Thursday, June 23, 2011

Demand Protection for Children traveling internationally!

Child advocates are expressing outrage over world   governments' continued failures to protect millions of defenseless children   targeted for criminal abduction each year by monsters who facilitate the   unforgiving crimes of internationally abducting or trafficking   children.  International border-crossing policies  often do not mandate that children traveling abroad present a valid  passport to border agents  if a child is traveling by land or sea. When a   child is stolen and illegally removed from their country of origin by either a   non-stranger such as a parent, or is a victim of a stranger abduction, that   child has been criminally kidnapped. The traumatic consequences placed on the   kidnapped child are severe. The majority of these defenseless victims will   never recover from the physical and emotional abuse directed toward them. Some   of these children are unable to recover: they are lost forever. Presently,  international air travel by a minor requires the presentation of a valid   passport.  However, many nations including the   United States permit the submission of a photocopy of a child’s citizenship   papers such as a photocopy of a birth certificate as an acceptable travel   document for a minor age 16 or younger when traveling abroad by land or   sea. 


Unquestionably, lax and   wreckless travel document policy requirements associated with minors traveling   by land or by sea have created a colossal legal loophole - a black hole - for   child-thieves and smugglers to criminally transport   and remove targeted children from one country to another until they are   inevitably gone forever.  Undeniably, by the sheer size of   the pandemic at hand, predators are utilizing these legal loopholes in   alarming, yet relatively immeasurable numbers.

Inconceivably,   many countries including the   United States, Canada, and nations in the European Union    have policies in place that allow   for a child 16 years old or younger traveling abroad by either land or by sea   to only present to border officials a photocopy of their proof of citizenship   such as their original birth certificate.

Child abduction prevention   advocates and researchers Carolyn Ann Vlk and Peter Thomas Senese, have   previously published several landmark reports including the 'International   Child Abduction and Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere'   and 'Crisis In America: International Parental Child   Abduction Today'. They are   currently leading a research   team that will publish  findings on the global epidemic of child   abduction and child trafficking as it relates to legal loopholes and other   related flaws associated with a child’s international travel documentation   requirements. The highly anticipated report titled   ‘Global Child Slavery and International Child Abduction Associated With Travel   Documentation Requirements' will be released in mid-July, 2011.

‘Chasing The Cyclone’   author and child advocate Peter Thomas Senese commented, “It is disturbing to   realize that various governments from around the world have turned their   responsible eyes away from the most often used illegal border-crossing   strategies implemented by predators involved in international abduction as   well as in the trafficking of children: illegally transporting a child into a   country by land or by sea using fraudulent documentation due to a senseless   policy often implemented often   stipulating that a child does not need to present a valid passport at a   border-crossing unless the child travels abroad by air. This is insane. Our   children demand more from each of us. Any international travel documentation   policy that does not include the use of a child being required to travel with   a valid passport is a policy that does not address the issues of the safety of   children. The upcoming report ‘Global Child Slavery and International Child   Abduction Associated With Travel Documentation Requirements' will not only   demonstrate how outlandish these non-passport requirement policies are, but   hopefully it will also educate judges, law enforcement, and policymakers of   just how critical and widespread these issues are. Having such   laws in place will also give judges and law enforcement personnel additional   tools they need to prevent the kidnapping of a child before it occurs, as once   the removal takes place, it is that much more difficult and expensive to   remedy.”


In fact, many governments'   immigration, borders, and customs agencies publicly and privately have voiced   that excessive travel documentation fraud has given rise to dramatic and   sweeping increases in the number of international child abductions and human   trafficking cases around the world. According to law enforcement officials   worldwide, the most effective means to determine if a child is legally   traveling abroad is by checking the child’s passport. Nevertheless, even the   presentation of a valid passport may not alleviate all illegal removals,   particularly those connected to an international parental child abduction due   to the potential issuance of a secondary passport related to a child’s   possible dual citizenship. However, access to real-time government records   associated with a valid passport provides border agents better insight into   who is legally crossing into their nation's borders.

