Wednesday, April 28, 2010

International Parental Child Abduction: A Crisis In America

International Parental Child Abduction In America: A Silent Epidemic of Kidnapping

Written By:

Peter Thomas Senese and Carolyn Ann Vlk

It is believed that United States children-citizens are being criminally abducted, illegally removed overseas, and wrongfully detained in foreign countries in shocking and seemingly advancing and unprecedented numbers. This despite U.S. court orders prohibiting their removal and/or demanding for their immediate return.

Remarkably, the necessary data required to accurately measure the total number of international parental child abductions (IPCA) does not exist due to the inability to measure what is believed to be a large number of ‘unreported’ cases, which is discussed in this report later on. Therefore due to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases, much of what has been previously reported in government and reputable organizations’ studies or statements should be considered as speculation due in part to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases as well as forecasted numbers derived from immeasurable and highly questionable determining methodologies. The only measureable statistics are the number of cases reported to law enforcement and to the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI). This report contends that the data of OCI is complete, however it does not reflect the full scope of international parental child abductions due.

The content of this report includes statistics from the most current published annual report dated April of 2009 and titled the Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The 2010 annual compliance report is expected to be delivered to Congress in the coming days and will be publically available in the near future; however, we anticipate that the current trends previously seen with respect to the increase in international parental child abduction will remain.

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the writer of Florida's Child Abduction Prevention Act, explains, "In response to a mandate of the 1984 Missing Children Act, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJPD) publishes periodic studies titled the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART). The NISMART publications are meant to identify the numbers of children who are reported missing and the number of children recovered in a particular year. These bulletins consist of comprehensive studies with an emphasis on examining trends in the incidence of missing children."

The NISMART I study (utilizing data from 1988 and published in 1990) reported that there were an estimated 354,100 family abductions annually. In order to derive data for that study in regards to the number of children that are victims of a family abduction each year a household telephone survey was conducted. The survey included a total of 10,367 interviews with adult caretakers. The Population Estimates Program of the Population Division U.S. Census Bureau estimated the U.S. population at 244,498,982 in 1988. To clarify, a sampling of telephone interviews from 0.0000413% of the U.S. population was utilized to provide the statistical data that is widely accepted as being an accurate accounting of the numbers of annual family abductions.

The NISMART - 2 study, which utilized data from 1999 and was published in 2002, reported that there were 203,900 family abductions annually. This study also utilized a household telephone survey and completed interviews with 16,111 adult caretakers. Additionally, this study surveyed 5,015 youth ages 10-18 who lived in the sample households. During the study year the estimated U.S. population was 272,690,813, thus reflecting completed interviews of 0.000059% of the U.S. adult population. Once again, a small fraction of the U.S. population was interviewed as the only method of determining the annual numbers of family abductions. Critically, and troublesome is the fact that the NISMART studies did not derive any of the data relating to family abductions from law enforcement or other governmental agencies. Data was entirely compiled from random computer-assisted telephone interviewing methodology. Neither study conducted a second survey.

Now consider an assortment of generally accepted reports or statements from leading authorities including The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). On April 22, 2002 NCMEC stated in a press release the following, “In an effort to educate the public and to provide more services to victims, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has released a new publication entitled Family Abduction: Prevention and Response and has recently formed a group for adults who were victims of family abduction as children. A commonly misunderstood and complex issue, best estimates indicate that there are 354,000 domestic and 16,000 international family abductions per year.”

We are unable to ascertain where NCMEC determined their 16,000 international child abductions per year. What we do know is that according to the Department of State, in several of their published statements, that there were approximately 16,000 international parental child abductions over a two-decade long period. What these inconsistencies demonstrate is a lack of completely measurable data that represents the entire picture on cross-border child abduction. Unknown is whether the NCMEC statement included an estimate of ‘unreported’ cases or perhaps was an error as the same ‘16,000’ yearly number is identical to the Department of State’s ’16,000’ two decade number.

Peter Thomas Senese is the author of the upcoming book titled Chasing The Cyclone which critics have praised as an extraordinary story on international parental child abduction, love, and parenting. He stated, “Criminal parental cross-border abduction appears to be increasing in the United States and abroad at significant rates despite the fact that there is not enough accurate data required to establish growth trends in cross-border abductions. The rise of abduction in our country as well as that seen in other nations indicates that we have a global pandemic on our hands. And as more children from different nations are stolen and not returned, including our own children, citizens will inevitably voice their growing anger over the fact that their nation’s children-citizens have been abducted. The stealing of children across international borders can, and very well will inevitably create grave challenges for all nations who sit at the world’s political and economic tables."

This report will unequivocally demonstrate that new, carefully constructed research initiated by our government is immediately needed, and that the number of international parental child abductions is increasing despite efforts to stop this terrible act directed at our children-citizens.

Indisputable, are the actual number of ‘reported’ abduction cases. Estimating the incalculable total number of ‘unreported’ cases is difficult to assess. Despite this inability to concisely determine the total number of cases each year, it appears America and our nation’s children-citizens are plagued by a dangerous criminal epidemic known as ‘International Parental Child Abduction’ that is silently sweeping through our nation. At risk are tens if not hundreds of thousands of our defenseless children who are targeted for abduction each year.

In April of 2009, the annual Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was released. This is the most current report to date issued by the Department of State. In that publication, Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs writes, "Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of redoubling efforts to promote compliance with Convention obligations and encourage additional nations to join the Convention." She also writes, "Very few options exist for parents and children who are victims of parental child abduction."

This fact is evidenced by the statistical data contained within the 2009 report. Utilizing data that was collected during the period from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 the report reflects that of the 1,082 new cases were reported involving 1,615 children. During the study year the U.S. was only successful in the return of 361 children. However, it is important to note that as time passes, it becomes substantially more difficult to recover an abducted child.

Peter Thomas Senese commented, “The anticipated number of international abductions used as a benchmark and often referred to is inconclusive because the published data does not take into consideration ‘unreported’ cases of international child abduction, population growth, increases in multi-cultural marriages, immigration migration increases to the United States, and economic difficulties many families are facing, which inevitably leads to a break-up of the family unit. More concerning is how the widely distributed and cited surveys used what I believe to be an inadequate number of telephone interviews and appear not to include any law enforcement records. In my view, we as a nation have a serious problem on our hands.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk stated, "Admittedly, something is seriously amiss in our ability to accurately estimate the number of children victimized by the crime of child abduction. In my opinion, utilizing only a random telephone survey, to determine the number of affected children is a process flawed by numerous, serious methodological problems. Additionally, the cooperation and compliance rate in obtaining the return of our citizen children who have been criminally internationally abducted must be drastically improved. The recovery of only 361 of these children during an entire fiscal year is not and should not be acceptable".

Unfortunately, many internationally abducted children are never returned because their abductions are not reported to authorities. The likelihood is that the vast majority of these types of cases never end with a child’s return. It would be reasonable to conclude that if a targeted parent did not report their child’s abduction, then in all likelihood, that U.S. child-citizen will not be returned to the United States. Due to the number of ‘unreported’ international abduction cases, it is difficult to determine a reasonable return-rate percentage. We recognize the difficulty in attempting to accurately estimate the ‘unreported’ case numbers and believe that it is probable that the number of returns of ‘unreported’ cases is extremely low and essentially immeasurable.

Reasons for ‘unreported’ cases include the financial inability of a Chasing Parent to take legal action since they are responsible to pay for all costs associated with their child’s recovery – even though a child’s international abduction violates state and federal laws such as the International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act (IPKCA). Furthermore, many parents experience a sense of hopelessness that any recovery efforts will be futile since there are great difficulties associated with bringing a child home, including the possibility of first trying to determine where your child is. Also, the fact is that many nations are not a party of or do not uphold the Hague Convention. Furthermore, there exist substantial prejudices in foreign courts.

The NISMART I study reported that there were a total of 354,000 parental child abductions annually. The NISMART II study stated the total number of parental child abductions decreased to approximately 203,900 children. The truth of the matter is that we really do not know how accurate any of the data is or how large of a problem we actually have on our hands. What we do know is that hundreds of thousands of children are targeted for parental abduction each year, and out of this group, tens of thousands of these instances include planned international parental abductions.

According to leading experts who specialize in international parental child abduction, conclusive and unilateral opinion and fact demonstrates that parental child abduction of a targeted child is a cruel, criminal, and severe form of abuse and mistreatment regardless if the child is with one of their (abducting) parents. This includes the illegal act of international abduction, whereas, the child is unexpectedly uprooted from their home, their community, their immediate and extended family, and their country. Sadly, severe short and long-term psychological problems are prevalent for many abduction victims who survive their kidnapping experience. It is commonplace for a child to be emotionally sabotaged, whereas, the abducting parent will try to remove all bonds and attachments the child has with the other parent, thus, removing the child’s right to know the love of the other parent, and keep in tact their own identity. Too many children simply never come home and in certain cases a child’s abduction overseas has led to the death of the abducted child.

A leader in the field of parental child abduction issues, Dr. Dorothy Huntington wrote an article titled Parental Kidnapping: A New Form of Child Abuse. Huntington contends that from the point of view of the child, "child stealing is child abuse." According to Huntington, "in child stealing the children are used as both objects and weapons in the struggle between the parents which leads to the brutalization of the children psychologically, specifically destroying their sense of trust in the world around them."

