Christmas A Time of Parental Child Abduction Risk


November 3, 2012

Source: SOS Childrens Villages 

It`s only a few weeks until Christmas. We know that many children will be abducted this holiday season. We urge you to be aware of the risk, and take precautions. Martin Waage, ABP World Group Ltd.

This post is from December 2011.

A European Union official has commented on the region’s work on international parental child abduction at the same time that security actors have warned parents to be vigilant about protecting their children over the holidays.

International child abduction is on an upward trend and the Christmas season is one of the higher-risk periods for parental abduction—particularly when it comes to multi-cultural relationships.

Yesterday, the European Union (EU) Commission Vice-President (Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship), Viviane Reding, made a statement on the issue in Strasbourg.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s policy to promote the rights of the child. I welcome the initiative of the European Parliament Mediator for international parental child abduction,” she said.

Within the EU, the International Law Association (ILA) Regulation mandates courts within EU member states to not refuse an order to return a child to his or her state of origin, if within the EU.

While the laws do not prevent or solve all cases of international parental child abduction, disputes between EU member states are solved more efficiently and swiftly, Ms. Reding noted.

Among the improvements made to the legal system is the removal of the exequatur rule.  This has allowed for a shorter time period in which courts may recognize and enforce judgments made by another state.

In international cases related to child custody and parental abduction, the Hague Convention applies. All EU member states are state parties to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and more countries are gradually signing on.

The Convention aims to protect children from the harmful impacts of abduction and retention by providing a protocol for international cooperation for their return to their country of origin.

According to a press release circulated by PR Web, the ABP World Group (which is an international leader in security matters related to child and adult abduction recovery) is warning parents worried that the other parent may illegally leave the country with their child to use new technology, such as GPS tracking devices, to protect their children.

Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP World Group, stated, “With international child abductions happening at a record pace, ABP World Group urges parents to take every precaution to protect their children from this horrible fate.”

“Tragically, the number of global parental abductions occurring is an unknown due to failures by governments to keep accurate data,” he added.

However, using the situation in the United States as “microcosm” for the rest of the world, there could be as many as 125,000 children illegally abducted between now and 2020. In Canada, these numbers alone could reach 12,000-15,000, based on current reported cases with a modest 20 per cent growth factor, said Mr. Waage.

While Canada is also a signatory to the Hague Convention, though many countries in the Middle East and Asia are not. 

 

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It’s parental kidnapping season


Holiday season signals an increase in cases of child abduction

 

Incidents of international parental child abduction – where a child is taken overseas without the other parent’s consent or contrary to a court order – are expected to peak over the summer, according to the FCO’s Child Abduction Section.

In many cases, parents pretend they are going on holiday with their child to their country of origin and then fail to return.

Worryingly, it is also common for parents not to realise that they have committed a child abduction offence. Research recently commissioned by the FCO* showed that a third of people didn’t know that if you take your child abroad without the permission of the other parent, this may be considered abduction under UK law.

“International parental child abduction, whether intentional or not, can cause huge distress to families.

“If a parent wishes to take their child to live in a new country they will normally need either the permission of the other parent or the British courts. Cases of parental child abduction increase in the summer holiday period. We urge parents who are worried to get specialist legal advice and contact our Child Abduction Section and the charity Reunite which can provide them with information to try to prevent an abduction from happening in the first place, or to try to resolve disputes if a child has already been taken overseas.

“We also see cases where British nationals simply return to the UK with their child after their relationship breaks down whilst living abroad – this is still likely to be considered abduction. A parent will normally require the consent of the other parent and possibly permission from the courts of the country concerned. It is important that a parent obtains legal advice before taking any action.”

