Monday, June 27, 2011

Best-Selling Author Peter Senese To Release the E-book of ‘The Den of the Assassin’ On July 14th, 2011.

Author Peter Thomas Senese is pleased to announce his international espionage thriller titled The Den Of The Assassin will be released in e-book worldwide on July 14th, 2011 and will be available on all e-book platforms.

Critics have praised The Den Of The Assassin as an international financial espionage thriller steeped in the modern-day realities of our world, providing the story a visceral prescience teeming with realism and frightful possibilities of global terrorism, and Senese as a masterful writer of international intrigue.

Peter Thomas Senese commented, “For reader who enjoy fast-paced, multi-dimensional plots based upon historical events and plausible possibilities relevant to the world we live in today, The Den Of The Assassin takes audiences on a thrilling global geopolitical journey that evolves around New York City’s Wall Street.”

The Den Of The Assassin opens in New York City, where an unassuming investment banker, Tyler Boxter, is preoccupied with his all-consuming career that acts as a personal shield against the trappings of life that hide guilt and pain and memories he doesn't want.

A mysterious theft leads Boxter from the sanctity of his Wall Street office and thrusts him into the dark world of international terrorism -- where zealots stir in the brutal desserts of the Middle East, where dark, sunken eyes look into the abyss of Siberia's desolate terrains, where prisoners -citizens- who live on a remote peninsula in Asia would rather submit to isolationist cleansing than feel the wrath of a deceitful troll intent on destroying the ideals of the West. 

Unknown to Boxter, he is about to play a sophisticated but explosive game against a madman who is more savage and merciless than the winds of an atomic holocaust. From the current resurgence of former-KGB hard-liners in Russia and the corrupt oligarchs who control the black-market of the weapons trade, from the isolationist mountains of North Korea to the sweeping deserts of the Middle East, from the looming specter of biological warfare to the ways in which terrorists hide and wash their money, from the arcane methods by which corporate America funds itself to the inner workings of Wall Street's war rooms, to the secrets hidden behind the walls in Beijing, to the unthinkable intent of the once mighty Persian Empire, 'Den Of The Assassin' is an informative, compelling, spin-tingling international espionage thriller that will keep readers turning through the pages.

The Den Of The Assassin will be released in e-book on July 14th, 2011 and is presently available in hardcover form from traditional retailers and online merchants. The Den Of The Assassin was initially released in hardcover prior to the author’s unexpected race into the cyclones of international child abduction. Chasing The Cyclone, inspired by Peter Thomas Senese’s experiences in this area, will be released in hardcover later this summer.

Peter Thomas Senese in the author of numerous historical fiction novels. For more information on The Den Of The Assassin or Peter Thomas Senese, please visit

Best-Selling Author Peter Senese To Release the E-book of ‘The Den of the Assassin’ On July 14th, 2011.

Author Peter Thomas Senese is pleased to announce his international espionage thriller titled The Den Of The Assassin will be released in e-book worldwide on July 14th, 2011 and will be available on all e-book platforms.

Critics have praised The Den Of The Assassin as an international financial espionage thriller steeped in the modern-day realities of our world, providing the story a visceral prescience teeming with realism and frightful possibilities of global terrorism, and Senese as a masterful writer of international intrigue.

Peter Thomas Senese commented, “For reader who enjoy fast-paced, multi-dimensional plots based upon historical events and plausible possibilities relevant to the world we live in today, The Den Of The Assassin takes audiences on a thrilling global geopolitical journey that evolves around New York City’s Wall Street.”

The Den Of The Assassin opens in New York City, where an unassuming investment banker, Tyler Boxter, is preoccupied with his all-consuming career that acts as a personal shield against the trappings of life that hide guilt and pain and memories he doesn't want.

A mysterious theft leads Boxter from the sanctity of his Wall Street office and thrusts him into the dark world of international terrorism -- where zealots stir in the brutal desserts of the Middle East, where dark, sunken eyes look into the abyss of Siberia's desolate terrains, where prisoners -citizens- who live on a remote peninsula in Asia would rather submit to isolationist cleansing than feel the wrath of a deceitful troll intent on destroying the ideals of the West. 

