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Part 2: What is being done about custody-related abduction?

In our previous post, we discussed the growing concern regarding child custody and international abduction. More non-custodial parents are fleeing the country with their children, while the other parent is left trying to regain custody of the child.

But officials are having a difficult time stopping parents at the border because there is no national database that keeps track of child custody orders. Even with a number of countries party to the 1980 Hague Convention on child abduction treaty, regaining custody of a child taken out of the country can take a long time. So what is current administration doing to address the issue?

While some states have chosen to make international abduction a state crime, current administration is trying to decrease international abduction by pressuring the foreign countries. There are a number of people already dealing with abduction cases involving Mexico and Canada.

Some of the efforts to recover children involve investigators, interpreters and undercover individuals who look for the child and the parent that took the child out of the country. Some situations require the use of official copies of child custody orders as well as proof of birth. But while some children are rescued, many remain unaccounted for.

If countries remain uncooperative, some legislators believe that the approach should be to threaten the countries. For example, if a country is refusing to help and is disregarding U.S. custody orders, they may face additional taxes or even refusal of development assistance.

It is unclear whether this tactic is effective. There has been one case where a child was returned after the country was threatened by U.S. lawmakers. There are few things more devastating than losing a child - it is likely that the nation's current administration will continue efforts in finding these abducted children.

Source: Houston Chronicle online, "What happens if your ex abducts your child?"Stewart M. Powell, 04 July 2011

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