If you are worried that your child may be abducted overseas you should:

  • Seek advice from a  family lawyer and  request a Prohibited Steps Order (or equivalent depending on where you  live in the UK) prohibiting your child from being taken out of the UK
  • In the event of an imminent abduction (in the next 24-48 hours), contact the police who may be able to issue an All Ports Alert to try to prevent a child from leaving the UK.  The police in England and Wales do not need a court order before instituting a port alert.  Police in Scotland do need a court order.
  • Ensure that you keep their child’s passport in a safe place and contact the Identity and Passport Service (and relevant local embassy if your child has dual nationality) to request that another passport is not issued without your permission

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Lawyer Liable for $950,000 Judgment in Parental Abduction Case


Source: Lawdiva`s Blog

A lawyer who mistakenly released a child’s passport to the child’s mother, contrary to a court order, has been ordered to pay $950,000 to the father of a child abducted by her client from New Jersey to Spain.

The parents of Victoria Innes, Peter Innes and Marie Carrascosa, were married in Spain in 1999 but resided in the United States. Their daughter, Victoria, was born in 2000. Their marriage ended in 2004. Victoria had both US and Spanish citizenship.

After an acrimonious dispute Victoria’s parents signed an agreement in 2004 that prohibited both parties from international travel with Victoria without the consent of the other parent. The agreement also provided that Victoria’s passport would be held in trust by Ms. Carrascosa’s lawyer.

When Ms. Carrascosa changed lawyers her file was delivered to the new lawyer, however, her new lawyer, Madeline Marzano-Lesnevich, was not aware that Victoria’s passport was to held by her and not released to her client without Mr. Innes’ consent or a court order.

Ms. Carrascosa, a lawyer in Spain, took advantage of the situation, obtained the passport from her lawyer and promptly fled to Spain where she and her daughter stayed with Victoria’s maternal grandmother. Later Ms. Carrascosa returned to New Jersey but refused to return Victoria, alleging the Spanish court had jurisdiction and would not let Victoria leave the country until she was 18-years-old.

In the meantime, Victoria’s father had obtained an American order for custody of Victoria and attempted to enforce it, to no avail. Ms. Carrascosa was charged with contempt of court and interfering with custody and was sentenced to fourteen years in prison, where she has been languishing since 2006, determined not to comply with American justice.

Despite all efforts and the involvement of Spanish/ American judicial mediators at the Hague Court in Holland, Victoria remains in Spain.

Parental abduction is the worst form of child abuse. While the Hackensack court undoubtedly meted out strict punishment, so far it has not motivated Victoria’s mother to relinquish her hold on Victoria.

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Guarding Against International Parental Child Abduction: Part II


Source: divorcelawyerconnecticut

Two Parent Signature Law for a Passport

The United States does not have exit controls on its borders for holders of a valid passport. This makes preventing a passport from being issued to your child without your consent very important. Generally, if your child has a passport, it can be difficult to prevent the other parent from removing the child to another country without your permission.

U.S.law requires the signature of both parents, or the child’s legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S.passport to children under the age of 16. To obtain a U.S.passport for a child under the age of 16, both parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport).

EXCEPTIONS: The law does provide two exceptions to this requirement: (1) for exigent circumstances, such as those involving the health or welfare of he child, or (2) when the Secretary of State determines that issuance of a passport is warranted by special family circumstances.

Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program

You may also ask that your child’s name be entered into the State Department’s Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP). Entering your child into the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program will enable the Department to notify you or your attorney if an application for a U.S.passport for the child is received anywhere in the United Statesor at any U.S.embassy or consulate abroad.

If you have a court order that either grants you sole custody, joint legal custody, or prohibits your child from traveling without your permission or the permission of the court, the Department may refuse to issue a new or renewal U.S.passport for your child. The Department may not, however, revoke a passport that has already been issued to the child. There is also no way to track the use of a passport once it has been issued, since there are no exit controls for people leaving the U.S.If your child already has a passport, you should take steps to ensure that it is kept from a potential abductor by asking the court or attorneys to hold it.

IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND:

  1. The United Statesdoes not have exit controls.
  2. The Department of State may not revoke a passport that has been issued to a child, but you can ask a court to hold onto it.
  3. There is no way to track the use of a passport once it has been issued.
  4. Your child might also be a citizen of another country (dual nationality). Even if he/she does not have a U.S.passport, your child may be able to travel on the other country’s passport.