Unquestionably, travel   documentation requirements that do not require for a child to present a valid   passport when traveling abroad by land or by sea have created a worldwide malignant epidemic that   continues to destroy millions of   lives each year.This plague is so wicked and ubiquitous that it is often   acknowledged by governments and leading human rights advocates around the   world as one of society’s greatest short-comings. Undoubtedly, there is no one   solution; however, it is evident to those familiar with international child   abduction and human trafficking that one sure-fire way to turn the tide   against the most evil of fates awaiting innocent children targeted for   international abduction is to mandate that every child traveling abroad   present a valid passport.
  
Carolyn Ann Vlk, drafter of   the State of Florida’s landmark ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ law and   co-author of numerous research reports on child abduction commented on the   need to conduct research on the global dilemma of abduction and trafficking as   it is related to significant gaps in travel documentation requirements for   children traveling abroad. “My volunteer advocacy in the area of   child abduction prevention has allowed me an unobstructed view of the horror   the families of a targeted child face.  I've spent an incredible amount   of time investigating and analyzing current legislation, policies, and trends   relevant to child abduction and I have uncovered significant loopholes that   are allowing children to be victimized through parental child abduction and   human trafficking.  In the report Peter Thomas Senese and I published   concerning the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), we realize the   policy was intended to prevent abduction and trafficking from occurring but in   reality it  facilitatesthe cross boarder abduction of   children through its deficiencies.  WHTI allows for the travel   requirements of children to vary depending if they are traveling by land,   sea or air.  In our upcoming report titled ‘Global Child   Slavery and International Child Abduction Associated With Travel Documentation   Requirements' we will publish our findings concerning travel documentation   issues as  they relate to   child abduction and slavery issues. Our future published findings   will demonstrate the urgent and   critical  need for uniform travel requirements for   children, including a passport requirement for all modes of travel.    Without uniform passport requirements, society will continue to embrace child   abduction and child trafficking, and this is completely   unacceptable.”


Oslo based Mr. Martin   Waage, the Director of ABP World Group:  a world-renown investigation and   security team that has remarkably been directly involved in safely recovering   over 200 criminally internationally abducted children commented on the   outrageous border-crossing situation. "The expanding number of criminally   abducted and trafficked children presents a deeply disturbing overview of how   severe the situation is. Tragically, the greatest challenge we face in the war   against child abduction and trafficking is our inability to carefully monitor   and control our borders. Most nations do not have border exit controls.   Coupling this incapability with weak travel documentation requirements for   children, the hope advocates like myself have to one day reverse the current   growth trend is dismal. As one of the leading organizations operating within   the recovery of abducted, missing, and kidnapped children, ABP World Group has   for years seen an explosive increase in the number of abducted and kidnapped   children worldwide. Individual countries' lack of regulation and inspection of   travelers, including the European Union’s open borders, has facilitated a   large flow of trafficked victims, children abducted by their parents, and   kidnappings across borders. This is particularly true in Eastern European,   Asian and African countries. In order to stop the destruction of an   unthinkable number of children's lives, lawmakers in all countries must   address these needs and create laws that protect children's rights, including,   critically, changing the travel documentation requirements for all children   traveling abroad to include the presentation of a valid passport at all border   crossings. Having recovered a substantial number of criminally abducted   children taken to and from all over the world, I cannot express in strong   enough terms the need to have passports presented at all border crossings for   minors traveling abroad. Any failure by governments to address this issue is a   direct and absolute disregard to a nation’s most precious citizens: its   children."

Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant   Secretary of State for Consular Affairs stated in the ‘Report on   Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International   Child Abduction’ previously submitted to the U.S. Congress that   "Unfortunately, current trends reflect a steady increase in the number   of international parental child abduction cases and highlight the urgency of   redoubling efforts to promote compliance with Convention obligations and   encourage additional nations to join the Convention." She also writes,   "Very few options exist for parents and children who are victims of   parental child abduction."

