what is known.

Frans Timmermans, the Dutch foreign affairs minister, posted on his Facebook page a short statement claiming that victims of abduction always have the ministry’s full attention and that it was important to remain calm.

In a a short written statement, Spiegel’s parents said they knew the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was dealing with the case.

“We realise it’s [the ministry’s] policy that no information is released, and that when it does, it’ll be us knowing first.

“Of course, we find this very difficult, but our only priority is that Judith and Boudewijn are released as soon as possible and are in safety.”

The Yemeni human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman called on her Facebook page for the country’s president and prime minister to direct their personal attention towards efforts to effect the pair’s release.

“If not for Judith and her husband, for the sake of the reputation of Yemen that’s worsening with each passing day this couple is kidnapped,” she wrote.

Wave of kidnapping

Anthropologist Marina de Regt, who has worked and lived in Yemen and knows Spiegel, told Al Jazeera that kidnapping was now a prominent feature of life in the country where an old “tradition” has grown into a lucrative business.

“The situation has become increasingly dangerous since the Arab Spring in 2011,” said de Regt.

Recent victims include a Finnish couple and Neubauer, kidnapped by al-Qaeda fighters then freed four months later. A week ago, an Iranian embassy employee was seized by gunmen.

“It’s a result of the Yemeni government, not being able to hold on to its people, which is devastating for the country,” explained de Regt.

“The Netherlands and Yemen have a very good relationship, and are probably working very closely to solve this. Still, every case differs… [and that is] what makes it so difficult to negotiate.”

The CPJ argues that “disgruntled tribesmen have resorted to abductions to pressure the government to release imprisoned family members and extort political and financial compensation. Some captives have been sold to, or abducted by, al-Qaeda linked Islamist militants”.

Quirine Eijkman, a researcher at the Counterterrorism Centre of Leiden University , told Al Jazeera: “Over the past two years, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has grown stronger, making Yemen a more fragile country than it already was.

“It’s not for nothing that the United States started employing drone strikes in Yemen. Although I believe that because of these drone attacks, bad sentiment and anger towards the West has grown.”

Reporters Without Borders condemned the abduction, and media outlets have expressed their concern for Spiegel and Boudewijn and are following the case closely.

Rebecca Murray, a journalist who has worked for Al Jazeera from Yemen, praised her Dutch colleague: “[Judith] is one of the few foreigners here that has ventured beyond compound walls and the sensational headlines, to show the world what Yemen and Yemenis are really like, and the daily hardships they face.”

Murray stressed that all the Yemenis she knows – including local journalists – were outraged at the kidnapping.

“There is always a nagging fear you could be abducted on your way to or from the field,” she said.

“We are definitely watching each others’ backs more closely, evaluating risk and tightening security precautions. But as journalists, we still need to go out to get the real story.”

 

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Lawmaker looks to reduce risk of child abductions in divorce cases


July 13 , 2013

Source: wincountry

LANSING, MI- State Senator John Proos is backing new legislation that would give divorce judges the power to order a change of custody for children when they perceive a risk of parental abduction. 

Senator John Proos

Proos says that, sometimes, a parent will kidnap a child when the divorce isn’t going smoothly. This plan would let judges evaluate possible risk factors and respond accordingly.

Risk factors for parental abduction might include previous threats to do so, or recent actions to get a passport. The new law would let a judge order prevention measures like imposing travel restrictions or placing the child’s name in the US Department of State’s Child Passport Issuance Alert Program, in addition to the possible custody changes.

 

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Kidnappings in the Philippines: “Run and we will kill you – Warren Rodwell`s Story


June 17 , 2013

Source: KRmagazine

At 6pm on December 5, 2011, 55-year-old Warren Rodwell, who was building a house on the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines, had downed tools for the day when four gunmen ambushed him

Warren Rodwell on his kidnapping in Philippines

“RUN and we will kill you.”

When Australian adventurer Warren Rodwell heard those words, he knew he was not simply under arrest.

Warren-Rodwell

It was 6pm on December 5, 2011. The 55-year-old, who was building a house on the Zamboanga Peninsula in the Philippines, had downed tools for the day when four gunmen ambushed him

“I’d been on the phone and was just on the outside of the house in an enclosed area. Two guys came around one way pointing rifles at me and shot me in the hand. The other two came around from behind and handcuffed me,” he said.