The Privacy Act and Passports

Passport information is protected by the provisions of the Privacy Act (PL 93-579) passed by Congress in 1974. Information regarding a minor’s passport is available to either parent. Information regarding adults may be available to law enforcement officials or pursuant to a court order issued by the court of competent jurisdiction in accordance with (22 CFR 51.27).

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Florida Divorce and Custody Disputes that Lead to Parental Abduction: What To Do To Recover Your Child


Source: Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer Blog

In a Florida family law case involving children, such as divorce, paternity, or change of custody, emotions can run rather high.

Unfortunately, stress often surrounds these experiences and the consequences of the stress, if not handled properly, can lead to horrible actions by one parent. A parent who feels their world is caving in may turn to extreme acts, like abducting their child. Florida law has accepted, like most states, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) which rules that initial child custody determinations should be made by the child’s home state.

A child’s home state is the state in which a child has lived with a parent or guardian for at least six (6) months. It also determines that if a parent, in fact takes a child, the child should be returned to the home state unless an emergency lead to the fleeing (e.g. physical abuse of the parent and/or child by the other parent).
The UCCJEA allows for protection of the parents and the child by providing for legal action to be taken if a parent were to abduct the child. In the United States, there are numbers cases of parent abduction each year and having a protection like the UCCJEA is vital to recovering the children. What it allows is for the nonoffending party to file a petition with the court for an emergency child pick-up. The petition must state the actions of the other parent and give a place where the parent and child are most likely located. Once an order is entered in the home state of the child, like Florida, then the order must be adopted by the state where the child is physically located. Once the order is adopted, it is enforceable against the parent with the child and the parent is required to return the child to the home state. If the offending parent refuses or fails to do so, then the parent may be charged with kidnapping, not to mention the impact that parent’s actions will have on any custody dispute pending in the court.


In Florida, there are many individuals that moved from other countries and as a family law attorney, I often have clients concerned that the other parent will return to his/her country with the child. If a child is taken, without consent of both parents, to a different country, then the Hague Convention on International Kidnapping and Child Custody will have to be employed. The countries that have adopted this action often work diligently at having the child returned to the United States. However, not all countries have adopted the Hague Convention, which can lead to additional jurisdictional issues. A passport for a child requires both parents to consent by signing the application; if this is a concern of yours then you should deny the child getting a passport.
Child abduction is a serious matter and having an understanding for your rights and what actions can be taken to protect you and your child are vital in any type of case. If you have experienced a child custody battle or abduction, then you should speak with a family law attorney in your area for immediate assistance.

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Father searching for abducted daughter


Source: Phillyburbs

The day before Thanksgiving Max Troitsky got a call from his mom asking if he knew that his estranged wife and toddler daughter were visiting Russia.

He didn’t, but should have. Anna Troitsky was not supposed to leave the U.S. with their only child without his permission under their court-ordered custody agreement.

Nearly two months later, the Bensalem man is going public with what had been a private and bitter custody dispute in an effort to convince his wife to bring their daughter home or convince Russian authorities to intervene.

His attorney believes the situation could be Russia’s first test under the Hague Abduction Convention, which dictates civil aspects of International Child Abduction. In October Russia joined the Convention as a partner country, meaning it will honor civil verdicts issued by foreign courts, such as custody orders.

The U.S. State Department has seen a sharp increase in the number of international parental child abductions.

The federal agency had 1,135 reports of international child abductions in fiscal year 2009, and most of the alleged abductions were in Hague Convention partner countries, according to the most recent U.S. Department of State statistics. In 2006, there were 642 international abduction cases.

That same year, 436 children abducted or wrongly retained in foreign countries were returned to the United States, most of the children were returned from countries that are Hague Convention partners with the U.S.

The Troitsky’s custody saga started not long after the couple, both Russia natives, filed for divorce in 2010 after five years of marriage citing irreconcilable differences, according to court papers. At the time, Julie was 7 months old.

