Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Special Message From Peter Thomas Senese Concerning Hurricane Sandy and The Holiday Season Of Child Abduction

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, I hope that this message finds you and your family physically safe.  I am sad to share that numerous classmates, particularly those I attended elementary school and high school have been badly impacted by the storm.  Should you be interested in helping, or more importantly need assistance, please contact me.

Peter Thomas Senese
Last night, another former classmate of mine had her children internationally parentally abducted.  This was not the first time someone I went to school with experienced having a child illegally removed from the country – an act of kidnapping that sees few children ever safely returned home.  Indeed, the Christmas Holiday Season is amongst us – which means it is international parental child abduction season (herein known as ‘IPCA’).

So I thought I would specifically share my thoughts to my former classmates and provide some insight on this growing pandemic of international parental child stealing.  First and foremost, please do not think that you directly or through someone you know is immune to this horrendous act.  Reality is, you are but three degrees ofseparation from knowing someone who will have a child kidnapped and illegally taken or detained abroad.

But awareness of IPCA makes a tremendous difference – and right now, the Christmas Season is one of the bi-annual seasons of abduction. 

Now, most of you might be asking why in the world am I writing about IPCA, and why should you continue reading this?

Chasing The Cyclone
My answer is simple: hundreds of thousands of innocent children are targeted for international parental kidnapping each year. This is kidnapping under U.S. federal law. And yes, this plague hit my shore several years ago.  It was with a lot of everything, that I was able to safely bring my child home. During that time, I made a promise I would do my part to help other children and targeted parents so they would never have to go through what I did, as portrayed in my latest novel ‘Chasing theCyclone’.

In my capacity as the Founding Director of the not-for-profit I CARE Foundation, I am day-in and day-out at the battlefront of child abduction prevention andrecovery.  In a short time, the I CARE Foundation has accomplished some important things in the fight against abduction including assisting bring home or protect dozens of children targeted or kidnapped.

Amongst our activity and mission is conducting research in the area of IPCA (which in part was why the I CARE Foundation was invited to speak at the United Nations), pass new laws or policies that protect children, build a large, pro bono network of highly trained lawyers willing to come to the assistance of targeted families while also assisting the United States Department of State build their Hague Convention Attorney Network, and whenever possible, protect or help bring home a kidnapped child. 

Despite our efforts, it is expected that between 100,000 to 125,000 American Children and anywhere from 12,500 to 20,000 Canadian children will be internationally kidnapped over the next ten years. 

I know – hard to imagine, but a cruel reality.  And these projections do not include the number of children who are targeted for abduction but never taken.

And only 10% of these children safely come home.

As in all cases of parental abduction, these crimes against children are well-thought-out, well-planned and designed to catch a targeted parent off-guard and unsuspecting that a horrible scheme is underway to have their child taken.

However, if you know the warning signs to look for, parents have a fair chance of protecting their child or children from abduction.

Remember, the child abduction season has arrived. Don't let your child be abducted. Educate yourself.

What To Look For

 In many instances of cross-border parental child abduction that occurs during the holiday season, generally the largest number of incidents takes place when one parent travels to another country with their child or children of a relationship accompanied by, or with the initial consent of the other parent.

Generally, the travel takes place under a guise of a holiday trip abroad to visit family members of the parent intending to abduct. Of course, the targeted parent is clueless as to what is really going on.

The World Turned Upside Down
So for example, Father X was born and raised in the Middle East but married Woman Y, who is an American citizen. The couple lives in the United States, where their child was born and raised.

Unknown to the woman in the relationship, the husband wants to end the relationship and relocate back to his country of origin back in the Middle East. However, he has one problem: he knows that his wife will never allow for him to legally take the child with him.

So instead of announcing his true intent to separate, the husband will create critically important misdirection. Meaning, he will do everything possible to make his wife believe that he is happy and committed in the relationship.

I did say everything possible.


Because it is critical that she put her guard down and not suspect any foul play or scheme.

In the meantime, little things - that are really big things - may be taking place visibly or without knowledge of the targeted parent. There are many warning signs to look for, but if the subtleties are not carefully considered, then the would-be abductor will get away with their plan.

So the husband who is intending to abduct the child by wrongfully detaining the child abroad will continue to create a facade of being happily married and committed to the relationship while carefully laying out a plan to get the child abroad.

Eventually, and right about this time of the year, the would-be abductor makes the suggestion that it would be 'great' or 'nice' or 'meaningful' to travel abroad together or without the other parent (depending on reasonable circumstances) in order to see his parents, siblings, and extended family. And of course, all of this is in the best interest of the child of the partnership.

Now, since the wife may believe the husband is committed to their relationship and does not even consider that he may have intent to not return to their marital home, she more than likely is willing to consent to the holiday vacation.

Unfortunately for the mother and child, the trip takes place.

Unknown to both, the parent intending to abduct has already hatched a well-thought out plan, including what may be necessary to keep the child abroad while removing the other parent's rights to the child abroad.

Everything is deception - and everything must be considered.

For example: the husband may ship certain belongings like a crib or a stroller and other items of the child that may create the appearance the other parent knew he was relocating - and gave consent! Or, he may have begun to move his assets abroad.

Once abroad with his wife and child, the would-be abductor may make false accusations of child or spousal abuse (men and women both claim abuse in cases of of planned abduction), claims of drug use, or any other claim that may indicate that the child is at risk.