Unknown to Boxter, he is about to play a sophisticated but explosive game against a madman who is more savage and merciless than the winds of an atomic holocaust. From the current resurgence of former-KGB hard-liners in Russia and the corrupt oligarchs who control the black-market of the weapons trade, from the isolationist mountains of North Korea to the sweeping deserts of the Middle East, from the looming specter of biological warfare to the ways in which terrorists hide and wash their money, from the arcane methods by which corporate America funds itself to the inner workings of Wall Street's war rooms, to the secrets hidden behind the walls in Beijing, to the unthinkable intent of the once mighty Persian Empire, 'Den Of The Assassin' is an informative, compelling, spin-tingling international espionage thriller that will keep readers turning through the pages.

The Den Of The Assassin will be released in e-book on July 14th, 2011 and is presently available in hardcover form from traditional retailers and online merchants. The Den Of The Assassin was initially released in hardcover prior to the author’s unexpected race into the cyclones of international child abduction. Chasing The Cyclone, inspired by Peter Thomas Senese’s experiences in this area, will be released in hardcover later this summer.

Peter Thomas Senese in the author of numerous historical fiction novels. For more information on The Den Of The Assassin or Peter Thomas Senese, please visit

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Geopolitical Best-selling Author Peter Senese Announces E-Book Series Launch

Peter Thomas Senese

Best-Selling author Peter Thomas Senese is pleased to announce the upcoming E-book series launch of selected publications from the novelist's previously released and upcoming international geopolitical thriller genre' publications. The initial launch over a six month period will include a total of five E-book format releases that are intended to be translated and made available in multiple languages, allowing the growing number of readers who enjoy Peter Senese's novels immediate and affordable access to his written works.

The writer, filmmaker, and dedicated child advocate will commence his E-book launch by releasing 'The Den of the Assassin', the highly praised, spine-tingling Post 9-11 financial espionage and geopolitical thriller that catapults an unsuspecting young Wall Street banker, Tyler Boxter, into a world of incomprehensible possibilities and insane apocalyptic challenges. Peter Thomas Senese's intense, page-turning 'The Den of the Assassin' will be released in E-book format on July 14th, 2011.

                   The Den of the Assassin Book Trailer

The gut-wrenching, inspirational theological thriller 'Cloning Christ' that jettisons readers to the spiritual and physical battlefront of good vs. evil in Peter Senese's electrifying, bone-chilling story of faith evolves around the global manhunt for Dr. Max Train, a once-devout, now faithless genomic scientist who may be in possession of the True Cross of  Jesus of Nazareth. Cloning Christ will cause heart-racing readers to contemplate the challenges between science and faith while contemplating physical and spiritual issues we all face today in our pursuit to enrich the human condition and experience.'Cloning Christ' will be released in E-book on August 15th, 2011.  

Peter Thomas Senese's deeply personal novel, 'Chasing The Cyclone', the critically acclaimed heart-pounding international legal thriller of a father and son's unbowed and unbreakable love and belief in one another in lieu of a wicked international child abduction as told in a way very few writers ever could, and that was inspired by Peter Thomas Senese's unimaginable experiences as a parent chasing the cyclone of international child abduction, will released in hardcover and E-book in mid-August, 2011.

  Peter Thomas Senese Is A Child Abduction Prevention Advocat
 'Chasing The Cyclone' Is Inspired By The Author's Experiences

Peter Thomas Senese's e-book series continues with the worldwide E-book release of 'The Production', a hilarious satire about the artful, zany, and often colliding storytelling worlds of filmmaking and publishing that has lovers of good storytelling laughing hysterically. 'The Production' by Peter Thomas Senese will be released on September 29th, 2011.

Soviet Scorpion Nuclear Submarine
'Predator's Games' the riveting sequel of 'The Den of the Assassin', that propels readers into the shocking and deadly world of alternative energy speculation and depicts the world's power-nations conspiring against one another in an extremely dangerous and potentially cataclysmic quest to control what was once the unthinkable unfolds as unique characters initially introduced in 'The Den of the Assassin' race into real and startling possibilities evolving around advances in alternative energy and mankind's greed. 'Predator's Games' by Peter Thomas Senese will be released during the Thanksgiving Holiday Season.