After the couple separated, Troitsky moved to Bensalem and Anna, Julie and mother-in-law Elena Demyanyuk continued to live in the family’s Upper Southampton home.

As the divorce and custody cases proceeded through the courts, Anna filed a petition seeking court permission to relocate to either Moscow, Russia, or Denver, Colorado, where her brother lives.

Troitsky says Anna, who came to the U.S. shortly before they married, often fought his efforts to get more visitations and overnight stays with their daughter.

“What parent doesn’t want to spend time with your child,” he said. “It was painful to me, painful to my parents, who rarely see their grandchild.”

In mid-November, though, a Bucks County judge issued custody order granting the couple shared legal custody of Julie. Anna had primary physical custody and Troitsky partial physical custody including weekends, overnight and weekday dinners. The judge also denied Anna’s request to relocate to either Russia or Denver, according to court papers.

Troitsky claims Anna only started talking about wanting to return to Russia after the divorce was filed, but he never anticipated his wife would violate the custody order.

“I certainly had no idea they were contemplating this,” he said.

The Courier Times was unsuccessful in reaching Montgomery County attorney Matthew F. Fox who is listed in court records as representing Anna Troitsky in her divorce and custody cases.

Four days after the final custody order was issued, though, Anna, Elena and Julie secretly left the U.S., Troitsky said.

Newtown Township attorney Jeff Leibmann, who represents Troitsky, believes Anna was able to leave the U.S. with Julie, who did not have a U.S. passport because she added her name to her Russian passport. Russia allows its citizens to add the names of children to the passports of parents.

Two days after arriving in Moscow, Elena told Troitsky’s mom in a phone call the three were in Moscow for a few days visiting Anna’s sick father.

Elena allegedly claimed that when Anna and Julie tried to return to the U.S. they were turned away at the airport because of a passport issue with Julie. She said Troitsky had to send a consent letter showing he authorized her to leave the U.S. with Julie, as required by their custody agreement.

The next day, when Troitsky reached Anna on the phone, she assured him she planned to return with Julie, but she also wanted a guarantee that she wouldn’t face criminal charges for taking their daughter out of the country.

Troitsky says he agreed not to pursue legal action. He made Anna an appointment at the U.S. embassy in Russia to start the process to get Julie a passport but she didn’t show up, Troitsky said.

Two days later, on Nov. 26, Troitsky said, Anna told him that she decided she wanted to stay longer in Russia. During that conversation, Troitsky spent a few minutes with Julie on Skype. It was the last time he saw or spoke to her, he says.

Within days, Troitsky says his suspicions that Anna had no plans to return were confirmed.

After he visited the Upper Southampton home, he discovered most of Anna and Julie’s clothes and personal belongings including family photos were gone. All the joint legal documents, including the deed to the house and title were gone, as were the car keys. He learned she quit her job after arriving in Moscow.

“It was clear she had no intention of ever coming back,” he said.

Troitsky and Anna had their last phone conversation three days before an emergency custody hearing was scheduled in Bucks County Court, he said. She told him she didn’t know when she’d return to the U.S.

At that hearing, a Bucks County judge ordered Anna to return to the U.S. with Julie within seven days, otherwise full physical and legal custody would be transferred to Troitsky.

But as far as he knows the three remain in Russia, most likely Moscow.

The U.S. embassy in Russia has been providing updates to Troitsky, but there hasn’t been much to report recently. The embassy has not had much success reaching Anna and Elena and even if they do, they can only encourage her to return, Leibmann said.

The embassy also has reached out to the Russian authorities for help finding Julie, but they are not under any obligation to help find her until Russia establishes a Central Authority to oversee compliance with the Hague Convention.

Troitsky said there is no reason his estranged wife should want to limit his access to Julie. There are no abuse allegations or evidence in any of the custody trial or related investigation. A check of county court records shows no protection from abuse orders filed against either Troitsky.