“When he shot me I swore at him, then he said ‘police’ and pulled out a pair of handcuffs. It all happened too quickly.

“We had to walk two or three kilometres through rice fields. They were behind me trying to hit me with the butt of the rifle and kick me to move me. The guy said ‘run and we will kill you’.

“I was in front and by the time we eventually got to a river and into a boat, I realised I was being kidnapped.”

The gunmen wore military uniforms and their M16 rifles were plastered with police insignia.

The former Australian soldier knew to stay calm and do as he was told when they forced him into a stolen community boat. A similar vessel would carry him to freedom 15 months later.

THE PHILLIPINES

Sydney-born Rodwell lived a nomadic lifestyle. He had trotted the globe twice and seen about 50 countries when he decided to settle in one of the most dangerous parts of the world and marry Miraflor Gutang, 26 years his junior.

“I was looking at early retirement in the Philippines because it was halfway between China, where I’d been teaching for about 10 years, and Australia,” he said.

“I didn’t have a great deal of money but I’d saved some and this was one place that I could buy a bit of cheap land, put a house on it and it’d serve the purpose for my Filipino wife.”

His plan was for the couple to eventually split their time between the three countries, but by late November 2011 it began to unravel.

He separated from Ms Gutang and she moved back in with her parents. He continued working on their house, in what he said was considered a ‘safe area’.

Two weeks later, he was kidnapped.

bullet wounds

STAYING ALIVE

Within hours Rodwell realised the rebels who kidnapped him were untrained. After an hour on the boat one of the motors caught on fire and exploded.

“They were kicking the boards that were on fire on to me. Then they were throwing the diesel overboard. As soon as the first guy went overboard so did I. I was in the sea handcuffed. I thought I would drown,” he said.

He was pulled back on to the boat, which his captors then paddled for five hours to an island. It was then apparent they were lost.

“They moored the boat in behind a great big naval ship. The next day the army was there with their military helicopters so we had to hide from them for fear of being shot. Then they took me on an eight-hour boat trip that night. I had to change boats, then the smaller boat hit a rock and it looked like we were going to drown in this raging sea. It was like a movie.”

Filipino police have identified the al-Qaida linked group Abu Sayyaf as being involved in Rodwell’s kidnapping.

For the first three months in the jungle, he thought they were going to kill him.

“I very much so (thought I would die) from having my head cut off. I was going to go crazy thinking about it. I thought the best thing is, just accept it,” he said.

“A couple of times people would cock their weapon and threaten to shoot me and I’d just say ‘Go ahead you f…g idiot … I’m worth 10 million Philippine pesos ($AUD250,000) and you’re worth none so go ahead and shoot’.”

But Rodwell was not the only one who was nervous.

“We got caught at times on the mountains and below us would be civilians coming for water and above us would be the military patrols,” he said.

“The fear was that if the military found our camp, they’d just start shooting. They wouldn’t be looking for me. They’d just shoot anyone they could see.

“Sometimes there were civilians around because they’d come in to do illegal logging or we’d be near a mosque or school. Whenever our presence was found we’d move on. They couldn’t trust anyone because if there was another rebel group they’d try to steal me.”

As his life descended into disaster, Rodwell fought to control his mind by thinking about history, dates and numbers.

“That was the hardest thing of all,” he said. “I had no books or notepads but sometimes the newspaper would be brought in and I’d have my photo taken with it for proof of the date and I’d keep it. I didn’t have any reading glasses but I’d still read the whole newspaper.”

Despite his military experience as a field engineer in the 70s and his acquired survival skills, he never tried to escape.

“I had opportunities but you wouldn’t even call it an escape because there was nowhere I could go,” he said.

“Even if I did get away, the area is all controlled by Abu Sayyaf. That would be like jumping out of the frying pan. It wouldn’t be a smart move at all.”

CAPTIVITY

For the next 15 months Rodwell fought to stay sane amid the constant threat of being shot or beheaded.

He was moved between 30 different locations within the Basilan Islands as his captors tried to evade the military and other militant groups.

Most of the time he was cold and starving. At about 7pm each day, he would climb into his hammock with a roaring stomach.