Peter Thomas Senese commented, I am extremely pleased to announce the E-book publications of selected novels that readers from all over the world have embraced. It is indeed a very humbling experience to have such a large and diverse number of book lovers from Anchorage to Los Angeles to Christ Church to Beijing to St. Petersburg to Athens to Oslo to The Isle of Skye to New York, and from Anchorage to Cape Town and places in between have interest in my novels.

Peter & Tyler at the Algonquin 
“I am, as I will continue to be, extremely grateful for the worldwide reception my stories have received. This interest and appreciation supports my strong belief that society continues to evolve into global citizens, and with each and every passing day, the concerns or interests that one person shares in one part of the world has relevance to another person living on the other side of the planet. I think this is truly remarkable, particularly since one of the primary undercurrents of each of my books is the value of global citizenship. The other undercurrent - and I once thought this was a secret only a few readers realized, but in time I came to know how much I have been mistaken - is that if you hear the voice attached to the words in my novels, you will hear the voice of a parent who deeply loves his child. As I now have come to understand, a substantial number of my readers have heard and indentified with that voice. So perhaps these are two of the reasons why my writing continues to be embraced and evolve onto the global stage."

Peter Thomas Senese's E-book series launch will initially release each title in English. However, 'The Den of the Assassin', 'Predator's Games', and 'The Production' will each be released in Spanish, German, and French within eight weeks of their e-book publication date. 'Cloning Christ' and 'Chasing The Cyclone' will be released in English as well as in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Mandarin (Chinese), Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, and Greek. With the expansive growth of consumers turning to e-book readers, the traditional distribution and delivery of an author's written works has vastly changed.

Geopolitical Novelist
Peter Thomas Senese
Sitting Above The Clouds
"As an author who embraces my publishing independence, and having had considerable success, including having several of my books hit and stay on various publishing-industry best-seller lists, the ever-expanding use of e-book readers will allow for good writers with important issues that they desire to share with worldwide opportunity to reach audiences via e-book publications. Over the course of the past years, I have purposefully delayed the electronic release of my novels until I felt comfortable with the evolution of electronic distribution of my writings, and that my readership audience, who was accustomed to reading my books in hardcover format, would support my E-book publication. After receiving an incredible number of inquiries from book lovers all over the world expressing their desire to have my novels made available in E-book format and in multiple languages, I have become extremely comfortable that now is the time to launch selected books I have written on E-book format. This is very exciting!

According to the Association of American Publishers, E-book sales represent the largest single format for book sales in the United States. Paperback sales is considered second, followed by hardcover book sales, both of which sales figures continue to decline. Mike Shatzkin, the founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, which advertises book publishers on digital change said referring to the expansive growth of consumer demand for E-books, "This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come." Shatzkin predicts that within a decade, fewer than 25% of all books sold will be print versions. Jeffrey P. Bezos, Amazon's chief executive previously commented on how the E-book has overtaken both hardcover and paperback sales on the online retailer's website when he said it is "Astonishing when you consider that we've been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months."

The Pelican Inn
Muir Woods
Surrounded by giant redwoods
Sitting next to the Pacific Ocean
Peter Thomas Senese is a storyteller focusing on messages in all formats that bespeak global connectivity. He is a writer of habit: each of his stories are written in part at the New York City Public Library's 'Great Reading Room' and 'Map Room', Butler Library at Columbia University, the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza, the Student Union at the University of Wiscnsin in Madison, The Pelican Inn located in Muir Woods, Paradise Cove in Malibu, and the Los Angeles Central Library. 

Commenting on his writing locations, Peter Senese added, "If you're going to do something, do something you relly love at places that you really enjoy. The diversity of my own writing settings allows for me to think carefully and clearly when creating what I consider to be rather complex storylines filled with an enourmous amount of relevant and accurate information. When I write, I literally and figutively go on an amazing journey. And God knows I love it!"