“Because of the harmful effects on children, parental kidnapping has been characterized as a form of “child abuse" reports Patricia Hoff, Legal Director for the Parental Abduction Training and Dissemination Project, American Bar Association on Children and the Law. Hoff explains, "Abducted children suffer emotionally and sometimes physically at the hands of abductor-parents. Many children are told the other parent is dead or no longer loves them. Uprooted from family and friends, abducted children often are given new names by their abductor-parents and instructed not to reveal their real names or where they lived before." (Hoff, 1997)

Consider that today in Japan, there are approximately 230 American children-citizens who were illegally abducted from United States soil to Japan by one of their parents in violation of U.S. court orders. To date, and for what is believed to be nearly fifty years, Japan – America’s strong ally – has never returned 1 American child who was parentally kidnapped and illegally detained in accordance to United States law. And tragically, the vast majority of the chasing parents left-behind in the wake of their child’s abduction are not permitted to have contact with their child.

"I'm the only living parent to my daughter Erika," said U.S. Navy Commander Paul Toland, whose daughter Erika was abducted to Japan seven years ago, "my wife died and my daughter was subsequently kidnapped by her grandmother, yet I have absolutely no access to her. Both the State Department and the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs have asked to visit my daughter to check on her welfare, but the abductor said no. In the Japanese system, where no enforcement mechanisms exist and compliance is completely voluntary, all any government agency can say to me is ‘We're sorry, we tried’. Nobody can offer any remedies or solutions, because none exist."

At the time of Commander Toland’s child’s abduction, OCI did not include his case as an officially reported case since at the time, Commander Paul Toland, father of Ericka, was on active duty serving his country, and military personal cases were not counted as ‘reported’ cases. This has recently changed.

Welcome to the absurd world of international parental child abduction. The bizarreness of Commander Toland and his daughter’s dire odyssey into the world of the incomprehensible is the norm experienced by many chasing parents and their children, not the oddity.

There are abundant reasons why it is very difficult to have an illegally stolen child returned despite the United States being a signatory of The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. They include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Lack of action in reporting a child’s abduction by a targeted parent left behind; and,
2. Many nations do not comply with or uphold the spirit of the convention (ex, Brazil, Mexico, Germany); and,
3. Many countries have not signed the convention (ex. Japan, China, Russia, and many countries located in the Middle East); and,
4. Chasing Parents may not have an idea what country their child was taken to; and,
5. Chasing Parents are responsible to carry the enormous financial burden associated with their child’s recovery. Many simply do not have the substantial resources needed; and,
6. Many Chasing Parents do not have the knowledge necessary to navigate the difficult and complex legal system of international law, nor do they often know who to turn to and what to do; and,
7. Nationalistic prejudices of court systems located in the ‘inbound’ country, whereas, a court may try to protect the abducting parent if that parent is a citizen of the country where they abducted the child to; and,
8. Cultural differences; and,
9. A Chasing Parent’s fear to attempt to recover their child due to threats from the abducting parent or individuals associated with the abducting parent; and,
10. Lack of cooperation from law enforcement; and,
11. Limited power of the Office of Children’s Issues to intervene on behalf of a U.S. citizen.

According to statements issued by the Department of State, reported cases of international parental child abduction increased by 40% from 2007 to 2009, which appears to be similar to what other Hague Convention signatory nations have experienced. This represents a mean increase of 20% per year. The report for 2009 to 2010 will be issued on April 28th, 2010; however, the expected percentage increase in abductions is anticipated to be equivalent to, if not higher than the increases demonstrated during 2007-2009.

What is not known is whether the increase in ‘reported’ cases to the Department of State’s OCI is due to greater public awareness and proactivity amongst targeted parents, an actual increase in the number of international abductions, the extensive outreach made by OCI to let targeted parents know that OCI exists and can assist a Chasing Parent, or all of the above.

Peter Thomas Senese, who turned to OCI during his child’s abduction commented, “There never is a day that goes by that I am not appreciative and thankful for the assistance that was extended to me and my family by the Office of Children’s Issues during the time I was chasing the cyclones of international parental child abduction. Unquestionably, it was through the assistance of some of the extraordinary, caring and concerned individuals from OCI who intervened on behalf of my child’s case that today my son lives a happy, peaceful, and secure existence. OCI had a giant impact on my case, and for the rest of my life, I will be forever thankful to some of that organization.”

The increase in reported cases by the Department of State only demonstrates abduction cases that are actually ‘reported’. Unfortunately, it is believed that many abduction cases are not reported due to multiple reasons. This includes fear from immigrant aliens living in the United States with either documented or undocumented status that they may be deported if they file a Hague Application with OCI seeking for the return of their abducted child. In these cases, OCI will always accept a request for assistance regardless if the parent is here legally or not since The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction does not say anything about citizenship status. And it has been OCI’s policy to never report an undocumented alien to the U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Now consider the data contained in the most current Hague Compliance report indicating that the mean growth rate experienced between 2007-2009 was approximately 40% (an average of 20%). If the rate continues at a mean of 20% over the next ten years and we factor in the 2009 reported case numbers, this forecasts that our nation will have at least 9,647 of our children-citizens criminally abducted overseas in the year 2020, and from 2008 through 2020, 52,466 of our nation’s children will have been internationally abducted.

Our position is that due to the existence of what we believe to be a significant and substantial number of ‘unreported’ cases combined with population growth and increases in documented and undocumented immigration migration, the rate of children abducted internationally will continue to rise at a rate of at least, if not substantially greater than 20% annually unless significant abduction prevention steps are immediately implemented.

Combining the projected increases of ‘reported’ cases with the immeasurable ‘unreported’ cases that is apparent and real based upon immigration migration and economic factors, it is reasonable to state that America and our children are facing a serious problem.

The absurdity of this all is so terrifying that you might be inclined and desirous to dismiss it, particularly when we consider the immeasurable number of cases presently classified as ‘unreported’ that may shift to the ‘reported’ category due to public awareness combined with OCI’s outreach efforts.

It is important to note that none of these figures include the large number of children who have previously been internationally abducted and presently remain illegally detained overseas.

Studies have demonstrated that an unprecedented number of abductions have occurred where one parent took unilateral action to deprive the other parent of contact with their child. The majority of abducting parents will typically use the child as a tool to cause the targeted parent great pain and suffering.

Understandably, family abductions occur at a higher rate during times of heightened stress such as separation or divorce and often involve custody issues and visitation problems. The sad fact is that a large number of marriages, estimated to be between 40% and 50%, in the U.S. end in divorce.

One of the many considerations that factor into the increase in total abductions indicates that economic difficulties in the United States and elsewhere are a measurable factor in the number of increases in separations and divorces. This added stress can lead to a parental cross-border abduction, particularly since we live in a global society, and the number of international relationships has increased dramatically.

While all children can be potential targets of a family abduction, the likelihood increases when that child has a parent with ties to a foreign country. According to the Juvenile and Family Court Journal Vol. 48, No. 2 titled Jurisdiction In Child Custody and Abduction Cases, “Parents who are citizens of another country (or who have dual citizenship with the U.S.) and also have strong ties to their extended family in their country of origin have long been recognized as abduction risks.” This increase in cultural diversity within the U.S. population has created challenges for our existing laws. Many U.S. born children-citizens fall victim to parental abduction when a parents’ union ends.

Across the U.S., states are struggling to address their archaic and outdated laws, and establish additional precautions to better protect their child-citizen population. Unquestionably, it is critical that child abduction prevention laws are passed in each state and upheld by the judiciary and law enforcement. Failure to do so will likely lead to the looming disaster that is already upon us.

Peter Thomas Senese stated, “As a nation, the United States must fight back this sweeping plague by passing child abduction prevention laws and by increasing our judiciary’s level of competency in overseeing and enforcing laws associated with these complex cases of potential or actual international parental child abductions. Critical to judges and lawmakers’ ability to protect our children is the need for immediate research on this subject. The present available information is archaic, and more than likely inaccurate particularly due to the inability to measure 'unreported' cases. The community of child abduction prevention advocates has pointed this out for some time now. What we also need is for the creation and enforcement of well thought out and researched laws along with the upholding of the intent, spirit, and law of the international treaties such as The Hague Convention so we can protect our children and put an end to the spread of this malignant pandemic that has reached our shores.

Florida state representative Darryl Rouson is the lawmaker who championed and sponsored Florida’s landmark Child Abduction Prevention Act (HB 787). The bill was unanimously approved in the Senate and House of Representatives last week and is highly anticipated to become law within the coming days. Representative Rouson commented, “It is critical for each state to implement laws that will protect the rights of our children-citizens who may face parental child abduction. The misconception that when one parent steals a child from the other parent, that the child is safe, is undeniably inaccurate. It is through prevention laws such as Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act that we will be able to prevent this serious crime against our nation’s children from occurring.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk,the child abduction prevention advocate commented, "Early on in my research on this critical issue I recognized the urgent need for preventative legislation. Thankfully, Florida's legislative body wholeheartedly agreed as evidenced by the unanimous votes. I am thrilled for the added measure of safety this new law will have in protecting the children of my great state. However, I will not be satisfied until all states have child abduction prevention legislation enacted."