But he ate as often as his captors. On a good day he was fed boiled rice but at times he went up to six weeks without proper food.

“A treat might have been a can of sardines shared with three or four others,” he said.

“Sometimes it might be one small piece of dried fish. If they added anything to the rice it was one thing only. Sometimes they’d add a shrimp or small prawn but it was pretty meagre.

“At times what I would do to flavour the boiled rice is I would use the conjunctivitis from my eyes because I don’t get much nourishment or taste out of boiled rice. When it goes two or three days of boiled rice only, that’s a lack of oxygen getting to my brain and I start getting headaches and disoriented.

“Some of the messengers that would come in were sympathetic towards me and they would smuggle in bananas and things like that.”

His captors also caught wild birds and cooked tree roots.

There was no sanitary and Rodwell went months without washing.

“I had a wash every three or four months with a bit of water out of a bottle,” he said.

“I did acquire a razor and I’d shave all of the hair off my body for cleanliness. That was a way to keep my body clean. It’s an old military trick. Then I wouldn’t get lice or anything.

“Going to the toilet was a problem with the broken hand. The guy would pour water down my back like you would with a baby.”

He spent about 10 weeks in the mountains and the rest of the time in mangrove swamps.

“At the beginning all I had was a pair of shorts but I acquired and stole some clothes. I’d use whatever I could. One sleeping bag was broken so I tore that and wrapped that around me,” he said.

“When I got transferred in boats they’d sometimes put a blanket around me so I’d steal that. I did end up eventually having a balaclava and then a Filipino army shirt.

“The big problem for most of the time was mosquitos. In the jungle swamps we’d be attacked quite ferociously.”

Warren-Rodwell-2

CAPTORS

Rodwell’s captors, who spoke no English, were child-like.

“The reason I was treated badly was because they don’t know how to look after themselves,” he said.

“Most of my captors were pretty good-hearted souls but being Muslims they’re not restricted by the 10 commandments. They just see it as anyone who’s foreign as having a market.

“This whole thing is a cottage industry. They’re all second and third generation. I only met one or two people who were jungle fighters. The rest were civilians, around 19-20 years old.”

During his time in captivity, Rodwell was guarded by about 100 different rebels.

Within weeks of his capture, his kidnappers began to soften and signs of Stockholm syndrome set in.

“I bonded enough with my guards that on December 31 they took the handcuffs off and gave me something to shave with,” he said.

“It was a bit scary. The only mirror I had was the handcuffs to look at and I could see all this grey hair appearing on my face.

“I had so many changes of guard that I’d recognise the behaviours in them. The married guy would be in tears because he’d miss his family. A couple of them went crazy.

“With others we’d listen to the noises in our stomach from hunger.”

RELEASE

When a ransom of $94,600 was paid on February 3 this year the captors kept their hostage.

“The delay was that between the different levels (of the group) some people were trying to do a side deal on their own,” he said.

“Apparently it was at the insistence of the vice governor that they must release me otherwise he wouldn’t help them in the future with any cases.”

Rodwell had been told on a number of occasions throughout the 15-month ordeal that he would soon be released.

“I believed no one. I didn’t build up hope. I became emotionless,” he said.

“I started suffering PTSD during the captivity and I started healing myself by analysing the situations a lot.”

Throughout, his militant captors released a series of “proof of life’’ videos as part of their ransom demands.

When the “proof of life” questions increased in frequency, he knew something was afoot.

“They were sending questions through every month instead of every two or three months. I also knew something was happening because I’d been moved very close to a fishing village,” he said.

“It was just a gut feeling and it was that weekend that I actually got released.”

As the tide went out on March 22 and darkness fell, Rodwell was put on a boat. After about two hours at sea, he was transferred to a smaller fishing boat and taken to shore.

“The fisherman paddled it to shore and told me to get out. I was told to start walking and say ‘please help me, please help me’.”

He was spotted by Pagadian wharf workers in the early hours of the next morning and taken to the local police station. It was now March 23 – his dead mother’s birthday.

He was then transported to the US military base at Zamboanga for treatment before being flown Manila to recuperate.

During this time he decided against a reunion with his Filipino wife.

“I wasn’t ready to talk to anyone because I know that when she does talk to me, sometimes it ends up being a heated debate trying to understand and communicate,” he said.