Florida lawyer Patricia   Lee, a prominent, successful international family law attorney often referred   to in international law circles as a pit-bull with lipstick and who is of   counsel to the international law firm of Urban Thier Federer   & Jackson and who has substantial familiarity with   international parental child abduction cases added, “As a family   law practitioner who frequently deals with international issues, I see the   risk of, and actual incidences of child abduction growing proportionately to   our world shrinking. The failure, or inability, of courts to aggressively   pursue reasonable precautions to proactively prevent such abductions is a   crime in and of itself. Once an abduction has taken place, the left behind   parent faces a morass of legal issues that are not only difficult to surmount   due to language and cultural differences, but are also prohibitively expensive   for the ordinary parent. The backlash is often permanent, and goes without any   redress at all. Our best recourse is to prevent the removal of children at   risk prior to it occurring, and we absolutely must have laws and procedures in   place that allow us to do so. Anything less is simply irresponsible, and   inhumane on a global scale. Children across the world deserve these simple   safeguards from such abduction and victimization.”

Ernie Allen, President   and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited   Children and International Centre for Missing & Exploited   Children previously addressed the crimes against children when he said,   "The problem of missing, abducted, trafficked and sexually exploited   children is large, growing, under-recognized and   under-reported." In addition, Mr. Allen commented   that, "Children are the leading victims of violent and personal   crimes in this country, victimized at a rate twice as high as the general   population."  Continuing he stated, “Children are the single   most victimized segment of our population.  Even with all of the progress   we have made, most Americans still don’t understand that basic fact.    According to Justice Department research, more than 2,000 children will be   reported missing in the United States today!" Mr. Allen   added, "The numbers are staggering. The tragedies continue and too   many children do not make it home."

San Francisco based Gloria   Nyberg, who has dedicated several decades of her life to successfully and   safely bringing home children criminally abducted abroad added, “Documentation   falsifications is a consistent aspect of travel for children being transported   from one country to another, particularly in South and Central   America.  Children disappear daily, where they are   eventually sold and distributed around the world for to beasts trading in the   child sex slave industry, to drug dealers increasing their cartel’s presence,   or are simply killed for their body organs. Without upholding passport travel   requirements for children traveling from one country to another, we are in   fact responsible for the monumental problem on our hands that has been   partially created by our own failures to protect our children. It is time that   we act responsibly as adult citizens charged with protecting innocent   children. Indeed, we have an obligation to do our very best to prevent the   facilitation of international abduction and child slavery. It is critical that   each government adopt a passport-only travel documentation policy for children   traveling abroad. Anything less than this is irresponsible.”
  
Pamela Michell, the   remarkable founder of Survivor On A Mission and a leading global advocate   spearheading public awareness of human trafficking and slavery issues stated,   “Today, there are tens of millions of child slaves with no hope   for a future.  Kept silent through fraud, force or coercion, children   around the world are stolen from their communities in epidemic   proportion. Most are forced into slave labor, some caged for sexual   exploitation, others await the harvesting of their vital organs, while   others abducted live a life on the run...each enduring trauma and danger   few will overcome. Strong action is needed now by all governments to protect   our children’s' future. Critically we call upon the creation and   enforcement of global laws that require a passport to be presented any   time a minor travels abroad. Without this, the massive amount of travel   documentation fraud that exists today that accounts for an inconceivable and   incredulous number of innocent children to be targeted victims of abduction   and slavery crimes will continue to rise. As global citizens, we demand more   from our governments. Our children expect better from each of us."

International child   trafficking and child abduction continue to grow at rapid, uncontrollable, and   extraordinary rates. Alarmingly, there still remain achievable protective   protocols that can substantially make a difference in the war against child   abduction and slavery. One of the most important tools each nation has   available to combat the evil of child abduction is to require all children to   present a valid passport when traveling abroad.   Peter   Thomas Senese added, “What is at stake are the lives of millions of targeted   children each year. Simply put, we must modify existing laws to include   passport presentation for all travelers abroad regardless of age.”

The highlyanticipated report titled ‘Global Child Slavery and International   Child Abduction Associated With Travel Documentation Requirements' will be   released in mid-July, 2011. To view the'International Child Abduction and   Human Trafficking In The Western Hemisphere' report or for more   information on please visit www.internationalparentalchildabduction.com

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