One of the great concerns is the determining the actual number of annual child abductions. In the 2009 report approximately 1,082 outgoing cases were reported to OCI. However, we must also consider the number of cases that are unreported. This leads to several obvious questions including how accurate is the data that was compiled in the NISMART publications. Particularly when we consider the study was generated, concluded, and widely disseminated based upon completed adult surveys of approximately 10,367 households in 1988 and 16,111 in 1999. We must also ask ourselves why there appears to be a large number of unreported abduction cases? And why is the data so old and outdated, and how could our government allow for this to happen? Budget constraints aside, we’re talking about out nation’s children, aren’t we? Undeniably, we need to know what the real numbers are. And finally, what can OCI do to further assist targeted parents and their children who have not reported their cases?

In order to answer these questions, we must first look at the shift in our country’s population, and heavily weigh who we are – as a nation of immigrants.

A report compiled by the renowned Washington based Pew Hispanic Center reports that most immigrant groups are comprised of young families. The likelihood that a child will be born while the parents are present in the U.S. is high. Prior to 2007, data collected on parents of children under 18 only identified one parent, and a second parent could only be identified if they were married to the first parent. Currently, a second parent identifier is considered whether or not the parents are married to each other. The new data more accurately reflects the number of children living in the U.S. with at least one foreign born parent.

In 2008 that meant that 22% of all children in the United States had at least one foreign-born parent. In fact, consider the following statistics compiled by the Center for Immigration Studies in its March 2007 analysis. Immigrants and their U.S. born children under age 18, as a share of population: California - 37.9%, Los Angles County - 50%, New York State - 27.9%, New York City - 46.7% and Florida - 27.9%.

It must be noted that although 31.3% of all immigrants originate from Mexico, other countries have significant entry numbers as well. Included in the March 2007 Current Population Survey (CPS) were statistics indicating that 17.6% of all immigrants were from East/Southeast Asia, 12.5% from Europe, 5.5% from South Asia, 3.5% from the Middle East, and Canada at 1.9%.

Traditionally, states such as California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Arizona have had large numbers of immigrants in their population. What is surprising is the trends in migration toward new centers of immigrant growth. The CPS prepared an analysis of states with statistically significant growth in immigrant population between 2000 and 2007. Most notably, Wyoming, which experienced a percentage increase of 180%, Tennessee at 160%, Georgia at 152.1%, and Alabama at 143.6%. The impact of unprecedented increases in immigrant migration is likely to create multiple challenges as states struggle to keep pace with their newest segment of population and their children.

“As a nation of immigrants, it is important to note that as our nation’s population increases due to immigrant migration, so too does the likelihood of increased cross-border child abduction,” Peter Thomas Senese added.

Additionally, it has been well established that illegal aliens do not respond to surveys such as the US Census or the CPS. Because the U.S. government does not have accurate records of arrival and departures for individuals present illegally in the country, their numbers must be estimated, as there is no hard data to draw from. However, indirect means for establishing these figures are used, and they must be viewed with a considerable amount of uncertainty. In 2007 CPS, it was estimated that of the approximately 37.9 million immigrants present in the U.S., nearly 1 in 3 immigrants were present illegally.

It is important to note this segment of our population when discussing child abduction because when a child is born in the U.S. that child automatically is a U.S. citizen. While the available data gives us fairly accurate figures regarding the number of children born in the U.S. as well as those immigrants who are present legally, a number is impossible to compile accurately in relation to the unauthorized resident population.

In regards to children born to illegal immigrants, in the five-year period from 2003 to 2008, that number rose from 2.7 million to 4 million. The report published by the Pew Hispanic Centers reported that nationally the children of illegal immigrants now comprise 1 in 15 elementary and secondary students in the U.S. Additionally, in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada and Texas more than 1 in every 10 students in those states are the children of illegal immigrants.

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the writer of Florida’s Child Abduction Prevention Act stated, “The ability of state governments to prevent the abduction of children by family members could be drastically improved by comprehensive legislation. While aiming to protect all children, special consideration must be given to those children who may be at increased risk simply by virtue of their parentage. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the resident population of the U.S. projected up to April 22, 2010 estimated that one international migrant enters the U.S. every 36 seconds. International travel has become commonplace and as more cross-cultural relationships develop children are born. A number of these relationships will end and may result in an increased risk of international abduction of the child. Attempting to retrieve a child who has been abducted and possibly hidden internationally is a near impossibility as a multitude of problems surface in cases such as these. Unfortunately, studies have proved 4 of 5 Americans drastically underestimate the threat of a family abduction. Statistically, it is a sobering thought when you become aware of the vast numbers of children that are criminally abducted each year. Preventative laws are a necessity as an immediate remedy to this unconscionable crime.”

David Bokel of Lynchburg, Virginia was a targeted parent of international parental child abduction. On December 24th, 2003 his young daughter was parentally abducted and planned to be criminally removed from the country. Fortunately, Mr. Bokel was able to find and safely bring home his child. He commented, “International parental abduction, a form of child abuse, is seriously on the rise. The laws in our country realistically permit an abducting parent who intends to carry out their planned kidnapping to essentially do so. There are very few laws in place that prevent child abduction, and those that are in place are not enforced. Immigrants who kidnap children should be removed from the country. My daughter's abductor, after receiving a two-year federal prison sentence for her crimes, received her green card so she can legally stay in the United States.”

The Office of Children's Issues at the Department of State was established to assist parents whose children have been unlawfully removed from the country. The OCI assists the remaining parent and strives to protect those children who have been victimized in these types of cases. Considering thousands of child custody cases are fought across national borders each year, the assistance of the OCI can be invaluable. Litigating custody, especially across international borders where conflicting orders may exist can be difficult if not impossible. The OCI aims to assist in these cases by enhancing an understanding of the many complex laws, both domestic and international that may be applicable to a particular case.

However, OCI has significant limitations, including the fact that they cannot represent your abducted child in a foreign court. OCI does provide a list of lawyers in foreign countries who at times have worked pro bono on abduction cases. However, there are no obligations by any of these lawyers to take a case, and it is up to each Chasing Parent to work out all arrangements. The reality is that ‘pro bono’ sounds like a nice idea, but it is an unrealistic expectation.

Immediate suggestions that could allow the dedicated staff at OCI to be more helpful include the following:

1. Creating and distributing useful, concise information for chasing parents, law enforcement, and court personnel regarding all areas of IPCA. The use of digital media combined and supported by printed content is critical.
2. The development of an independent website outside of the Department of State’s website. This website must be easy to navigate, include audio and digital feeds, and must be accessible to individuals in various languages.
3. OCI must actively support advocates and lawmakers who are seeking to pass child abduction prevention laws. Support by OCI in this area can increase the visibility of the issues of child abduction while also increasing lawmaker and judiciary awareness.
4. Dissemination of information on the Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program.
5. Dissemination of information on the ‘Prevent Departure Program’, and dedicated resources established to assist lawyers and Chasing Parents seeking assistance under this program.
6. Increases in outreach toward documented and un-documented aliens about OCI, and the rights of their U.S. child-citizen.
7. Increase in personnel to support the tremendous workload of the OCI staff.

Peter Thomas Senese, who produced and narrated the important documentary film on international parental child abduction titled, Chasing Parents: Racing Into the Storms of International Parental Child Abduction added, “One child criminally abducted and illegally detained overseas is one child too many. However, we are not referring to one child. We are referring to hundreds of thousands of our nation’s child-citizens who are at risk of abduction.

“Unfortunately, due to outdated data and research, we really do not know how large of a problem we have on our hands, but I suspect it is much greater than we know or want to accept. One thing that is common amongst the vast majority of Chasing Parents is that none of us expected to have our child or children stolen. It realistically can happen to a very large portion of our population. I hope that all concerned citizens will contact their Senators and Representatives and urge them to support and sign the International Child Abduction Prevention Act known in Washington as HR3240. This bill is critical. And I want to repeat that most targeted parents who had their child criminally abducted never saw it coming. Due to the demographic composition of our nation, few parents and their children are immune to this threatening plague.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk concluded early on in my child abduction prevention advocacy I was asked, "Where is the public outcry?" My response at that time was that if you are a parent attempting to prevent your child from a criminal abduction you are focused on that issue. If tragically your child has already been abducted, then you are devastated and grieving. I am happy to report that through my volunteerism in this area, I have had the great honor of getting to know some extraordinary parents. The days of quiet acceptance of this crime are over. Parents are uniting together all over the U.S. to ensure that their voices are finally heard and demanding that their children no longer be marginalized and that they be protected. Preventative laws can and will help curb the unacceptable numbers of abductions from occurring. My heart breaks for those children who remain criminally detained in foreign nations and their grieving and left behind families. It is my greatest hope that through bringing this hideous crime to the forefront of the public’s attention that it will someday be possible to reunite these children and their families.”

Speaking on the crisis of IPCA, author Peter Thomas Senese said, “With limited accurate data, an uneducated judiciary, an uninformed public, difficulty in passing child abduction prevention legislation, non-compliance of international treaties, and heavy financial burdens placed on Chasing Parents desperately trying to protect their kidnapped children, this really is the world turned upside-down, and it is going to get much worse for our children and their parents unless dramatic steps in all areas are immediately implemented.”