At this point, Anna may believe that she will be arrested if she returns, Troitsky said, adding he is not interested in pursuing criminal charges. The Upper Southampton police and the FBI have been notified about the situation to get Julie’s photos added to Interpol and U.S. law enforcement databases.

To get his daughter’s face, and his story, into the public eye, Troitsky and his supporters have created a Web site, called “Help Bring Julie Home.”

Troitsky says he has been on an emotional rollercoaster and he has spent many sleepless nights wondering about his child. He misses their special “father-daughter kind of moments.”

“At this point all I want to say is bring Julie back, come back with her, we’ll figure out the details of the custody,” he said. “Taking a child away from a father is not an option.”

In a few weeks Julie turns 2. The most time passes without contact with his daughter, the more Troitsky worries.

“She is probably starting to forget me,” he said.

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Abducted children not priority, fathers say – Canadian police and courts called ineffective


Source: CBC News

Two Canadian fathers whose children were allegedly abducted by their mothers and taken to European countries say authorities have done little to try to enforce court orders and bring them back.

Calum Hughes breaks down when he talks about how he misses his little girl, who he has not seen since 2009. (CBC)

“I’m holding my hands up going, ‘Can somebody please do something about this?'” said Calum Hughes, whose five-year-old daughter Livia was allegedly abducted by her mother from B.C. and taken to Italy in 2009.

“Somebody is not doing their job behind a desk,” said Gary Mezo, from Thunder Bay, Ont. His two-year-old son Gary Jr. has been in Hungary for a year. Court records confirm his mother took him there without his father’s permission.

“I believe Canada has to put its foot down — finally — and do whatever is written in law what has been ordered in court.”

There is a two-year-old Canada-wide warrant for the arrest of Hughes’s ex-wife, Sibylla Verdi, for child abduction. He hasn’t seen Livia for 2½ years.

“It’s the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing I think of before I go to sleep at night,” said Hughes, of Kelowna, B.C.

Fathers have legal custody

Hughes is a hospital administrator and Mezo a successful businessman. Both were granted sole custody of their children by Canadian courts, but they said those orders have proven meaningless.

“A Canadian Supreme Court full custody ruling has no teeth,” said Hughes. “There’s not a lot of consequence that I see for a parent to just pick up and leave.”

Mezo alleges his ex was planning to abduct his son for more than a year.

“Before my child left, I told the police several times, please do something,” he said.

He has an affidavit and emails from a boyfriend of his child’s mother, showing she planned to leave and then claim abuse.

“He felt so bad that he couldn’t live with himself. He said that he had to do something about it. He wants me to have my child back,” said Mezo.

The Missing Children Society of Canada said while it has seen a steady increase in calls about international parental abductions, there is effectively nothing in place that could have prevented the abductions.

Child’s rights ‘at risk’

“The child’s rights are at risk here,” said private investigator Ted Davis. “A woman or man who wants to take their child [outside Canada or the U.S.] can simply jump on a plane and leave.”

Davis said his office is working on 60 cases of international abductions from Canada, dating back six years.

The latest RCMP figures show there were 237 reports of parental abduction in Canada in 2009 and 41 per cent of the children were under the age of five.

More than half the cases were resolved or withdrawn within a day. RCMP spokesperson Julie Gagnon said she didn’t know how many of the remaining children were taken to other countries.

She said when there is a warrant, as in the Hughes case, the RCMP can ask Interpol to put a “red notice” in the system, so the alleged abductor could be arrested at any border crossing.

She said, depending on the country and the case, extradition can also be initiated.

Dads desperate

However, Hughes said he heard nothing from the RCMP after a charge was laid against his ex-wife two years ago.

“They have done nothing,” said Hughes. “What message are we sending to everybody out there? If you don’t get a court order that you like, take your kid and leave the country? You will suffer no consequence? Is the Canadian justice system OK with that?”

RCMP spokesperson Dan Moskaluk insisted the investigation is still active.

“Resources involved in advancing this case since 2009 has involved RCMP investigators from the Kelowna detachment to assistance from our international policing branch liaison officer in Italy,” Moskaluk said.