By stating the child is at risk, this could potentially allow a local court in the foreign country to grant him immediate custody of the child - even though the child's original jurisdiction is in the country they were born and raised. In addition, in cases where a Hague Application may be filed, the abductor has laid ground for an Article 13 Defense (which revolves around the best interest of the child and is also known as the 'Slander Defense'). In nearly every case of abduction, the parent intiending to abduct has cleverly orchestrated a public defamation campaign against the other parent - one that is typically concealed under the veil of anonymity.  Additionally, there are malicious and untruthful claims of spousal or child abuse made (by both men and women, equally).

If it sounds complicated, it is.

It is important for individuals married or in a relationship with partners who originate from non-Hague countries such as those located in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to understand that if you are traveling to nations located in these areas and the other parent intends to not return to the child to the country of original jurisdiction, there is a very good chance they will be successful in keeping the child abroad . . . and your contact will be limited or absolved completely. Additionally, it is important to pay careful attention to Hague-Convention non-complying countries such as Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and Poland.

Of course, if you ever plan to travel abroad and have been involved in a suspicious or strained relationship, please contact an attorney who is familiar with international parental child abduction prevention.

Additionally, I strongly advise you consider obtaining a court order prior to travel that the child is to be returned. However, remember - in countries that are not members of international treaties regarding abduction or do not comply to such said treaties - if a child is taken - it will be very costly and difficult to bring your child home.

So - if you have any suspicion that abduction might be planned - and this time of year is the planning period for the high number of Christmas Holiday Abductions that occur - seek the advice of a qualified lawyer - and do not let your child travel abroad under any circumstance. Pay attention to the warning signs and act now!

The Power of A Book – A Little History

I am pleased to share my deeply inspired novel Chasing The Cyclone continues to have asignificant impact on a large and growing number of children and targeted parents of international abduction, and has helped pave the way for more than a few miracles

In fact, the natural progress of events beginning from the initial e-book publication of Chasing The Cyclone led to the creation of the not-for profit I CARE Foundation. I am happy to share that through the efforts of the I CARE Foundation dozens of children who have either been internationally kidnapped or who have been targeted for international abduction have either been safely reunited with their families or were actually protected from abduction, and remain safely home.

This is a fairly significant statement when considering that the foundation's volunteer reunification efforts represent a noteworthy number of all American children who have come home. Truth is, the majority of children will never come home. Some simply can't: they are gone forever.

And this sentiment is not a piece of fiction: it is reality. And it sucks. And it is worth standing up and fighting for.
I think for any author, the biggest goal when writing any book is to have an impact on your intended audience. The financial success of a book is obviously important; however, the desire to influence others is the real intent.
And with dozens of children either rescued or protected from abduction thus far, combined with the many initiatives the I CARE Foundation has under way that will further help others, I am pleased with Chasing The Cyclone's impact thus far. But there is a long way to go.
Having seen first-hand the horrors of abduction, I am committed to continuing fighting this fight. Fortunately, governments from around the world are taking notice of the I CARE Foundation's work - which means we're making a difference.

In't Visitors Leadership Program
In fact, last month I had the opportunity to participate in the United States’ Department of State's 'International Visitor Leadership Program' at the United States’ Mission to the United Nations concerning the foundation's advanced work in child abduction and human trafficking prevention. It was a great honor, particularly when considering some of the incredible global leaders who have previously participated in the program.  And I recently received a very special American Flag and U.S. Senate citation for my volunteer work with the I CARE Foundation.

Unquestionably, the publication of 'Chasing The Cyclone' has helped many parents and children: new laws have been passed, new policies implemented, and new legislation that could help stop abduction and trafficking is on the horizon - and children are home.

My own financial commitment to the I CARE Foundation and support of the organization's efforts to help children remains steadfast as shared by I CARE Board Member, Hague Convention Attorney Network member and highly respect attorney Joel Walter in avery kind article he shared on his website. In fact, I have donated 100% of allof my various novel's proceeds over the past year to the I CARE Foundation: it is a commitment I intend to continue (outside of the month of November, when all proceeds will be donated to help victims of Hurricane Sandy).

Being able to assist the I CARE Foundation has been a responsibility of mine that in truth has been a privilege to uphold.
 But truth is, nearly seven years ago I never even knew the collective words international parental child abduction were. Nor did I realize that I was one of a surging number of individuals who were not familiar with this vernacular. And quite frankly, at that time, most individuals in society did not realize the severity of this crime or what a chasing parent will go through to safely bring home their child. Nor did they realize that sociopathic tendencies of an abusive abductor, who, not only would kidnap a child, but would attempt to slander and defame the targeted other parent because international law has established a loophole known as the 'Abductors Defense' (Hague Convention: Article 13) that know targeted parent is immune from.
No child should ever be abducted.  And I intend to continue pushing the mountain of abduction back.  Fortunately, our numbers, particularly within our highly skilled attorney network, grows.

I am pleased to share that any monies generated from the of any books I have written during the month of November will be 100% donated to help former classmates impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Followed by a return of 100% of monies generated from my book sales to be directed to the I CARE Foundation.To purchase any of my novels, please visit Amazon or BN. 

I wish each of you and your families safety and happiness during these challenges times that have surely impacted all of us. And should you need to contact me or the I CARE Foundation, do not hesitate to do so. 

In the spirit of friendship,

Click here to learn more about International Parental Child Abduction.