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Florida Child Abduction Act Passes Unanimously Senate and House Floor Votes

Today members of Florida’s Senate joined the members of Florida’s House of Representatives in demonstrating great leadership by passing unanimously Florida’s groundbreaking ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ sponsored by child advocates Representative Darryl Rouson (St. Petersburg) and Senator Eleanor Sobel (Ft. Lauderdale). HB 787 will become law once Governor Crist signs the bill, as he expected to within the next few days.

On a House floor vote that occurred yesterday, HB 787 passed unanimously with 115 ‘Yeas’ to 0 ‘Nays’. Today, the Senate unanimously passed the legislation with 38 ‘Yeas’ and 0 ‘Nays’ votes.

Representative Darryl Rouson, who sponsored and guided the landmark legislation through the House of Representatives said, “Our children in the state of Florida have every right to be protected from any and all forms of abuse. The ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will in fact protect our children from the abuse associated with the criminal act of child stealing. With an estimated 16,000 international child abductions alone in our country last year – a number that is growing at 40% per year - how could we as lawmakers not act expeditiously in order to protect our state’s and nation’s future: our treasured children? We simply cannot. It required a great deal of work, but today we now wait for Governor Crist’s signing of this bill into law. I say with great pride that the lawmakers of the great state of Florida realized the importance of this law and acted unilaterally for the best interest of the children of our state.”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill author, stated, “Today is a wondrous day! What began as not much more that a mother’s dream is now almost a reality. When I began writing Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ it was my greatest desire that my home state put into place child abduction prevention legislation that could be utilized as precedence for other states. As soon as Governor Crist signs the proposed legislation into law, we will have that ability. Words cannot adequately express my appreciation for the bipartisan support exhibited while working together in creating legislation to protect all children. This is a moment I have long awaited and showcases democracy at its finest. What an outstanding day for the children and families of Florida.”

According to leading experts and advocates who focus in the area of parental child abduction, prevention law is critical. Outspoken children’s advocate and author of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, Peter Thomas Senese, one of the bill’s lead advocates, added, “Child abduction prevention laws are a necessity and an integral part of each state’s ability to protect the best interests of their children-citizens who are at risk of abduction. Without a court’s ability to consider risk factors associated with a potential threat of abduction combined with the capability to act in ways that would prevent this crime from happening, the growing malignant plague of international parental child abduction that has silently swept through our nation will continue to increase. What is at risk as a nation is the disappearance of our most precious commodity: our children. And with international parental child abduction growing at approximately rapidly, laws such as Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will be our nation’s first line of defense against international parental child abduction. I suspect that many states that do not have preventive laws have now watched the great leadership Florida’s legislators demonstrated today. As a successful Chasing Parent who knows all too well the horrors associated with chasing the cyclones of international parental child abduction, I am deeply pleased in the knowledge that parents and their children who will come after me will benefit from the extensive effort put forth. No child or parent should ever have to know what it is like to have one parent attempt to steal and disappear with your child. This law will prevent much of this from happening. And I want to add that so much thanks must be extended to the amazing writer and spirit of the legislation, Carolyn Ann Vlk, and to Representative Darryl Rouson and his legislative aide Henry Moseley, Senator Eleanor Sobel and her legislative aide Nick Matthews, and the rest of the team that put their hearts, spirit, and best effort into guiding the passage of this what we expect to be an incredible law. Today is a great day for not only the children of Florida, but children our entire nation.”

Chasing Parent Captain William Lake, the father of Mary Victoria, who remains in Japan despite court orders seeking her rightful return stated, “ I am so pleased with today’s outcome in Florida’s Senate. It is my hope that through the passage of this law, children will no longer be deprived from the loving relationships of both parents. Unfortunately, too many children who are abducted come to believe that the left behind parent does not care or love them, when this is not true or accurate. No child should ever have to experience abduction and the denial of the other parent due to deceitful actions by the other parent. In my lobbying of this legislation, it was my desire to have a law passed that will protect innocent children from ever experiencing the unfair storms of parental abduction.”

If signed by child advocate Governor Crist as expected, HB 787 – The ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will go into effect on January 1st, 2011.

Carolyn Ann Vlk concluded, “As the bill’s author, I would like to share with the people of my state that none of this would have been possible if it were not for Representative Darryl Rouson. He is a champion of our children. And Senator Eleanor Sobel acted in great ways to protect the children of our state. I want to thank each of them, along with their respective legislative aides, Henry Moseley and Nick Matthews, for all they have done.”

For more information, please visit:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

'Finding Emmaus' Book Review and Interview With Author Pamela Glasner.

I have had the privilege of reading Pamela Glasner’s brilliantly written and meaningfully current novel titled ‘Finding Emmaus’. I am pleased to share my interview with Pamela Glasner on her spectacular novel.

Stepping out of my self-imposed rule to no longer publicly share a review of a fellow author's written work, I am pleased to share my book review of ‘Finding Emmaus’. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have!

1. Tell us about "Finding Emmaus".
“Finding Emmaus” is about a lot of things, actually: It’s a very dark, meticulously-researched 350-year fictional yet factually-based journey through the history of the treatment of the mentally ill. The story is experienced through the lives of two people who discover in adulthood that they are not mentally ill, but in reality are extraordinarily gifted. Eventually they become champions for the victims of a multi-billion dollar conspiracy between the pharmaceutical industry and the US-FDA, a conspiracy in which millions of Americans are being misdiagnosed and drugged for no other reason than the enormous income it generates.

But to me, it’s mostly about spirituality, about living a life that matters, and finding out just how much strength and courage you really have by putting yourself out there for others, even in the face of great personal risk.

2. What is the purpose of this extraordinarily insightful book?
Well, first of all, thank you for the compliment! When I was writing it, the thought of “purpose” didn’t really cross my mind. I had a story in me that needed to come out. It’s a love story, but it also shows how love can be corrupted and how easy it is to be seduced by the darkness. I think if I was to put a purpose to it now, in retrospect, I’d have to say that I hope it opens peoples’ eyes, underscores the dangers of intolerance and arrogance, and gives people hope.

3. Why did you choose this title?
The title comes from the 24th chapter of the Gospel according to Luke, the story known as “The Road to Emmaus”.

After the crucifixion, two men who were on their way out of Jerusalem. They had adored Jesus and were devastated when He was killed. They had expected Him to come back and to be their savior, but after three days of waiting, they gave up hope. They simply couldn’t endure one more moment of the grief and anguish, so they left.

And where do you go? After you’ve watched the world go mad, when everything else becomes unendurable, where do you go? You go to family and friends, someplace where you can be reassured that love and peace and sanity still exist, back to the one place you know you’ll find comfort and consolation and recuperation — you go home, of course.

In 2000 years, no-one has ever found so much as a teaspoon to confirm that the town of Emmaus actually existed, and I believe that’s because it never did. The Road to Emmaus, IMHO, is not about geography, it’s about seeking shelter from the storm. And that’s what Frank and Katherine do in “Finding Emmaus” — for themselves as well as for the millions they are trying to save.

4. What do you hope readers will walk away after reading "Finding Emmaus"?
I’ll sum that up in my favorite paragraph from the book:

“There are those who will try to tell you that love is the greatest motivating force in the world, that love is the one thing that could compel even the most prudent or the most cynical of men or women to lengths they would never believe themselves capable of under any other circumstances. And they’d be wrong. It isn’t love that causes people to throw all caution to the wind, drives them to acts of desperation, or persuades them to believe, beyond all reason, in the utterly impossible—it’s hope.”

Hope is what I want people to take away, because if you lose that, there’s not much else…

5. Where did you write this story?
Mostly on two different sofas! One in my living room and the other in the library of the club I belong to in Hartford. I write longhand, so I sit on a sofa — on the left side of the sofa, mind you — with my left leg curled up under me, a yellow lined pad in my lap, a black ultra-fine Uniball pen in my hand, a coffee table in front of me with either a cup of coffee, a glass of Diet Coke or a glass of shiraz sitting on it. And absolute privacy! The rule when I’m writing is, “You can’t talk to me, not even to ask me if it’s okay to interrupt me for a minute!”

6. What was your writing process, and how long did it take to complete?
Honestly, I had no process or schedule. I wrote just about all day, every day. I was practically unstoppable. I didn’t want to do anything else. Most of the time, I didn’t even want to stop long enough to eat. So when I was at the club, I’d have my pad on the table next to me, so I could write and eat at the same time.

The only thing I can say that I had to do “deliberately”, if this can really be thought of as deliberate, is that I had to keep my head out of it and just let the words flow from my heart and my gut. The story really created itself, just as my characters created their lives and their personalities. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true. Whenever I tried to stick my two cents in and direct something, it all came undone. Then I’d have to go back, step three feet to the left of myself, and re-write that part, just letting it “happen.” As long as I did that, then what ended up on the page was good.

From start to finish, including research time and then time to type it into the computer after it was written, it took five months.

7. Was there anyone who inspired you to write this story?
To write the story itself, no. I’ve had people inspire me in terms of the process, like Stephen King, who said in his wonderful book, “On Writing”: “If God has given you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?” I can’t think of any other reason for me to have written this book besides that.

8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
Only that, after having written “Finding Emmaus” and having seen how well it’s been received, what I feel more than anything is gratitude — gratitude that God gave me this amazing gift. And even though it took me fifty-plus years to find it, I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on anything. Being able to do this has been one of the greatest gifts of my life and I know I’ll never lose site of that.

