International child abductions by parents are on the rise. For last year alone it was reported that 1,500 children were unlawfully taking from one of their parents and transported to a foreign country by their other parent.
One man has been dealing with this nightmare for the past nine years after his ex whisked his child away to Mexico during an unsupervised visitation. At the time the father had custody of his then 4-year-old daughter.
Since then the father said he once spotted his daughter in Mexico City in 2003 and went to her school to speak with her teacher. However, upon doing so the mother fled with his child once again and she hasn’t been seen since.
Overall, when it comes to international child abductions, Mexico ranks high with close to one-third of all cases involving the country due to the close proximity to the United States or ties to other family members living in the country.
Sources also say what makes the practice of international child abduction even easier – regardless of the country – is that police are hesitant to file a missing child report when it involves couples locked in a custody battle.
In addition, Boarder Patrol and Customs rarely do a check on mothers and children at airports or at the borders of other countries. And, even if they did, there is no centralized database that tracks custody orders levied by local courts, thus making them unable to flag suspicious situations.
And while Mexico has signed on to the 1980 Hague Convention on child abduction to prevent parents from illegally taking their children to the country, many judges in Mexico are afraid of getting involved with the cases because they fear that the parent who took the child is somehow involved with the drug cartels.
Looking to the future, the current administration has been putting more pressure on foreign countries, like Mexico, Canada and Latin America, to follow U.S. custody agreements and return children safely to their parent. And with more and more legislatures getting involved on initiatives to combat international abduction, the hope is that it can be prevented in the future and that children who have already been taken are returned home.
Source: San Antonio Express, “International abductions by parents rise,” Stewart M. Powell, 5 July 2011