Having witnessed this destructive storm first-hand, I, like the hundreds of thousands of other parents who know what it is like to chase the cyclones of international child abduction, have been left with a deep emotional scar that may never heal.
However, sometimes scars could be used for a good thing: they can serve as a reminder of the responsibility you may have toward making a difference so others may not have to endure all the difficulties you may have been required to in order to defend what you believe in or protect those you love. And this is particularly true – the scar, that is – for targeted parents who know of the war called international child kidnapping. I know I am far from alone when I share I have a deep desire to make a difference in this particularly complex and complicated world; a world I have often called ‘The World Turned Upside Down’.
|International Parental Child |
Abduction Is A Cruel Crime Against
An Innocent Child
Now, I’m not sure if you or someone you know has ever had to enter into ‘The World Turned Upside Down’, but if you have, then you might have come to realize that there is a community of caring and compassionate individuals who partake in this world: all of whom are familiar with the scar that is created when a child is stolen. I have been fortunate to get to know and befriend incredible women and men deeply connected to this world. One of the most remarkable of these individuals is my friend Martin Waage, a Director for the global security intelligence organization ABP World Group. Amongst many of Martin's responsabilities is that he oversee's the organization's extensive and herculean efforts to reunite internationally abducted children with theri targeted parent. ABP World Group, under Martin’s leadership in this area, is a global intelligence and security organization with an extraordinary record of participating in safely bringing home over 200 criminally internationally abducted children. As a chasing parent, I want to emphasize how important the notion of ‘safety’ is to me.
|Child Abduction is|
Unquestionably, ABP’s remarkable record of operating in ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ and being intimately involved in over 200 child reunifications bespeaks of ABP World Group's deep understanding and familiarity with the intricate and multifaceted gamut of issues associated with parental child abduction. ABP’s Demonstrated compassionate understanding and precise capability in crisis-intervention and cross-border mediation are critical components necessary attributes for individuals who come to the aid of defenseless abducted children that are all too often placed into the most volatile of circumstances and situations. Critically, time is the singular most important factor when a child is abducted abroad. Having an experienced team of personnel such as ABP’s highly efficient team well versed in electronic footprint forensics as well as highly skilled ground personnel capable of locating a missing child and abducting parent who may choose to go underground and off the grid are imperative when considering a reunification strategy. In essence, a reunification team must compassionately understand the challenges, niuances, and pragmatic operational issues involved in trying to locate a child. Under Martin Waage’s leadership in child reunification, ABP has demonstrated a long and incredible track record of finding and safely bringing home internationally abducted children.
|Martin Waage: ABP World Group|
(Peter Thomas Senese) Why does ABP World Group concentrate on IPCA?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The reason why ABP World Group Focus on IPCA is quit simple: this is an international growing problem that is out of control, and tragically, government intervention and current law or lack of enforcement of laws pertaining to the act of international child kidnapping are not enforced. So, a parent who is desperately trying to protect their child or children have in reality, very little recourse available to them. And despite the Hague Convention’s existence, not only is the process very lengthy and costly, but a substantial number of cases do no have a positive outcome for the targeted parent. So, our services and expertise are very important because for many parents, we are the viable solution, one with an impressive track record. And it all began many years ago, when parental victims contacted us desperate for help due to court or law enforcement’s failure to provide the assistance they needed. As our activity in this area evolved, so to did our expertise and vast understanding of the seriousness of the issues at hand.
(Peter Senese) Who are the leaders behind ABP?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) ABP World Group Ltd was founded in 2000, and is an international intelligence, investigation, and security company. I am the Managing Director overseeing critical components of our operation, including child abduction reunification.
In addition, Lars Willmann is the Director of Operations. Lars is a former Norwegian Special Forces and military intelligence operator. The rest of our team have substantial ground operation activity. They include men and women from SAS (British Special Forces), French Foreign Legion, Norwegian Special Forces, Delta Force (US), Spetsnaz (Russian Special Forces), Spanish Special Forces, as well as former intelligence personnel, police investigators and medical personnel. Because of security reasons, I am not be able to revile our other team leader and operator’s identities, other than to clients in active cases.
