Best-Selling Author Peter Thomas Senese Warns of Summer Vacation and International Parental Child Abduction During High Conflict Child Custody Cases
Peter Thomas Senese, a best-selling author, renowned child advocate, and hero to many children targeted for abduction has once again raised his voice as a call-to-arms against the menacing and at times deadly storms of international parental child abduction that will target tens of thousands of families over the coming summer school vacation period. According to reports published by the highly respected I CARE Foundation, a self-funded non-profit organization, Peter Thomas Senese is the founding director of that recently hosted a conference on abduction at the United Nations at the request of the Department of State and its International Visitor Leadership Program, it is estimated that over 80% of all outbound cases of international child abduction will occur during the summer, when children are off from school.
Of great concern is that published reports estimate that only 10% of all abducted children will ever be reunited. Some of them will never be able to, as affirmed in a Department of Justice report issued last week citing that children who are abducted by a parent face extreme risk of physical violence, including murder.
So any preconceived notion that a child simply can’t be abducted by a parent is out the window. Truth is parental child abduction is a crime. It’s called kidnapping. And the abduction of a child is done the vast majority of the time by a sociopath who has intent to cause the targeted other parent pain and suffering by using a child for revenge. They do not care about the child. They care about themselves.
So stopping these abductions is critical. And that is exactly what Peter Thomas Senese and the I CARE Foundation, along with a group of other child advocates have been trying to do.
The I CARE Foundation, under Peter Senese’s direction, has played an important role in the dramatic decline in the number of international parental child abductions originating from the United States by 15% over each of the last two years (2011 and 2012).
The I CARE Foundation can trace its roots to Peter’s widely critically acclaimed novel ‘Chasing The Cyclone’; a fast-paced legal thriller about a father heroically searching for his internationally parentally kidnapped child who has disappeared into a sea of billions of faces at the hands of malice by the child’s other parent. In fact, it has been said that Peter Thomas Senese’s ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ is a book of miracles; a view supported by many testimonial letters from parents around the world.
With the school summer vacation here many parents, particularly those involved in multinational or multicultural relationships that have ended must be aware that during the summer school vacation period, international parental child abductions occur around the world. It is vital that parents who may be at risk of abduction know the warning signs of international parental child abduction.
If you think it is easy to have a child who is either criminally abducted to another country or who is wrongfully detained in that country returned, you better think again.
I decided to ask Peter Thomas Senese a few questions.
Are children really in danger when they’re taken by one of their parents?
Yes. International parental child abduction is a criminal act of kidnapping that usually occurs by an unbalanced hate-monger who has demonstrated sociopathic behavior and who is willing to use a child to cause great pain to the other parent. These abductors do not care about the child, but use the child as a crutch to rationalize their own life and its failures. Make no mistake about it, international parental child abduction is a hate crime. And as cited this past week by the Department of Justice, children are put into grave risk of violence, and even murder by the parent kidnapper. So, a kidnapper is a kidnapper; however, I am of the general view that a parent kidnapper has violated a child even more than a stranger abductor because the parent abductor has violated a child’s trust at the highest level and tries to destroy that child’s identity.
How are international family vacation schemes used to abduct a child?
Very cleverly. An abductor generally will try to trick the targeted parent into thinking that they are going on a family trip abroad to visit that person’s family. Once there, they unleash an incredibly sophisticated and conspired plan that is the targeted parent’s biggest nightmare. Often, this includes the target having to defend against false charges of abuse, violence, and even murder threats! I urge parents to read a detailed essay I prepared on behalf of the I CARE Foundation titled Summer Vacation and International Parental Child Abduction as well as Dual Citizenship. Two Passports. Child Abduction.
What percentage of abducted children are taken during the summer?
It is estimated that nearly 85% of all international abductions take place during the summer.
I have read many sworn testimonial letters written by parents you have helped, including reuniting many children from around the world. Why do you help other families?
My experiences and my professional skills have allowed me to share helpful insight with others, and it is a gratifying experience to know that out of my own families horrible ordeal came a lot of good. So helping others is nothing new to me. I’m just trying to help children and parents because no person should ever experience abduction. .
You have voluntarily helped rescue and reunite a considerable number of children through the courts. Are there any reunification that stands out?
They’re all memorable. Each reunification is close to my heart. I wish there were more . . . we fail a lot more than we succeed. But the I CARE Foundation continues to try to help. It is not easy. Fighting abduction is not easy.
When a child is victim of parental abduction, who pays for the child’s return?
The left behind parent despite this being a federal crime under the International Child Abduction Prevention Act. Unfortunately, most abductors know that the cost to litigate is extremely high. Without money, reunification is near impossible. And unfortunately, the majority of abductors are not prosecuted. Which means that abductors think they have immunity. It plays right into an abductor’s sociopathic wheelhouse.
How easy is it to remove a child from a country’s border?
Very easy. In fact, just last week a father abducted a little boy from Colorado to Canada despite an Amber Alert being issued. He was able to travel right across the border!
There are limited exit controls in place to protect a child. One policy that does exist is the Prevent Departure Program. However, there are grave concerns associated with a child who has a right to citizenship to another country and dual passports. And policy under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative allows minors traveling by land or sea to the Canada, Mexico, the United States, and many Caribbean island nations to only present a photocopy of a birth certificate.
If a parent has custody, why can’t they just go into the country where the child is being wrongfully detained and bring that child home?
Because once they attempt to, they could be charged with abduction in that country and arrested.
What can each of us do to stop international child abduction?
We can raise awareness of abduction by sharing the warning signs with others. In fact, Parent blog writers have become heroes to at-risk children and their families because they raised awareness. And of course, each of us can support new legislation created to stop abduction.
What should a parent do if they believe their child is at risk of abduction?
The first thing is to immediately contact a qualified family law attorney. If international abduction is in progress, parents must contact law enforcement immediately, and then they should contact the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues. They should also open up a case with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And they should read as much information about abduction as possible by visiting websites that extensively cover abduction such as the I CARE Foundation.
You are one of the most published writers covering international parental child abduction and have dedicated years of your life stewarding the message of abduction prevention and risks to a child. Have you seen any results?
I think the drop in the reported cases of outbound abduction by 15% during 2011 and 2012 speak for itself especially when the previous growth rate was nearly 20% per year, but there is another part of this story. The unreported cases of abduction associated with undocumented residents is believed to be at least 100% of the abduction cases, and though not measureable, I know the number of undocumented residents the I CARE Foundation helped has increased dramatically. I also know the number of abduction prevention cases has increased dramatically and that’s because parents are becoming aware of abduction.
You’re a best-selling author who has written a diverse collection of geopolitical thrillers, yet you have spent several years of your life dedicated to helping families in crisis. What can fans of your writing expect in the near future?
Well, I must say, I have been writing, but not novels! It has been a privilege to work with my research partner Carolyn Vlk and published extensively on the subject. So, I did utilize my writing skills . . . just in a very different way!
This said, I am looking forward to finally publishing the hardcover of Chasing The Cyclone, which is presently available in e-book everywhere. And I am truly looking forward working on the nearly completed novels titled ‘Predators Games’, which is the sequel of ‘The Den of the Assassin’, and the sequel of ‘Cloning Christ’, titled ‘Quest’ . . . but right now, there is a war against international parental child abduction going on. Targeted parents may not realize they are about to become victims of abduction – so it’s our job to scream the alarm by letting them know the warning signs of abduction.
For more information on Peter Thomas Senese, please visit his official website.
For more information about the I CARE Foundation, please visit their official website.
And if you would like to get involved and lend your voice to help stop international child abduction, please contact the I CARE Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.