Parental Kidnapping – Now a Global Issue


May 27, 2013

Source: Boston Herald

On International Missing Children’s Day, marked May 25th, we remembered the thousands of missing children and the parents who grieve and plead for help. Since 2008, more than 7,000 American children have been abducted to a foreign country — not by a stranger, but by their other parent.

american_flag_kids

Such children are at risk of serious emotional and psychological problems and may experience anxiety, eating problems, nightmares, mood swings, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, resentment, guilt and fearfulness.

Members of Congress have seen the lopsided battles our constituents face to bring their children home from a foreign jurisdiction. Michael Elias, a combat-injured Iraqi veteran from New Jersey, has not held his children since 2008, when his ex-wife used her Japanese consulate connections to abduct Jade and Michael Jr. in violation of New Jersey court orders. Japan has refused to return the children or prosecute the abductor.

Elias told Congress, “All my hopes and dreams for their future now lie in the hands of others. … I am begging our government to help not only my family, but hundreds of other heartbroken families as well, to demand the return of our American children who are being held in Japan.”

Colin Bower’s children, Noor and Ramsay, were abducted from their home in Boston to Egypt nearly four years ago by their mother — who had lost custody because of her drug use and psychological problems. The Egyptian government facilitated the abduction by issuing fraudulent Egyptian passports, providing passage on the government-owned airline, and by shielding the mother, who comes from a well-connected family, from any accountability or responsibility.

American_Child

At a recent hearing Bower noted the billions of dollars in U.S. assistance to Egypt and observed, “Regardless of whatever moral, fiscal, or political balance you use, providing uninterrupted aid to a partner that acts this way is quite simply wrong. If this is American foreign policy, it’s flawed and it isn’t working. We aren’t getting what we pay for.”

Tragically, the Obama administration has limited itself to diplomatic requests for the return of the children. In the words of Bernard Aronson, former assistant secretary of state of inter-American affairs, “a diplomatic request for which there is no real consequence for refusal is simply a sophisticated form of begging.”

It is time for a new approach. That is why we have introduced H.R. 1951, the Sean and David Goldman Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013, which will give the president powerful tools to motivate a country’s quick response for the return of abducted children.

If a country has 10 or more cases not being resolved in a timely manner, or the judiciary, or law enforcement, or other responsible entity is persistently failing to fulfill their obligations, the president can take action to aggressively advocate for our children’s return — such as denying certain assistance, canceling cultural exchanges, opposing international loans, or extraditing the abductor.

This bill creates the expectation of action — not just words — to bring every American child home. In the words of then-Senator and now Secretary of State John Kerry at the 2012 passage of a Senate resolution calling for the return of the Bower children, we must “remain focused like a laser beam until this father is reunited with his two boys,” and every other abducted American child comes home. We can, and must, do more than talk.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R) represents New Jersey’s 4th District.

 

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook

profile pic.jpg

ABP World Group Risk Management

Contact us here: Mail

NOTE: We are always available 24/7

(646) 502-7443 United States

069 2547 2471 Germany

020 3239 0013 United Kingdom

01 442 9322 Ireland

031-753 83 77 Sweden

Iraq War Vet Says Wife Kidnapped Children To Japan


Source: CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A young Iraq War veteran is in the fight of his life against his ex-wife to bring his children home.

Michael Elias, who is now a Bergen County sheriff, claims his wife kidnapped their two young children and took them to Japan.

America, the country he risked his life defending, is powerless to bring his children back.

At 26-years-old, Elias has already endured more pain than most people ever will.

As a young Marine, the New Jersey native was injured twice in Iraq – the first time when he’d only be in-country two weeks, CBS 2’s Don Dahler reports.

“We were hit by an improvised explosive device around three o’clock in the morning, then we were ambushed by small arms fire,” Elias told Dahler.

When he returned from Iraq three years ago, Elias was greeted by his wife, Mayumi, and his two young children, Jade and Michael, Jr. He was also met with the news that Mayumi had been having an affair while he was at war and she wanted a divorce.

A Bergen County judge granted the couple joint custody and ordered that the children’s passports be surrendered, even though Elias had no idea what Mayumi was going to do.

elias and mayumi Iraq War Vet Says Wife Kidnapped Children To Japan(credit: Handout via CBS 2)

A few months later, Elias and his mother were expecting Mayumi to drop the kids off. But they never showed.

“My mother went over there and the apartment was completely empty, like ready to be rented. The very next day,” Elias said.

Mayumi, her alleged boyfriend and the children were on a plane to Japan.

Mayumi was able to obtain new passports for her children since she worked at the Japanese embassy processing visas and passports.

The question is, did anyone with the embassy help her?

The Japanese Consulate has yet to return any calls to CBS 2.

“I was horrified,” the children’s grandmother, Nancy Elias, said. “We just said, ‘Okay, she kidnapped them. She not only crossed state lines but she took them to another country. This is wrong, we’ll get them back.’”

elias children Iraq War Vet Says Wife Kidnapped Children To Japan(credit: Handout via CBS 2)

In doing their research, they quickly learned a devastating fact: of the thousands of children from all over the world who’ve been abducted to Japan, not one has ever been returned home.

“It’s a haven for child abduction,” Nancy said.

The problem is Japan is not party to the Hague Convention on Parental Abduction, and despite pleas by the U.S. State Department, there are no legal means to bring the Elias children back home.

“It has destroyed me, my son, my whole family,” Nancy said. “We’re never going to be the same. Never.”

“When she took them, she took my soul with her,” she added.

This past May at a congressional hearing on abducted children in Japan, Elias described the last time he saw his children via Skype.

elias and jade Iraq War Vet Says Wife Kidnapped Children To JapanMichael Elias and his daughter Jade (credit: Handout via CBS 2)

“My daughter Jade looked at her mother in heartache and said to her something ever so softly in Japanese. When I asked Mayumi what Jade had said, she replied, ‘She wants to be with you.’ The monitor immediately went blank. That was the last time I saw my daughter’s face.”

When Michael was in Iraq, it was clear who the enemy was, but not anymore. His most prized possession is now a photo of his daughter holding his hand the day he came home from war.

“It’s disgusting to me that this is allowed. We’re supposed to be the most powerful nation and these are our allies. These are not our enemies. I don’t understand what the problem is,” Elias said.

He vows to never give up but his only hope now, he says, is for the president himself to put direct pressure on Japan.

President Obama recently brought the issue of parental abduction up with the Japanese Prime Minister and urged him to resolve the hundreds of outstanding cases.

Follow our updates on Twitter and Facebook
Join the Facebook Group: International Parental Child Abduction