(Peter Thomas Senese) What are some of the challenges a parent faces if they do not know where their abducted child is located?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The main challenge is that without knowing where the child is, you’re looking at a sea of billions of people all over the world, and you’re trying to find one. Think about it. Pragmatically speaking, if you do not know the initial landing country – the country the child was taken to – then you will have a difficult time tracing the abductor’s footprints. And unfortunately, law enforcement moves much slower when a missing child is not a native of their country. So, inevitably, the biggest challenge is trying to figure who and were a parent is going to get help. And that’s where ABP’s strength: we’re very capable of forensic foot printing. Our team of investigators have demonstrated investigative capacity to track down even the most devious and prepared abductors who think they can fall off the planet and hide with a kidnapped child. However, they are wrong. There are always leads. The key is to know what some of these leads that perhaps are not so obvious are, and then be able to react swiftly no matter where in the world that lead takes you. And ABP’s reaction ability is one of our most prized assets.
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The hardest part is very obvious – for a loving parent to be unexpectedly separated from their child while having to contend with the very real concerns of the unknown safety issues that do exist for abducted children and their abducting fugitive parents. So spiritually, the loss is the hardest part, but soon after, it is the worry of the child’s safety. And unfortunately, local police and courts fail to often in coming to the aid of a targeted parent. Generally speaking, all across the world, the outcry from a majority of targeted parents is that they said the laws and law enforcement of courts responsible to uphold laws to protect a child were disregarded because either the police or the judges did not understand the severity of international child abduction. The other thing is that The Hague Convention is to little or no help at all for many parents either because many countries are not signatories, do not comply to the international convention, or the process itself is utterly flawed. One very important belief of mine is that Article 13 – The Abductor’s Defense Mantra - of the Convention should be removed from the international treaty.
|Parental Abductors |
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The vast majority of parents who abduct a child do so in order to hurt the targeted parent. There has been extensive worldwide research about the behavior of an abductor, and it all points in the same direction: we’re not dealing with rational people with rational thought process. Parental child abductors are sociopaths who conspire selfishly to use a child to attack their former spouse. They are absolute liars who will say anything in court or to law enforcement. They will file false police reports, make false accusations, use the Internet to defame their partner in order to potentially have the courts sanction their criminal behavior – you think of the illicit act, and they’re very capable.
The problem is that if they are successful and go underground, they’re typically pretty good for a short period of time of manipulating others into buying into the lies. But then eventually their true identity shows up – and that is when it becomes even more dangerous for the child. And remember, these abductors on the run will move from place to place out of fear of being found. The unbalance is very unsettling for the child because the child is living the life of a fugitive.
(Peter Thomas Senese) What are the dangers inherent for both abductor and child when an abducting parent lives the life of a fugitive?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The primary issue for a fugitive on the run is that they enter into a world that is unknown and filled with other predators. There are a lot of questionable characters who prey on others in this world. It is very easy to get mixed up with the wrong people. And so, we have seen the abducting parent and child actually become the victims of other predators. Sadly, things go full circle. This is one of the reasons why it is critical for a targeted parent who knows their child was abducted to react immediately: time is critical.
In addition, there is a high risk for health issues that appear common as an abducting parent is either hesitant or does not have the full resources to seek medical care when they or their child need it. And tragically, we are aware of circumstances when an abductor – who are always not mentally balanced to begin with – has taken their own life. And sometimes – in the course of an abduction, if timely intervention does not occur … a child could die. And this is completely inexcusable to me. What has a defenseless child done? Nothing. But a sociopathic abducting parent doesn’t think of the ramifications of their act. And so, it is ABP World Groups compassionate belief that if we can make a difference on behalf of a child, we will.
|Feelings of helplessness |
and the unknown fuel
a targeted parents futile
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The short-term and long-term difficulties are enormous. First and foremost is the very real issue of the child’s safety and protecting the child’s life. Too often we hear from other individuals not involved in the issues of IPCA voice their irresponsible and uneducated opinion that how dangerous could an abduction be if the child is with their parent? Well, the answer is enormously physically, mentally, and spiritually dangerous. In fact, I am not alone when I say that a parental abduction is more challenging at times than a stranger abduction because the trust broken from parent to child is very damaging.