Reviewed by;
Peter Thomas Senese

Pamela Glasner’s ‘Finding Emmaus’ is an extraordinarily thoughtful, provocative, and brilliantly written futuristic novel built on deep historical information and insight that readers will unquestionably delight in both the story’s depths and spires. As an author and avid reader, I have become particularly discriminating when reviewing other writer’s written works and have purposefully not publicly written a review in two years. However, I thought that Pamela Glasner’s masterfully written story was worth breaking my current trend since I was so enraptured with the subject matter and Ms. Glasner’s writing style, and I think many will benefit from reading this story the way I have.

‘Finding Emmaus’ is in fact one of the most enjoyable and fascinating novels I have EVER read, and I simply cannot recommend or endorse enough Pamela Glasner’s delightfully marvelously written story of the human spirit, the pharmaceutical industry, and what appears to be dead-on accuracy about how we, as a society, have chosen not to celebrate our differences, but have tried to classify individualism as peculiar traits that must be brought into line.

In ‘Finding Emmaus’, which I want to point out is a clever title because biblically, ‘Emmaus’ is an alleged ‘home’ town of a biblical figure during the time of Christ, yet there is no historical data that demonstrates the town ‘Emmaus’ ever existed. However, Pamela Glasner’s metaphor of ‘Finding Emmaus’ or “Finding Home” is one I think mankind continues to search for. Regardless of one’s religious or philosophical beliefs, attaining an enlightened state is what we all seek, isn’t it? But what is ‘home’? Could it possibly be a peaceful celebration of our unique honesties and perspectives? Brilliant!

The story’s two main characters are Empaths possessing what society considers to be abnormal personality traits. Francis Nettleton and Katherine Spencer live three hundred years apart, yet their stories intertwine in this groundbreaking new-age fantasy novel as they uncover a multibillion dollar conspiracy in which millions of Americans are being misdiagnosed and drugged so that the capitalistic engines greased by greed and narcissism that is the pharmaceutical industry will continue to earn fortunes.

Finding Emmaus, book one of The Lodestarre series, is writing at its best, and I believe we have amongst us in Pamela Glasner a rare author possessing dynamic insight into society’s complex social complacency matched by this literary maestro’s ability to weave a complex and complicated story built on brilliant character development and impeccable research. ‘Finding Emmaus’ is a story that needs to be heard as it is a call-to-arms against mankind’s tendency for complacency and desire for uniformity as much as it is a soaring endorsement of the celebrations found in the individualism of the human spirit.

After reading ‘Finding Emmaus’, for several days I sat and thought about the messages and storyline in Pamela Glasner’s sharply written story. At times I found myself thinking about ‘The Jungle’, about ‘The Brave New World’, and even some films that address the issue of conformity. In Pamela Glasner’s ‘Finding Emmaus’, readers everywhere have been given a rarity: a wonderful, can’t-put-down story so light and so heavy, so joyful yet so sad, so celebratory yet so frustrating, so current yet a call of what may be. Pamela Glasner’s ‘Finding Emmaus’ is a very special book that readers everywhere will delight in. I cannot endorse ‘Finding Emmaus’ enough, and I look forward to reading the next book in The Lodestarre series. This is writing at its best!

Reviewed written by:
Peter Thomas Senese
Author of 'Chasing The Cyclone'
Due out worldwide June 1st, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Landmark Child Abduction Prevention Law On Horizon In Florida.

Lawmakers sitting on child advocate Representative Snyder’s ‘Criminal and Civil Policy Committee’ voted unanimously for the advancement of Representative Darryl Rouson and Senator Sobel’s sponsored ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill. The ‘Criminal and Civil Policy Committee’ was the last of six legislative committees that Carolyn Ann Vlk’s authored legislation needed to pass through. The bill, if now approved on both the Senate and on the House floors and then signed by Governor Crist will establish risk factors associated with potential parental child abduction and further provide courts with remedies to prevent a criminal abduction from occurring.

Today was a great day for the present and future children of Florida. With approximately 400,000 criminal parental child abductions occurring each year in this country, including nearly 11,000 international parental child abductions, the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill will give courts the ability to act before the crime against innocent, defenseless children occurs.

Carolyn Ann Vlk said immediately after Representative Snyder’s committee’s ruling, “ With all of my heart, I want to thank Representative Darryl Rouson for his incredible and tireless efforts to protect the children of the state of Florida. Representative Rouson has acted with compassion while demonstrating incredible and necessary leadership the children of our state and their parents so desperately need.

“When I first set out to author the legislation that would become the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’, I have to admit it was no easy task. At the time that I sent out detailed packages of information regarding the growing severity of parental child abduction in our nation, including the fact that Florida had a very limited child abduction prevention law in place to dozens of lawmakers that I solicited, it was only Representative Darryl Rouson out of this group that immediately recognized the importance and need to have the state pass stronger child abduction prevention laws. At the time, I did not know just how dedicated of an advocate Representative Rouson is - a true legislative leader and complete defender of our children. I have such deep respect and admiration for him. When Representative Rouson and his legislative aide, Henry Moseley, invited me into their offices and began discussing child abduction, I realized I was sitting with two tenacious, intelligent men who really cared about our children. It was then that I realized Florida had a legitimate chance to pass preventive laws against child abduction.

“It has not been an easy road traveled on, but Representative Rouson and Henry Moseley worked long and hard at this bill. They have both been incredible. And I must acknowledge how Senator Eleanor Sobel soon realized the importance of this bill, and quickly sponsored it in the Senate. Between Representative Rouson and his dynamo legislative aid Henry Moseley, and, Senator Eleanor Sobel and her astute legislative assistant Nick Matthews, we had a strong nucleus.

“And when I reached out for much needed assistance, an incredible group of activist organized very quickly and worked tirelessly at educating the lawmakers here in our state’s capitol. It was remarkable that these caring individuals showed up - with Peter Thomas Senese and his family flying in from Los Angeles, and Ken Connelly flying in from Texas, and Captain William Lake coming down from the Pan Handle – all in the name of protecting our children. It was due to all of these combined efforts, and the fact that our lawmakers in this state really do now understand what is at risk, that today I am more optimistic than ever that the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ will soon become law.”

Next up for HB787 and the identical SB1862 is for each bill to be read two more times in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. After the third reading in each legislative branch, the bill is then brought for a floor vote. With three committees in each branch voting unanimously for the bill’s passage thus far, it is expected that the bill will quickly pass Florida’s legislative body and brought before Governor Crist for signing.

Peter Thomas Senese, the author of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ added after the vote, “Today we have seen how our nation’s perception of the cruel criminal act of parental child abduction is quickly changing from a non-event to the extraordinarily dangerous, abusive, and hideous crime against our children and their targeted parents that this act really is. With Florida’s Senate and House combining for six unanimous approval votes to pass the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, surely our nation and the world has taken notice.

“Unfortunately, our nation, and the world for this matter, has a growing epidemic called parental child abduction on its hands. According to various reports, international parental child abduction is increasing at a rate of nearly 40% per year. This is a giant leap in the number of international abductions – abductions that all too often do not have a positive outcome. So, in Florida, and due to a giant effort by Carolyn Ann Vlk, the lawmakers have acted swiftly. I applaud Representative Rouson and his legislative aid, the incredible Henry Moseley for taking the legislative lead on this important bill. And words of thanks and deep gratitude must be directed toward Senator Eleanor Sobel and her legislative aid Nick Matthews. But more than anyone, I want to thank my friend Carolyn Ann Vlk to have the courage and dedication to write the bill and work as hard as she has in order to protect our children. But we’re not done, the bills must pass both the senate’s and the house’s floor vote, then Governor Christ must sign this into law.”

Captain William Lake, the Floridian father of a young girl criminally kidnapped by the child’s mother and illegally detained in Japan said, “I am pleased to see that international parental child abduction is now beginning to be understood by policymakers the way it must. But my true hope, particularly in this state, is that the judges and our courts realize just how critical it is for them to act carefully and not blindly in the name of our children. They must actually enforce the laws they are responsible to enforce. So many abductions can be prevented if the courts act with caution and pay attention to warning signs and risk factors.”

For more information on Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, please visit For more information on Peter Thomas Senese, International Parental Child Abduction, and ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, please visit

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Florida Child Abduction Act Passes House Committee: Parents Of Over 200 U.S. Children Criminally Held In Japan Rally In D.C.

As Florida’s House Of Representative ‘Policy Council’ Unanimously Passes today the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, the loving parents of over 200 criminally abducted children still in Japan are rallying this weekend in Washington DC in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival, urging Japan to release their wrongfully detained children.

If Florida’s lawmakers needed to see first-hand the importance of Representative Darryl Rouson’s sponsored ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, all that is needed is for these policymakers to look into the eyes or listen to the voices of the fathers and mothers of ‘Bring Abducted Children Home’ who are uniting and rallying this weekend in Washington, D.C. to demonstrate their disapproval and anger over Japan’s refusal to return over 200 United States children-citizens – many their own children – who were criminally detained in Japan.

Perhaps the lawmakers who sat on child advocate Representative Llorente’s ‘Policy Council’ had considered the fact that Japan has never returned an abducted child to the United States, when they unanimously voted on advancing Carolyn Ann Vlk’s authored ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill.

