International Child Abductions From U.S. Rise Sharply


The Brazil abduction and custody case over 9-year-old Sean Goldman illustrates a growing problem of international child abduction that needs to be addressed with more laws and greater parent precautions, experts tell the Christian Science Monitor. The number of children being abducted from the U.S. and taken abroad has increased dramatically since 2007, say data from the U.S. State Department. More than 1,000 new cases involving 1,615 children abducted from the U.S. by a parent were reported in fiscal 2008, compared with a little over 500 cases involving 821 children in fiscal 2007.

Abductions from other countries also rose, with almost 500 children reported abducted from foreign countries and brought to the U.S. last year. One reason “international child abductions are on the rise is that it is fairly easy to accomplish in the United States,” says Chris Schmidt of the law firm Bryan Cave LLP. “In the United States, one parent can leave the country with a child without the consent of the other parent.” By contrast, many other countries such as China and Argentina require an official document giving permission of the parent who is not traveling before minor children can travel abroad with only one parent. In the Goldman case, Brazil's chief justice ended a five-year custody battle when he ruled that the boy should be returned to his American father

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