CBC News sent messages to Sibylla Verdi, but received no response.

Mezo said he tried to get Thunder Bay police to pursue abduction charges in his case, but the investigating officer told him she couldn’t get approval. He believes that is partly because his wife falsely alleged he was abusive.

“It boils down to one thing — no reasonable grounds to get a charge approved,” said Thunder Bay police spokesperson Chris Adams. “These cases are very problematic. We don’t have the authority to enforce custody in another country.”

“It’s a very expensive proposition to initiate extradition on an abduction charge,” said Davis. “It’s not a priority [to police]. They don’t like getting involved in family cases when it’s not a life-threatening situation.”

Davis said under the current system, where parents can make applications for the child’s return under the Hague Convention, it takes two to three years and several thousand dollars to get children back, and it can only be done with signatory countries.

System slow, expensive

“If there’s no one stirring the pot, then no one is working the case,” he said. “The system is effective, but slow and very, very expensive.”

Both fathers made Hague applications. Italy refused to send Livia home, though, because the court believed his Italian ex-wife’s assertion that Hughes was an unfit father, allegations that were rejected by a Canadian court.

“That’s all needless details and garbage,” said Hughes. “I’ve spent over a hundred thousand dollars and how many hours in court. I’ve ended up with nothing in terms of a relationship with my daughter. ”

Mezo’s application is stalled in the Hungarian court system, which has sympathized with the Hungarian-born mother of his son.

“The Hungarian court said that ‘well there is no warrant out for her. She didn’t do anything wrong in Canada. So therefore we take it all with a grain of salt whatever the judge ordered in Canada,'” said Mezo.

His son’s mother, Boglarka Balog, sent an email to CBC News, again claiming abuse.

“The [Hungarian] court will value the behaviour of Gary that was violent so much in Hungary too, not only in Canada,” she wrote.

“Countries protect their own,” said Davis. “The stumbling block in Hague cases is when the court [overseas] is convinced there’s risk to the child [if returned].”

Call for exit controls

Hughes and Mezo said Canada should put some type of exit control in place, to try to stop parents from leaving with children they don’t have custody of.

“I was devastated when I learned [Livia and her mother] were gone because I knew what that meant,” said Hughes. “If they had been stopped, this would have all been prevented.”

“It’s happening everywhere [in the world]. But nobody is doing anything about it. Somebody has to step up and put their foot down and say enough is enough,” said Mezo.

Airlines and governments advise travellers to have a consent letter from the other parent if they want to fly with a child alone, but that system is voluntary.

“It’s smoke and mirrors — and those letters can be forged,” said Davis, who agreed exit controls are needed. “We have a file cabinet full of international cases.”

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed airlines can do nothing to stop a parent from leaving with a child, even when they don’t have a letter.

“Since there’s no governmental requirement, the airlines have no legal mandate to be checking these,” said spokesperson Perry Flint, who added airlines could open themselves up to lawsuits if they refuse to let a paying passenger board.

A U.S. government agency recently proposed establishing a “no fly” list – for parents who the courts have ruled are likely to abduct their children.

CBC News asked several federal departments if something like that is being considered for Canada. Transport Canada said it is not, Foreign Affairs did not reply and Public Safety said that would not be its department.

Both fathers said their children have been let down by a system that is ineffective and hasn’t made children’s rights a priority.

“I’ve tried everything by the book,” said Hughes. “This [going public] is my last hope to ever see Livia.”

“I wouldn’t have imagined in my dreams that my country would let me down or let my son down,” said Mezo. “It’s hard to go to work and pay taxes … when this country is not backing you up.”

Read: International Parental Child Abduction: The Hague convention – Proved Useless 

Read: When the Hague Convention won`t help

And: The Hague Convention is not enough to recover your child

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Parental Child Abduction: American Father Fights to Bring Children Home From Egypt


Source: abcnews

Colin Bower said he still remembers the shock and horror he felt during a phone call he received in August of 2009. A male caller informed him that his children had been taken to Egypt, Bower says, and that if he made any attempts to contact authorities, he would never see them again.