Next up for this critical bill that if made into law would allow courts to consider risk factors associated with a potential parental child abduction and to order remedies that would prevent such abduction from occurring, is for the House’s ‘Criminal and Justice Council’, to vote on the bill this Tuesday, April 13th, 2010. The council is chaired by Representative Snyder, who is known to be a defender and protector of children.

Representative Darryl Rouson, a lawmaker with a long and impressive history of advocating for children everywhere commented, “I am extremely pleased with the leadership that came out of Chairman Llorente’s ‘Policy Council’ this morning. Today marks the fifth legislative committee that the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill passed unanimously. Most of us policymakers in Tallahassee are parents or grandparents – we realize just how important it is to create laws that not only will protect our children, but will also protect the parents of our children who act in the best interest of our children. Prevention law is critical – and all you have to do is look at Washington, D.C. today and hear the pain in the voices of all of those loving parents who have had their children criminally abducted to Japan. And not one of our U.S. citizens has been returned home? This is beyond unthinkable. My prayers are with these illegally detained children and their parents as they fight the necessary fight to bring abducted children home! And this is why we, the lawmakers in Florida need to continue our expedite action of making the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill a law.”

Peter Thomas Senese, the author of the critically acclaimed ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ and producer of the groundbreaking documentary film ‘Chasing Parents’ said, “I am very pleased to see Representative Llorente’s leadership today as the ‘Policy Council’ passed unanimously the landmark bill my friend Carolyn Vlk authored. This bill will prevent many child abductions in Florida from happening. And by Florida demonstrating leadership, new laws will be passed in other states that will prevent abductions from occurring there. And that is why we’re all doing what we’re doing: to protect our innocent children from experiencing the cruelty of parental child abduction. As Representative Rouson pointed out, all you need to understand the nightmare that occurs in most every case is to look at the ordeal the parents of ‘Bring Abducted Children Home’ are doing this weekend in Washington, D.C. I mean, how could we not have preventive laws in place when countries like Japan have never returned a criminally parentally abducted child regardless if the abductor is a Japanese national or not? We need these laws, and we need them now. Fortunately, Representative Rouson realized that and acted. Unfortunately though, if lawmakers and the public in general had understood the reality of these types of abduction crimes, I am certain preventive laws would have been passed earlier, and parents like my friend William Lake, a Florida resident, would not be in D.C. protesting Japan’s shameful behavior. And on that note, I want to urge the public to look for and support the members of BAC Home who will be rallying this weekend during the Cherry Blossom Festival. They really need all the support they can receive.”

The cases of international abduction are endless. Each is different, yet they all have common threads that tie them together. Two of these threads are that a child that has been criminally abducted is removed from the child’s jurisdiction of habitual residency. The other is that the loving Chasing Parents left behind in the wake of their child’s abduction have limited resources available to bring their children home. Examples of this include loving parent Nigel Lewis’ pursuit of his abducted children Jasmyn and Cody, or Captain William Lake’s pursuit of his daughter Mary Victoria, or Commander Paul Toland’s desire to see his daughter Erika, or Doug Berg’s vigilance and endless effort to reunite with his children Gunnar and Kianna. Look at the action of Chris Savoie, who attempted to rescue his children Isaac and Rebecca, or the tragedy that Richard Wood faces in dealing with his daughter Tytiana, and son, Byron’s return. Sadly, the list goes on.

Brett Weed, the Vice President of Children’s Rights Council – Oregon Chapter and a Chasing Parent left staring at Japan’s black hole said, “According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 16: “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” Both countries involved in international cases of abduction are in violation of this article if uncompromising efforts are not made in the recovery efforts of an abducted child.”

T. Miklia, another Chasing Parent said, “How much longer will the loss of U.S. children be considered good international policy and an acceptable by-product of U.S./Japan relations?”

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the author of ‘The Child Abduction Prevention Act’ sponsored by Representative Rouson and Senator Sobel added, “My heart breaks in learning of the tragedy after tragedy that each of these and many other parents must endure in the face of having a child abducted, particularly across international borders. I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up every day and not see my child, who was an at-risk child. I hope and imagine that the lawmakers here in my state of Florida are not only listening to the voices of the loving parents in our state who are urging for this critical piece of legislation to be made into law, but I hope they hear the voices and see the faces of our friends in Washington this weekend. Surely, they will come to realize that the issue of parental child abduction is global in nature and perhaps more complex and heartbreaking than they could ever imagine. I urge the lawmakers in my wonderful state to pass the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill and share with the world that the crime of parental child abduction will not be tolerated in our state, and in civilized nations, for that matter. And finally, if you’re in Washington over the coming days, please take the time to visit the parents from ‘Bring Abducted Children Home’. They need your support. Their children desperately need your support.”

For more information on the Florida ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’, please visit For more information on Bring Abducted Children Home, please visit For more information on ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, Peter Thomas Senese, or international parental child abduction, please visit

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bring Abducted Children Home Unites In DC: 230 Abducted U.S. Citizens Kidnapped To Japan Remain

Japan: The Black Hole of International Parental Child Abduction

Chasing Parents from all over the United States who have their children criminally abducted and detained in Japan have joined together under the banner of ‘Bring Abducted Children Home’ (, in an effort to raise the public’s awareness on the growing cruelty directed at defenseless, innocent U.S. children-citizens victimized by the act of international parental child abduction. The group, which consists of nearly 50 Chasing Parents and their supporters have descended on Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers and government officials in order to press for the return of their children, while also intending several formal protests and awareness campaigns in order to educate the scores of visitors celebrating Japan’s culture.

The timing of their rally could not be better: this week, Washington celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival, where over a million visitors are expected to visit the nation’s Capitol. One of these visitors expected to visit is Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

Japan has never returned a child that has been internationally parentally kidnapped and illegally detained in their country in accordance to the laws of the child’s nation of habitual residency. According to various reports, it is estimated that there are over 1,300 children who had been criminally abducted from a foreign country and presently criminally detained in Japan. In addition, in the last decade alone there were 167 child abduction cases in Japan reported to the State Department involving 230 children. This, despite an assortment of U.S. court orders and demands for these children to be returned home.

Zero abducted children returned from Japan equates to this country becoming known as the ‘Black Hole of Abduction’, and a ‘Safe Harbor’ for parental child kidnappers.

Sadly, most American citizens and for that matter, most citizens of developed and progressive-leaning countries have no idea that Japan is a safe-harbor for child abductors, none of whom face prosecution or extradition in Japan. And why would the public not know this? Isn’t Japan one of the United States’ strongest strategic partners and allies? On the surface, the answer to this question is ‘yes’. But how can a strategic partner allow for criminally abducted children to remain in their country and under the guidance and care no less, of the abducting parent?

Culturally, Japan’s courts allow for only one parent to have access and custody of a child during divorce proceedings. Tragically for the child and the parent not selected to be with their own child by the court, contact and communication is frowned upon and not approved. This approach is far different than the West, where research and common sense demonstrate that a child is best served by knowing the love of both parents.

For example, the case of Navy Commander Paul Toland and his daughter Erika's plight provides one microcosm that there is more to Japan's refusal to comply than what is commonly referred to as 'cultural differences in law'. In Commander Toland's case, his daughter Erika was abducted by the child's US Citizen mother while he was assigned in Japan on military duty. Shortly after, the mother died, and the grandmother took possession of Erika where she remains until this day, held captive in a country that has never returned a child. The US State Department tried to intervene and asked to visit Erika to check on her welfare and well-being, but the grandmother denied their request. The Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked to visit Erika to check on her welfare and well-being, but again, the grandmother denied their request. In the Japanese system, where no enforcement mechanisms exist and compliance is completely voluntary, all any government agency can say is "We're sorry, we tried." Nobody can offer any remedies or solutions, because none exist. Commander Toland, who is Erika's sole legal custodian under Maryland State Law, remains with absolutely no access to his daughter. Erika has been gone now for nearly seven years. Her father Paul loves her with all of his heart.

Commander Toland commented, "I never dreamed that serving my country overseas in one of our allied nations would result in the loss of my only child. Japan is supposedly an ally of the United States, so why does the United States continue to
tolerate this behavior from Japan? How can a nation that we call an ally be guilty of such despicable human rights violations and get away with it? Our children are all we have, and every civilized society has the responsibility to ensure that their most vulnerable citizens, their children, have the opportunity to know and love their parents."

In another case that cuts through the chatter of cultural issues is the case of Captain William Lake. In Captain Lake’s case, his former spouse, who is not a Japanese citizen, abducted his daughter Mary Victoria to Japan despite an array of court orders. The abducting parent has no national ties to Japan; however, for nearly five years Japan has provided a safe harbor for the abducting parent despite having no connection to Japan. Mary Victoria will be 13 this Sunday. Her father William loves her greatly.

Christopher Savoie, who drew international media attention to the Japanese government's complicity with child kidnappers when he was wrongfully detained by Japanese police last year while attempting to retrieve his two kidnapped children stated, "I am glad that the tide is turning and that this extremely shameful aspect of Japanese culture is being exposed for what it is. People are starting to realize all of the previously closely guarded dirty secrets of Japanese society such as the popularity and legality in Japan of child pornography, legal "consensual" sex with 13 year-old children, cover-ups about killer vehicles, the ruthless killing of dolphins and the most disgusting secret of all -- that Japan officially and shamelessly supports and even assists in the kidnapping of innocent kids from countries that are supposedly their 'allies'."

