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Parents Left Behind in International Child Abductions - Part Two

In our last blog post, we discussed international parental child abduction, in which parents kidnap their children and flee the country, leaving the other parent behind without access to his or her children. These kidnappings tend to stem from child custody disagreements. Today, we will continue to look at the problem and what is being done to assist parents left behind.

Despite increased efforts by the State Department to handle international child abductions, many parents left behind feel its efforts are still inadequate. Rep. Chris Smith from New Jersey agrees. Smith plans to chair a subcommittee and push a bill that would require U.S. officials to do more in child abductions. Under his bill, there would be an Office on International Child Abductions within the State Department. When countries refuse to cooperate in these cases, they would be subject to sanctions.

Smith says it is necessary for the federal government to back this issue. While he admits his bill might not always guarantee the return of kidnapped children, he points out that no child abduction case will be ignored.

Prior to President Obama's recent trip to Asia, Smith urged him to pressure Japanese officials to join the Hague Convention. Smith was instrumental in passing a resolution in the House which urged Japan to sign the treaty and return kidnapped American children. However, even if Japan signed the treaty, the results would not be retroactive, leaving many parents still without hope.

In our last blog post on the subject, we will continue to discuss efforts to address international child abduction and how Japan and India have responded to pressure from the U.S.

Source: The Washington Post "Japan, India pressed to curb child abductions," David Crary, 7 December 2010

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