He was supposed to pick up his two boys, Noor and Ramsay, 9 and 7 at the time, from a scheduled visit in Boston with their mother, Mirvat El Nady, Bower says. A U.S. judge had granted him sole legal custody after the couple’s divorce in 2008, and El Nady, a British and Egyptian citizen, had limited visitation. Those restrictions, Bower says, along with findings in the divorce proceedings raising doubts about her truthfulness, angered El Nady and prompted the kidnapping.

Bower, a financial consultant from Boston, said he later learned that El Nady had taken the children to John F. Kennedy airport in New York, purchased one-way tickets to Cairo with cash, and allegedly used Egyptian passports with false identities to get the boys past security and onto an EgyptAir flight.

Bower has sued the airline, alleging they failed to pick up on serious red flags: the boys’ surnames did not match their mother’s and the boys’ passports had no U.S. entry visas. Barry Pollack, who is representing Bower in the case, says EgyptAir should have safeguards in place for potential abduction cases.

“Airlines have every right to require the parents to show dual parental consent forms to prove that the adult has the right to take that child overseas,” Pollack told ABC News.

EgyptAir declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit. Just last month, lawyers for the airline filed a motion asking that the suit be dismissed. Regarding parental consent forms, their motion argues that EgyptAir is only required to review passports and that “airlines simply do not have the manpower required to track down and contact non-traveling parents to discuss their children’s travel.”

The motion for dismissal also cited a recent report on international child abductions by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The report, which says the annual number of cases of abductions reported has tripled since 2000, suggests that airlines “do not have the authority to verify or enforce court and custody orders in an effort to prevent international parental child abductions.”

Instead, the report states, that responsibility belongs to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Bower says that’s letting airlines off the hook.

“The GAO report clearly represents the interests of the airlines, not the safety of the passengers or their children,” Bower said. “This should absolutely terrify every parent.”

In response to an email from ABC News, the GAO said, “The report does not state that airlines have no responsibility to check identifications, nor was it intended to suggest that airlines are prohibited from requesting verified or certified copies of custody orders in order to prevent child abductions. …The report makes a general statement which was intended to reflect the distinction between the role and authority of the courts, law enforcement officials, federal agencies, and private sector entities such as the airlines.”

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U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443

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

Christmas A Time of Parental Child Abduction Risk


Source: SOS Children’s Villages Canada

A European Union official has commented on the region’s work on international parental child abduction at the same time that security actors have warned parents to be vigilant about protecting their children over the holidays.

International child abduction is on an upward trend and the Christmas season is one of the higher-risk periods for parental abduction—particularly when it comes to multi-cultural relationships.

Yesterday, the European Union (EU) Commission Vice-President (Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship), Viviane Reding, made a statement on the issue in Strasbourg.

“Preventing child abduction is an essential part of the EU’s policy to promote the rights of the child. I welcome the initiative of the European Parliament Mediator for international parental child abduction,” she said.

Within the EU, the International Law Association (ILA) Regulation mandates courts within EU member states to not refuse an order to return a child to his or her state of origin, if within the EU.

While the laws do not prevent or solve all cases of international parental child abduction, disputes between EU member states are solved more efficiently and swiftly, Ms. Reding noted.

Among the improvements made to the legal system is the removal of the exequatur rule.  This has allowed for a shorter time period in which courts may recognize and enforce judgments made by another state.

In international cases related to child custody and parental abduction, the Hague Convention applies. All EU member states are state parties to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, and more countries are gradually signing on.

The Convention aims to protect children from the harmful impacts of abduction and retention by providing a protocol for international cooperation for their return to their country of origin.

According to a press release circulated by PR Web, the ABP World Group (which is an international leader in security matters related to child and adult abduction recovery) is warning parents worried that the other parent may illegally leave the country with their child to use new technology, such as GPS tracking devices, to protect their children.