As for the child, they are torn from their other parent and typically their extended family. Gone too are their friends and community. And the abducting parent will do everything possible to strip the child’s identity as it relates to the targeted parent. Its cruel, but multiplied by the fact that the child is taken to a foreign land and lives in a stressful environment.
The short-term and long-term ramifications on a child of IPCA are real and damaging. This is why recovery time is so important.
(Peter Thomas Senese) Does the Hague Convention work, and if you could change anything about the convention, what would they be?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) My opinion is that The Hague Convention has to be totally re-written in order to become an effective tool, including prosecuting parental abductors criminally for their act of kidnapping and for any and all acts of perjury and contempt of court. Only then will we seek a dramatic decline in international child abduction. Presently, we anticipate that between 5% and 10% of all reported and unreported abduction cases have a successful return, and part of this problem is due to the Hague Convention. Unfortunately, many governments use the Convention as a sleeping pillow, just to avoid creating other and more effective tools in the battle against child abductions. We see no difference, recovering children from Hague or non-Hague countries. The fact is the vast majority of countries do not comply with the spirit and intent of The Hague Convention.
(Peter Thomas Senese) How is electronic forensics relevant to abduction cases?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) In today’s age of the Internet, substantial electronic and computer forensic capability is often the difference between locating a child or not. What is important is for a targeted parent to have a team in place such as ABP World Group who has incredible capability and short electronic investigation reaction time that is may show the abductor’s electronic footprints … emails records, bank records, website browser visits, financial records including the difficult to obtain pre-paid debit card histories, phone records – you name it, it all must be quickly obtained and analyzed in order to create a reunification plan. And I am very proud to say that ABP World Group’s electronic investigation unit is exceptional.
|ABP World Group's team has|
participated in reuniting over 200
criminally abducted children taken
to all parts of the world.
(Peter Thomas Senese) Are you team members fluent in various languages?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) Yes. Our staff is multi national and multi lingual. We have operators who speak for an example Russian, French, English, Spanish, German, Italian, Bosnian/Croatian, Portuguese, Arabic, Thai and many other languages. Remember, our personnel come from the global intelligence community and have significant experience in crisis management. Each needed to know multiple languages – and our worldwide personnel and team are extensive.
(Peter Thomas Senese) What countries has ABP World Group operated in?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) We have operated in more than 50 different countries, including countries located in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. We’ve literally been to most places on successful reunification campaigns. If you think about the number of campaigns and the challenges of entering into a foreign country, our track record is really incredible, and one that I intend to maintain – we have had over 200 successful reunification campaigns. And many of these campaigns included several children. The joyful looks on their faces when they are reunited and held by their targeted chasing parent is incredible. And it provides real meaning to our entire team when we see the love unfold between child and parent. It is everything and one of the primary reasons why we are one of the world’s leading child abduction reunification organizations.
(Peter Thomas Senese) What are the most important investigation strategies that ABP implements regarding International Parental Child Abduction?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) Child abduction cases are so complex, so we always need to customize our investigation to each different case. What is important is that an investigation begins immediately because the longer time passes the more opportunity the abductor has to go underground. And that is something we want to avoid because it is when a child is living the life of a fugitive that things become dangerous. So, strategically speaking we take a swift, hands-on approach to practical investigatory work while allowing our forensic investigation personnel begin footprinting the abductors electronic activity – which is critical. We’re also in touch with law enforcement and various government agencies from the start. It’s a big net we immediately create, and learning how to do this comes from many years of experience and working on hundreds of cases.
|ABP World Group has the|
personnel to cover the globe.
(Peter Thomas Senese) Which countries that you worked in offer the greatest challenges for recovery?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) The “closed” countries are the hardest. The include countries such as Yemen, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and China. And of course, if the country is an island, that could be a challenge. In addition, the North African countries are tough spots to operate in. It is why, with each of these nations and a few others I am not mentioned now as there are active abduction cases occurring there, that ABP World Group spends substantial time building and cultivating our relationships with various active or retired individuals who work in law enforcement or in the intelligence community.