“When I’m dealing with the police and we’re doing interviews about the ordeal, I haven’t really got time for someone (breaking down on me). That’d be like being attacked by a wild animal in the dark.

“I also delayed speaking to my children and siblings for a few days because I wasn’t ready.”

Rodwell said he did not believe his estranged wife was involved in his abduction.

“These Filipinos just love to talk. It’s quite possible that with Miraflor, being a bit loose-lipped, that might have helped with the information being disseminated about me being a foreigner and where I was living. It’s just a lack of prudence but these things happen.”

RECOVERY

It has been 18 months since Rodwell was shot and his hand still hasn’t been operated on.

“I’m waiting to go on a waiting list,” he said. “I’ve already been rejected from one waiting list at the Royal Brisbane Hospital because it’s too long and I’m waiting to hear back from QEII hospital.”

He has been diagnosed with PTSD, has damaged nerve tracts in his lower legs and feet and chipped teeth from trying to open coconuts.

But amazingly, he says he is recovering well.

“I’m seeing a private psychologist. Everything is good. I don’t have nightmares. I’ve pulled up pretty well,” he said.

“At the moment I’m still alive and all things considered I’m quite functional.

“I don’t need to see the psychologist for another three months.”

Read about ABP World Group`s CAC – Conduct After Capture Course 

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Conduct After Capture ( CAC) Course for Civilians / Companies that Operate in High and Medium Risk Areas


June 8 , 2013

ABP World Group Ltd.

Kidnapping is the number one form of monetary extortion around the world. It’s used so often by criminals, guerrillas, separatists, rebels, terrorists and drug cartels as a means of funding and intimidation that it’s practically an art form. There are even different regional styles.

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive. This course will be held in the south of Spain.

CAC Course

Al-Qaeda leader urges kidnapping of Westerners

Kidnappers

Kidnapping cases differ in the motivations of the kidnappers, the demands being made for the release of the hostages, and the circumstances where the kidnapping has occurred. Terrorist and criminal groups both use kidnapping as a tactic to achieve their goals.Terrorist groups often target foreigners. In some instances, terrorists have killed their kidnap victims when their demands were not met. Foreign employees, particularly those in the oil and mining sectors, aid and humanitarian workers, journalists, tourists and expatriates are regularly targeted.Terrorists may use local merchants such as tour and transport operators to identify foreign visitors for potential kidnap operations. Hostages may be taken by their captors into a neighbouring country. Humanitarian workers and tourists in Kenya have been kidnapped by militants and held in Somalia.Pirates have kidnapped hundreds of people, usually holding them for ransom. Pirates have attacked all forms of shipping, including commercial vessels, pleasure craft (such as yachts) and luxury cruise liners. For more information you should read the Travelling by sea bulletin.In South America, terrorist groups are known to kidnap for ransom. Colombia has one of the highest rates of kidnappings in the world, often perpetrated by groups such as the FARC and the National Liberation Army (ELN) in rural areas. Foreigners, including children, have been kidnapped and murdered.Cultural festivals are also attractive places for terrorists and criminals to identify and target tourists for kidnapping. These festivals bring people to predictable locations along unsecured routes.

10 Countries Where You’re Most Likely be Kidnapped for Ransom

1. Afghanistan

There’s nothing quite like a war with al Qaeda and the Taliban to put this country at the top of the kidnapping list. Combine that with the fact that much of the landscape is still lawless and no wonder this country reported 950 kidnapping for ransom per year. Now that the war is over, a power vacuum certainly exists and the place is still a haven for terrorists, arguably making it even more dangerous than when American forces first arrived.

2. Somalia

Though piracy has been driven to a three-year low thanks to ships hiring armed security and increased action from the world’s navies, Somalia remains a high risk for kidnapping because of the abject poverty and a government not strong enough to stop crime. At least two people are taken in Somalia every month. Among those taken offshore, there are still more than 200 hostages in the region; just in January, a hostage was killed in a botched rescue attempt by French forces.

