This article and the first two paragraphs sums up international abduction rather well … and made me cry. My life was irrevocably changed at the age of 6 when my parents made the decision I would return to Canada with my mom and my brother would stay behind with my father. And the writer is correct, the only way to deal with international abduction is prevention. Once the child has left Canada, the child becomes a pawn in international law and whoever has the child has the power. My children and I were subjected to severe abuse from my husband because I knew what could happen from my own international abduction by my Canadian father and refused to leave the family home or abandon my children. Both my father and mother are Canadian so its not just individuals from other countries that abduct children. My husband tried for 9/10 years to entice my children with trips to Iran to see ski resorts, swimming pools, and a better quality of life by telling my daughter at the age of 10/11 that he could get her a job coaching and playing soccer in Iran. If the UK is asking all visa applicants to provide finger scans as part of the application process, why aren’t all countries considering this? I am determined to change laws to protect Canadian families and children from the risk and harm of transnational marriages where spouses can avoid the law by fleeing the country.
The following excerpts, published in an article called, “Biometrics: Preventative Measure for International Parental Abductions?” in 2013 are courtesy of Veronika Bradley, Editor for Children’s Health and Safety Association, who wrote the article.
“This story will never have a fairy tale ending. Parental abductions are synonymously sad from beginning to end even if your child is returned home safely,” says Pina Arcamone, Directrice générale of Enfant-Retour Québec – The Missing Children’s Network.
Your life as you know it will never be the same again – it has been irrevocably altered to another unimaginable and unpredictable state of being where you intimately know the meaning of the word ‘betrayal’, and ‘trust’ has been exceedingly compromised if not marred beyond belief. You are given the inconceivable task to not only make sense of the pieces of your life that no longer seem to fit but have the courage to look in the mirror and accept the fact that these pieces, no matter how foreign or unavoidably dysfunctional – represent you. You are the parent left behind. You are the sibling left behind. You are the abducted child.
Airlines and government officials advise travellers to have a consent letter from the other parent if they want to fly with a child alone, but this is a voluntary gesture and the reality is that a signature on a letter can be easily forged. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed that airlines can do nothing to stop a parent with a child from leaving even when they don’t have a letter. “Since there’s no governmental requirement, the airlines have no legal mandate to be checking these,” said spokesperson Perry Flint, who added airlines could open themselves up to lawsuits if they refuse to let a paying passenger board.
Once a child has left the country, the odds are against the parent in being successful in locating and/or recovering their abducted child. The process in laying criminal charges against the abductor is not only complex, time consuming and difficult but may have repercussions that the parent did not expect let alone take into consideration. Experts advocate ‘exit controls’ as the only solution and common denominator in preventing parental abductions. Parents need a security ‘exit control’ infrastructure that will protect their children.