(Peter Thomas Senese) When should a targeted parent not turn to the media for help?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) I think parents should only turn to the media when it will give them a great benefit. Many parents don’t realize that using the media can at times be a haphazard choice because it also alerts other predators that there is a fugitive and a child hiding out and trying to stay off the grid. Kidnappings of abductors are very real possibilities, and this should not be dismissed. So, when thinking about turning to the media, I strongly suggest that a targeted parent consult with local and national law enforcement trained in IPCA, as well as with experts such as ABP World Group, who are familiar with the political and social landscape of most countries around the world. The point is that turning to the media could very well help a case, but it could also be a very big mistake. That is why some targeted parents choose to be very quite about their child being stolen: out of fear for their child’s safety while on the run with the other parent, who is typically a fugitive.
(Peter Thomas Senese) How important is it to monitor an abductor’s family, friends, and associates?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) Very. The abductors cannot normally be on the run without any kind of assistance. We have often have great success implementing electronic forensic investigations on these type of individuals.
(Peter Thomas Senese) Is following the money, so to speak, the most important lead for underground abduction cases?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) Not always, but it is impossible to be on the run without money. I will estimate that in 95% of the child abduction cases, we normally can anticipate where they will be. Family is very important. Abductors who lived in a mixed marriage often go back to their home country. What is important is to locate them down before they have time to settle and arrange a secure environment. Nevertheless, following the money flow is a very important part of our investigation.
(Peter Thomas Senese) Why is it important to hire ABP?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) We take our clients needs seriously, and make sure that every aspect of their needs and concerns are taken care of. Most importantly, we have an incredible reunification recovery record and that is because we are exceptional at all facets of investigation and operational detail. If a targeted parent wants to reunify with their criminally abducted child and safely bring that child home, they should not consider working with any group unless that organization has a considerable track record. Also, and this is very important, ABP World Group works with and oversees the activity of local law enforcement as well as Interpol. We stay on top of things while also conducting our very unique investigations. The bottom line is that if a parent wants to have their child returned, they will reach out to ABP World Group.
|We keep our clients safe, whatever it takes|
(Peter Thomas Senese) What is ABP’s operating philosophy?
(Martin Waage: ABP World Group) “We keep our clients safe, whatever it takes.”
As a parent who had to chase into the storms of international parental child abduction, combating multi-jurisdictional legal issues and numerous illicit acts by the other parent, I know first-hand that reaction time is a critical element that must be paid attention when dealing with any type of abduction. So too is being able to have a trained group of trained individuals on the ground who will help you locate your child. Without knowing where your child is, well, there is very little you can do other than pray – and prayer is great. Nevertheless, in my opinion it is extremely important that a multidimensional child recovery and reunification plan is created and implemented.
Martin Waage and his incredible team at ABP World Group have a spectacular track record of aiding in IPCA cases because they are extraordinary professionals who know the intricate dealings of international parental child abduction and the laws available to targeted parents, including the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction. The service that ABP World Group provides to targeted parents at times offers the most effective, economical, and safest route to a successful recovery of a defenseless child criminally abducted by the other parent. I cannot endorse ABP World Group enough when it comes to a targeted parent’s needs to seek a professional team to assist in overseeing the reunification process that is involved in order to bring a child safely home.
In 'The World Turned Upside Down' that is international parental child abduciton, targeted parents and their children face mountainous challenges including non-existent, archaic, and unenforced child abduction prevention laws. The international treaties that address that attempt to address this issue more often than not fail to protect an abducted child. And the financial costs combined with the mental fatigue and spiritual hardship could break any man or woman.
|CHASING THE CYCLONE|
Peter Thomas Senese
But as I first stated, even in 'The World Turned Upside Down' there are incredbile men and women who are dedicated to 'Turning The World Right-Side Up'. ABP World Group's Martin Taage and Lars Willmann are two of these incredible individuals. As a father who chased into the cyclones of multi-jurisdictional parental child abduction, I know first-hand how critically important it is to have reunifications such as ABP there to assist guide a parent. With their incredible track record, ABP World Group's history speaks for itself.
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Peter Thomas Senese is a best-selling author and child advocate dedicated to child abduction prevention. Peter is the author of numerous research reports in international parental child abduction and an assortment of articles and essays on this subject. His upcoming book 'Chasing The Cyclone' which is inspired by his successful recovery of his abducted child will be released worldwide during the summer of 2011.