Hostage Situations

3. Iraq

American combat forces may have left Iraq, but the danger is still ever present. Though no official stats on kidnapping are collected, the country topped this list in 2007 with an estimated 1,500 kidnappings that year. Crisis-management assistance company Red 24 still places the country in the top three because of its combined political, terrorist and criminal groups all carrying out kidnappings for ransom. Not to mention the ever-present threat of civil war, which will only increase the likelihood of kidnappings should violence between Sunni and Shias resume to its 2007 level.

4. Nigeria

This country records more than 1,000 kidnappings for ransom a year. At the time of this writing, seven foreigners have been taken by armed militants from a construction company’s camp after a guard was killed. [Editor’s note: The seven hostages have since been reported as murdered.] Seven hostages makes this the biggest kidnapping yet in a country plagued by Islamic extremist groups. The one responsible for the latest kidnapping is called Ansaru; they are linked to al Qaeda and were allegedly responsible for an attack on Nigerian troops traveling to Mali in 2012.

5. Pakistan

Official American ally Pakistan has been known to harbour terrorists, including Osama Bin Laden, right under the nose of its military. They also harbour hostages—official statistics say there are more than 15,000 kidnappings in Pakistan a year, but the real number could be much higher due to underreporting. Perhaps more troubling is that between 10 and 20 percent of kidnappings are for ransom. Most of the others were killed during rescue and, in the case of Daniel Pearl and others, beheaded.

6. Yemen

Last December, when an Austrian man and a Finnish couple were kidnapped in broad daylight on one of the safest streets in the capital city of Sana’a, it highlighted just how lawless the city has become. Sana’a is normally immune from the tribal instability that affects the rest of the country, but this year kidnappings, car-jackings and general crime is on the rise. In the country overall, more than 200 foreign nationals have been kidnapped over the past 20 years.

7. Venezuela

Venezuela has one of the highest rates of abduction per capita in the world—just asked Wilson Ramos, the Venezuelan-born Washington Nationals catcher was kidnapped in his own country last year before being rescued. There were 1,000 kidnappings in just the first 10 months of 2011. The country puts “Express Kidnappings,” in which a ransom is demanded that an individual or family can easily pay, on the map. Sometimes you’ll hear of “The Millionaire Walk,” in which a traveller is trapped by a cab driver who picks up armed thugs before taking the passenger to a number of ATMs—maxing out their bank account with every stop.

8. Mexico

Thanks mostly to the failed War on Drugs, the Council for Law and Human Rights reports that there are about 72 kidnappings a day in Mexico, which puts the annual kidnap rate at 26,280 for the year. This is in direct contradiction to the statistics reported by the federal police, which put the kidnapping rate at 1,083 between January and September in 2012—a rate of 4.5 kidnappings per day. The council blames the abduction situation on corruption within the federal police. “The big problem we have in Mexico, in terms of security, is precisely the bodies that should provide security to citizens,” Fernando Ruiz , president of the Council for Law and Human Rights, told The Latinos Post.

9. Haiti

Thankfully, kidnappings have gone down in Haiti since their peak between 2004 and 2006, but the director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti reports that they are still “fairly frequent.” The U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security agrees, but also says incidents are less predictable and more widespread than they used to be. Montreal’s La Presse suggests that kidnappings have not exploded since the earthquake in 2010, but they do rise during the holiday season, thanks to the belief that families have more cash on-hand during that time to pay for gifts and school tuition.

10. Colombia

Incidents have dropped over the past 10 years, but kidnapping still remains an ever-present threat in Colombia. The country still has one of the highest numbers of kidnap victims in the world; in the last few years, kidnappings have started to rise again from the all-time low of 172 in 2009 to 258 in 2011. The rise has been attributed to kidnappings carried out by drug cartels such as Los Rastrojos, but guerilla groups like the FARC AND ELN still play a prominent role.

 Other known risk areas:

Alergia, Libya, Morocco, Jordan, Philippines, Lebanon, Syria, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa.

The Risk is eminent in the middle east and many of the South and Central American countries, Africa and in some parts of Asia

For the CAC course (Conduct after Capture) contact ABP World Group. The objective of this course is to better prepare civilians for a kidnap/hostage situation and improve their chances of getting home alive. 

This course will be held in the south of Spain.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

Visit our website here: www.abpworld.com

profile pic.jpg

ABP World Group Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

Worldwide International Number: +47 40 46 65 26

 Skype: abpworld