Martin Waage, Managing Director of ABP World Group, stated, “With international child abductions happening at a record pace, ABP World Group urges parents to take every precaution to protect their children from this horrible fate.”

“Tragically, the number of global parental abductions occurring is an unknown due to failures by governments to keep accurate data,” he added.

However, using the situation in the United States as “microcosm” for the rest of the world, there could be as many as 125,000 children illegally abducted between now and 2020. In Canada, these numbers alone could reach 12,000-15,000, based on current reported cases with a modest 20 per cent growth factor, said Mr. Waage.

While Canada is also a signatory to the Hague Convention, though many countries in the Middle East and Asia are not.

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

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

U.S Phone Number: (646) 502-7443
UK Phone Number: 020 3239 0013 –
Or you can call our 24h Emergency phone number: +47 45504271

Middle East / Lebanon: Experts urge state to curb Parental child abduction


Source: The Daily Star

BEIRUT: The government was urged Monday to sign up to an international agreement that would help reduce the rate of child abduction in Lebanon.

Experts from several countries gathered to discuss The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, of which Lebanon is not a signatory, and measures to combat what is a growing trend of missions relocated against their will.

“Our biggest problems come with non-signatories of The Hague convention,” said Allison Shalaby, the acting director of British anti-abduction charity Reunite. “The more awareness we can raise the more we can reduce the number of abductions.”

Shalaby, whose own daughter was abducted to Egypt, said that a large proportion of abductions were committed by parents who are unaware such action is illegal.

“A lot of parents don’t realize that they can actually abduct their own children,” she said.

Statistics collected by Reunite suggest that 70 percent of abductions are undertaken by mothers. Shalaby said that her organization had seen a 45 percent annual rise in reported cases.

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher, whose mission helped to organize the conference alongside the U.K.’s Foreign Office, said diplomats were increasingly finding themselves dealing with abduction cases.

“These are always complex, traumatic and sad,” he told The Daily Star. “There are never any winners. We wanted to explore how we can protect the children involved more effectively. This conference attempts to do that, for the first time bringing together embassy staff from across the world, with governments and relevant NGOs.”

He urged all countries to sign up to The Hague Convention, which protects children from abduction.

“We find that Lebanese authorities are usually keen to help resolve tricky cases. [The convention] gives us a better framework for dealing with cases of this sort.

“We should remember that these cases are not one-way – we are also trying to combat child abduction from the region to the West,” Fletcher said.

Personal status disputes in Lebanon are decided through religious courts and often favor the side of fathers.

The judiciary does not consider international parental kidnapping as a crime and it is permitted to prevent family members from leaving the country, even if they hold dual nationality.

A clutch of Western countries already alert foreigners to the risk of child abduction in Lebanon.

“Lebanese family law is very different from U.K. law and particular caution is needed if child custody is [or becomes] an issue,” Britain’s Lebanon travel advice states.

Australia’s Foreign Office warns dual nationality parents it is powerless to intervene in abduction cases committed in Lebanon.

“Australians [including mothers with children] have been prevented from leaving Lebanon when relatives have legally placed border alerts [known as ‘stop orders’] on them,” it says. “The Australian Government cannot prevent or overturn the issue of a ‘stop order’ on an Australian citizen.”

With a large expatriate population in Lebanon, Australia is no stranger to the idea of child abduction involving Lebanese victims.

Earlier this month, Melbourne’s Herald Sun reported that more than 100 Lebanese minors had been transferred to Australia on marriage visas, requiring them to marry their sponsors within nine months of arrival.

“In one case, Lebanese [teen] sought protection after she arrived on a prospective spouse visa for an arranged marriage to a man decades her senior,” the paper reported.

“She found he was a violent drunk who kept a previous wife and three children in an adjoining townhouse. She was granted a protection visa after her own family threatened to kill her.”

Lebanese lawyers Ibrahim Traboulsi, Laura Sfeir and Shawkat Howeilla offered advice to conference participants on the views various religious courts had on child abduction. Representatives of General Security were also present at the event, the first of its kind in the region.

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