‘The Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects Of International Parental Child Abduction’ offers citizens of countries that have signed the international treaty remedies that can legally order for the return of the child. Japan has not signed this treaty, despite internal and external pressure being placed on the Prime Minister and the Diet to do so.

Presently in Japan, there is heavy discussion going on internally about Japan becoming a signatory of the Hague Convention. Petitions from Japanese citizens who face international abduction and have had their own children abducted abroad have come to recognize that they have little recourse available to them for the return of their own children due to Japan’s failure to sign the international convention. In addition, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has openly said that he would like to see Japan sign the Hague Convention, but cautioned that it might be a year before the nation does so because of the slow moving Diet.
Randy Collins, the father of Keisuke Christian Collins - Abducted June 16, 2008 by Reiko Nakata stated, "Any person from Japan that makes the choice to visit or live in United States, must obey ALL laws of the US. When the Japanese parent violates U.S. laws on U.S. soil with existing court orders already in place, by illegally abducting a child to Japan, that parent MUST be extradited back to the US and the child MUST be returned to their habitual residence."

Diplomacy and dialogue are key, but with a zero return rate – ZERO – diplomacy has been too slow for every abducted child and their Chasing Parent. It is critical that the voices of caring individuals – mothers, fathers, and children of somebody – all of us – share our concern with Japan for creating a ‘Black Hole For Child Abductors’. After all – we’re talking about Japan, not some militant third world country, right?

Perhaps Tony Del Vecchio, who lost custody of his eleven-year-old daughter after protracted litigation in the Tokyo District Court, said it best, "For a foreigner divorcing a Japanese national, loss of parental rights followed by denial of access to one’s child is a fait accompli."

Peter Thomas Senese, a successful Chasing Parent and author of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ commented, “None of these parents expected or anticipated for the abduction of their children to occur. And surely, unless you have walked in the shoes as a Chasing Parent left behind in the wake of criminal child abduction, most individuals can ever understand just how complex, painful, and costly it is to deal with abduction in an international environment. These parents and their children’s ordeal demonstrates just how difficult it is to have an abducted child returned.”

The loving Chasing Parents of children held illegally in Japan ask you to show your sign of support for their children and their efforts to bring them home. For more information, including a schedule of their activity during the coming week, please visit

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Parents of Kidnapped Children Wrongfully Detained In Japan Prepare To Unite In Washington, D.C. Upon Japan's Prime Minister's Arrival To Cherry Bloss

Imagine having your child criminally kidnapped and abducted by the child’s other parent to another country that is known as a fortified and impenetrable safe-harbor for child abductors. Now consider the notion that this nation is one of the United States main strategic allies and trading partners. Are you thinking that this is impossible? Are you wondering what country this is?

Welcome to Japan.

As astronomers push our minds and imaginations by studying the universe, we have come to learn that ‘black holes’ exist many light years away. Think again.

Since at least the inception of The Hague Convention On The Civil Aspects On International Parental Child Abduction – the main international treaty that addresses international parental child abduction – which Japan still has not signed – there has never been one criminally kidnapped and parentally abducted child returned by Japan to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, or anywhere else for that matter.

Once a criminally kidnapped child enters into Japan with their abducting parent, the abducting parent has entered a safe harbor, and fear of prosecution or extradition are put aside. As for the abducted, victimized child – they, like the Chasing Parent left behind in the wake of their child’s abduction, have entered into a black hole where both short and long-term damage almost always plagues the child for the rest of their life.

I will reiterate the unthinkable: It is believed that no child abducted to Japan has ever been returned.

According to various government and independent reports, it is estimated that there presently are 85 active cases involving approximately 230 American children-citizens who have been kidnapped and are presently illegally detained in Japan during the time period of 2000 through mid-2009. There have been hundreds of cases that have been closed during this time period. Information on why these cases have been closed was not available at the time of this article.

In addition, there are at least 38 children-citizens from the United Kingdom, and at least 37 children-citizens from Canada presently being held illegally in Japan. According to William Duncan, the Deputy Secretary General of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, there are approximately 1,300 children in total presently living in Japan that are considered abducted and who’s wrongful retention is in violation of criminal kidnapping and abduction laws originating from these children’s countries of original jurisdiction.

So what do you do if your child has been abducted to Japan? This question is the very same question scores of heartbroken but determined loving parents have asked themselves for some time.

Except now, it appears that the tide is turning, and the voices of determined Chasing Parents have finally reached the policymakers in Washington and Tokyo. And their message is clear: Japan’s failure to uphold the laws of the nation of an abducted child’s original jurisdiction will no longer be tolerated.

Last month a two-day close door meeting took place between leading Hague-signatory countries and leaders in Japan, the Ambassadors of the Hague-signatory nations stated in a joint press conference:

We, the Ambassadors to Japan of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States have on several occasions expressed our concern to the Government of Japan about the increase in international parental abduction cases involving Japan and affecting our nationals.

We welcome recent statements by the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Justice Minister and other Japanese officials recognizing the seriousness of this international problem. We are encouraged by recent positive initiatives by the Government of Japan, such as the establishment of the Division for Issues Related to Child Custody within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this spirit, today we have concluded a two-day symposium during which experts from our nations discussed aspects of child abduction with Japanese Government officials and other leaders in this field.

So, you might be asking yourself, why is Japan clearly violating court orders from foreign courts that possessed jurisdiction of the child due to the child’s habitual residency?

Well, the answers are can be found in the nation’s culture and laws. First, change in Japan typically does not occur from within the nation’s borders. If change does occur, it is typically due to the international community expressing urgent concern over this country’s behavior. In addition, the family laws governing divorce and separation in Japan give only one parent custody and guardianship of the children of the divorce, and custody is almost always issued to the mother of the children. And in almost all cases, the non-custodial, non-guardian parent seldom sees the children of the marriage once the divorce action begins.

In addition, parties in Japan have consistently stated that there is great fear in ordering the return of the child and abducting parent because the majority of these cases involve domestic violence.

On February 2nd, 2010 Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell was asked a specific question regarding domestic violence and Japan’s policy of no-return from Maegawa, a reporter from Japan’s national newspaper Asahi Shimbun. The following was taken directly from the United States Department of State’s website.

QUESTION: Thank you for taking my question. I’m Maegawa from Asahi Shimbun, a national newspaper in Japan. I have a question on the Hague -- this issue – because some Japanese citizens are very concerned because this issue includes some of the domestic violence cases where some spouses or ex-spouses have actually fled from the spouses and had no choice but to take the children with them. How do you answer that question?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY CAMPBELL: I have to say, I've heard this on a number of occasions from Japanese friends, and I think that there is the view that this is a very widespread phenomenon. These allegations caused extraordinary unhappiness among this community, most of whom in the United States already had legal custody, sometimes had gone through divorce or were separated. We can find almost no cases of alleged or actual substantiated claims of violence and where those apply, we of course, understand and support that. But because of the legal situation in Japan, I think that this allegation is used very loosely and oftentimes inappropriately without any supporting criteria whatsoever, and our particular issue is with a situation in which once there has been a separation or a divorce in the United States and when a parent is given dual custody -- parents are given dual custody -- and one of the parents takes the children to Japan outside of a legal framework that's been established. That's kidnapping, and that's a very grave and worrisome problem that needs to be dealt with. I would say that there is a substantial misconception on this issue in Japan that the cases that we are dealing with are primarily those of domestic abuse. Our judgment would be that that is not the case. Okay, last question.

Pressure inside Japan seems to be mounting to sign the Hague Convention. Recently, a Czech father took his Czech-Japanese son to the Czech Republic outside of court orders. The action was met with a loud outcry in Japan, as the mother of the child collected 10,000 Japanese signatures urging Japan to sign the Hague Convention so that the left behind mother could legally attempt to recover her child.

So, perhaps change is occurring within Japan, but internal change has not been something the country is known for.

Diplomatic efforts by countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom continue to put great pressure on the Diet and Japan’s Prime Minister, Yukio Hatoyama. In February of this past year, Hatoyama stated that he was willing to sign a treaty that addressed international parental child abduction, but cautioned that it might take until next year before this is achieved.

Japan’s Prime Minister Hatoyama is scheduled to visit Washington, D.C. on April 9th, 10th, and 11th in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival.

It is expected that a large and vocal group of Chasing Parents from the United States will make their concerns known during the weeklong festivities in Washington. These parents of criminally kidnapped and wrongfully retained children are anticipated to meet with various legislative leaders, key members of the U.S. Department of State, and are expected to pass out flyers and other information during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

For more information of the children still captive in Japan, the parents who are desperately trying to bring them home, and how to show your support, please visit For more information on Peter Thomas Senese and ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ please visit

Child Abduction Prevention Bill in Florida Looks Promising

Today in Florida’s Senate the ‘Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee’ Chairman Christ, Vice-Chairwoman Wilson, and the remaining committee members voted unanimously in favor of ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ sponsored by children advocates Senator Eleanor Sobel and Representative Darryl Rouson.

Today, Florida’s lawmakers demonstrated remarkable local and national leadership as this critical piece of legislation designed to prevent domestic and international parental child abduction took another major step forward into becoming reality. With all three necessary senate committees all voting unanimously on SB 1862, the next step is for the bill to be voted on the senate floor in the coming weeks. It is greatly anticipated that the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, written by child advocate Carolyn Ann Vlk, will overwhelmingly pass the Senate.

Up next for the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ is Chairman Representative Llorente’s ‘Policy Council’, which is expected to agenda the bill this coming Friday. Representative Llorente, the Chairman of the House’s Policy Council, is an active advocate and supporter of children’s causes. An independent bill analysis conducted by his committee was extremely favorable of HB 787.

However, the critical legislation still faces some serious obstacles in the House of Representatives. The most serious one is if Representative William Snyder, the Chairman of the House’s ‘Criminal and Civil Justice and Policy Council Committee’ and a policymaker with a long and distinguished career in law enforcement will agenda the bill if in fact it passes through Representative Llorente’s ‘Policy Council’ this Friday, as it is expected to. According to a staff member in Representative Snyder’s office, the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ is on the Chairman’s radar, and he is carefully following its movement.

Carolyn Vlk, the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ author said today after the Senate’s unanimous vote, “Today marks another step forward in the creation of law that will protect the children of our state from the cruelty of child abduction. I am very pleased to see Chairman Christ’s and Vice-Chairwoman Wilson’s leadership today. The citizens of our great state should take note of their leadership. Now, SB 1862 will be brought to the Senate floor. And with three unanimous Senate committee votes, it appears that the Senate is in full support of the bill. And I would like to share my deep appreciation for Senator Eleanor Sobel for her continued commitment to protecting the children of our state. Senator Sobel is deeply respected in the Senate and by her constituents.”

Peter Thomas Senese, the producer of the documentary film on international parental child abduction titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ and the author of the highly praised upcoming book titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ stated after the Senate’s vote, “Today is a clear indicator that the lawmakers in Florida take very seriously their responsibility to protect the children of the state. By passing unanimously this bill through all three senate committees, the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill looks that much closer to becoming a reality. When this bill becomes law, the lawmakers of Florida will have set an example for many other states to follow. Fortunately, the issue of parental child abduction has been one that is understood by the policymakers for exactly what this is: a cruel crime against innocent children who need their protection. This bill must be passed into law. And when it does, I believe many other states and their lawmakers will follow the leadership the policymakers in Florida have demonstrated.”

Representative Darryl Rouson, who initially sponsored the bill in the House of Representatives previously stated, “I am extremely pleased with today’s Senate Committee passage of the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill. Obviously there is more work to do; however, it is becoming clearer by the day that my fellow lawmakers realize just how critical this bill is for all children residing in the state of Florida. Unquestionably, when the ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ becomes law, the safety of our children in this state will increase substantially. And that, our children’s safety, is what this is all about.”

Today in Florida, it was a good day for our children.

To learn more about Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill, please visit To learn more about international parental child abduction, please visit

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peter Thomas Senese Gives Away Educational Film On Parental Child Abduction In Order To Increase Awareness.

‘Chasing Parents’ Filmmaker Peter Thomas Senese Demonstrates Commitment To Raising Awareness On Child Abduction: Offers DVD of Groundbreaking Film On Parental Child Abduction To Governments and Advocacy Groups Worldwide.

Peter Thomas Senese, the producer of the groundbreaking documentary film created to educate society on the grave dangers of international parental child abduction titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ announced today that Pacifica TWST will make available to all government agencies, embassies, courts, and children’s advocacy groups worldwide complimentary copies of the upcoming DVD release of the enlightening and first-of-its kind educational film that provides substantial insight into the global epidemic of international parental child abduction.

Peter Thomas Senese is committed to raising awareness on the ever-increasing number of criminal parental child abductions that occur each year in the United States and throughout the world. In the United States, it is believed there are over 10,000 international abductions that occur each year. This number may be significantly higher. It has been cited by various U.S. government reports that roughly 380,000 parental child abductions occur in the country each year, and that this number is increasing substantially each year. Tragically, many abducted children are never returned, and too many are lost forever.

A microcosm of this cruel and unacceptable situation includes that over the past four decades, and perhaps longer, it is believed that no child ever abducted from the United States to Japan has ever been returned home. This unbelievable fact is even that much harder to comprehend when considering Japan’s role as a strategic partner and ally of the United States. Formal protests led by Chasing Parents who have children criminally detained by Japan are expected in Washington, D.C. this week in conjunction with the arrival of Japan’s Prime Minister and the Cherry Blossom Parade. Japan’s policy to remain a safe harbor for their own nationals who commit child abduction while living abroad, or who enter their country with an illegally detained and criminally abducted child is at the forefront of concern for individuals who advocate the rights of a child, and Japan’s intolerable and inexcusable conduct as a kidnapping safe-harbor.

Peter Thomas pointed out, “My friend and Florida resident Captain William Lake is a loving father who has had his daughter criminally abducted to Japan by his former spouse – a country the child and the child’s other parent have no attachment to whatsoever. For nearly six years, Japan has refused to honor a court order issued by the United States – the court of habitual residency of the child - that has ordered for the child to be returned back to the United States. Captain Lake’s victimized child is one of at least 88 United States children, 38 Canadian children, and 37 European children kidnapped to Japan. Their Chasing Parents continue to attempt to deal with the child abduction black hole that is now known as Japan. It’s incredible, but Japan is not the only country that harbors child abductors. Countries from Asia and the Middle East including China and Saudi Arabia are just as bad as Japan, perhaps worse because of the pedophilia trade in these countries. But most of our citizens do not know this because it’s just so outrageous and incomprehensible. But outrageous and incomprehensible is the world of international parental child abduction. And this is why legislators need to pass abduction prevention laws immediately.”

Peter Thomas is a former Chasing Parent who has experienced what it is like to face the dire storms of having a child criminally abducted and detained across multiple international borders. The noteworthy author of the critically acclaimed upcoming release of the hardcover book publication of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ (publication date of June 1st, 2010) successfully reunited with his child after traveling on a long, costly, and complex journey that took him to the other side of the world.

“There is never a day that I do not realize just how lucky and fortunate my family is to have been reunited. However, I also know personally of the common pain and unbearable suffering felt by those parents who still search for their children. I know just how extraordinarily difficult it is for the vast majority of parents to safely rescue and recover their children because the systems that have been created to protect their child’s safety have not worked efficiently, and, the gaping hole in preventive child abduction law has in fact been the catalyst for the increasing number of crimes our innocent children face. So in my own way, I am trying to do something about it.

“I am pleased to announce that Pacifica TWST will make available ‘Chasing Parents’ to all institutions that serve abducted children and their targeted parents. In producing this film, my friend, and the author of the extremely insightful book on child abduction from the eyes of a child titled ‘Throwing Stones’, Mr. Ken Connelly, and I had several goals in mind that would serve the global community that has an interest in child abduction. The first goal was to provide insight and education on domestic and international parental child abduction in hopes to create dialog that would affect policymakers and courts charged with the responsibility to protect children. We also wanted to create an accessible blueprint or guide for those parents who might face abduction to turn to prior to, during, and post-abduction reunification. And finally, we hoped to provide insight on how to deal with your child after a successful recovery.

“Unfortunately, and to the best of my knowledge, there never has been comprehensive, informative, and instantly accessible material created that was supported by film and made instantly available for parents who desperately need assistance prior to, during, or after their child’s abduction. ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’ does just that, and the film’s content is fully supported online at the official website of ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, which is scheduled for worldwide publication on June 1st, 2010.

“Hopefully, the dedicated effort we put forth will not only help parents prevent an abduction or assist in the recovery of a child criminally abducted, but I hope that lawmakers will continue to turn to the film in order to expand their understanding of parental child abduction so that they may demonstrate leadership in creating much needed child abduction prevention law. I know first-hand that the state of Florida’s lawmakers in now in session in Tallahassee have watched the film as my friend Carolyn Vlk’s skillfully crafted and critically needed ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ bill has moved swiftly through Florida’s legislative branch of government. So, in this sense, the film is meeting one of its primary objectives and that is to educate lawmakers responsible for creating policy to protect our children.”

The eye-opening film consists of seven segments: Part I – Introduction, Part II – Warning Signs, Part III – Abduction In Progress, Part IV – Parental Alienation and Child Abduction, Part V – Post Abduction Reunification, Part VI – Reform and Change.

The now finished production is for Peter Thomas Senese the completion of a four-part educational campaign he promised to create once his journey of chasing the cyclones of international parental child abduction ended. The main components of this campaign include the creation of a highly informative website on international parental child abduction: ( In addition, Peter Thomas’ ‘Chasing The Cyclone’, the critically acclaimed upcoming novel inspired by the author’s own experiences has been praised by reviewers as a story that will provide readers with insight on international abduction commencing from the well-planned criminal act to the inconceivable odyssey of an attempted child recovery. In addition, the groundbreaking documentary film ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, offers insight into all aspects of parental child abduction. And it was Peter Thomas’ intent to participate in efforts to lobby and educate lawmakers so to create and implement child abduction prevention laws.

Segments of ‘CHASING PARENTS: Racing Into The Storms Of International Child Abduction’ are presently available for preview at ‘Chasing The Cyclone’s’ official website, The producer points out that the documentary was made possible in part due to other Chasing Parents, children of abduction, and leading experts working in the area of International Parental Child Abduction’s eagerness to share their stories and perspectives.