New York City Public Library
The Great Reading Room
He is actively involved in supporting issues that impact the lives of children, including demonstrative support to keep our nation's public libraries open seven days a week; and, actively engaged in numerous and extensive activities surrounding international child abduction prevention; and, actively advocating for new legislation that will protect children and others from malicious online impersonation

Paradise Cove
To learn more about Peter Thomas Senese, please visit his official website or Peter's Official blogsite.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Peter Senese Supports New York State Legislation To Stop Online Impersonation: Author Cites New Law Will Help Children Targeted For Child Abduction

New York State legislators are on the cusp of passing a remarkable and much needed law that will benefit all citizens of the state: the 'Digital Impersonation Prevention Act'. The Legislation was created to prevent individuals with malice and illicit intent to use the name of another person online for purposes of causing their target personal injury.

New York State Assembly Member Micah Z. Kellner (D-Upper East Side, Yorkville) who has sponsored the crucial legislation in the State Assembly said, "“It seems like every day we hear about a new and horrific case of identity theft. It’s grown beyond hacking into your bank account. People’s lives can be ruined by thieves who steal their email accounts or Facebook pages to use them for malicious purposes. People have actually been driven to suicide in cases.”

One of the benefits of the Internet is that it allows for anonymity; however, there is a serious price to be paid by many because the atmosphere has created the ability for anonymous posters to create false, untrue, slanderous, and harassing content with the sole purpose to cause the person they are attacking undue harm. It has been estimated there were over 9 million victims of online identity theft and impersonation last year alone: a number that is growing.

Presently, in New York State there are various laws that protect online identity theft and impersonation; however, with the anticipated passage of the 'Digital Impersonation Prevention Act', a new specific law will be in place that deals directly with this issue. It can and should be used in conjunction with other laws in place in order to protect those who are targeted for identity theft or impersonation.

One of the ways celebrities may protect their identity is to trademark their name. But this is not possible for the average working person. Copyright protection laws allows for certain protection to occur under laws governing personal property; howver, if you do not have copyrighted work that is attached to you such as a book or a film, then a person will not be protected under law.

In the past online identity impersonation typically involved financial transactions. Today the fastest growing form of online identity theft and impersonation is used to cause personal injury toward a target in conjunction with defamation,slander, libel, and harassing actions including cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Fortunately, in New York State there exists laws that deal with these issue. However, the 'Digital Impersonation Prevention Act' will be a much needed and added resource available to targeted victims.

In the world of international parental child abduction, laws that prevent digital impersonation are critical. For a parent intending to abduct a child internationally, the elements of the abduciton typically include a well thought out plan, including how to defend the abduction if there is a chance that the international courts such as the Hague Courts may become involved. Under the Hague Convention's Article 13, the rules allow for an abducting parent to defend their criminal abduction by claiming that it is in the best interest of the child for the child to not be ordered to return to the country of original jurisdiction. In order to prove this, the criminally abducting parent must 'create' a series of personal attacks on the the target in order to falsely demonstrate the targeted parents incapability to care for the welfare of the abducted child. Commonly, this will include the use of the Internet to slander, defame, harass, and cause grave injury to the target. The majority of this is done anonymously or under false name online via various community forums in order to falsely and misleadingly fabricate a communal negative perspective on the target. And unfortunately for the targeted parent, they have their hands more than full at that time because they are attempting to navigate the cruel multi-international litigation nightmare attached to trying to prevent, find, or bring home their child.

During the time that my child was internationally abducted in accordanc to the rules of the Hague Convention, I, like many parents who came before me as well as those who will sadly come after me, had to deal with this very issue. I was fortunate in the sense that the international courts under the Hague had seen through the conspiracy, and these courts ordered for my child to be returned. I was able to present literally several hundred sworn personal and professional letters to the court referring to my conduct, and I had resources available that allowed me to successfully litigate against the malicious slander and defamation that took place. I am also aware that many targeted parents may not have the resources to accomplish some of what I have. And that is why, from a viewpoint of international parental child abduction, laws such as the 'Digital Inpersonation Prevention Act' must be passed into law in each and every state.

Unfortunately for many targeted parents of abduction who have successfully recovered their child, a problem still exits: the abducting parent still remains at large: bitter, angry, and filled with a desire for revenge and to cause the chasing parent additional harm (it is noted by leading experts in the area of IPCA that the vast majority of parental abductors use the child of the relationship in order to cause great harm toward the targeted parent). In fact, Dr. Janet Johnston (Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition) and Dr. Linda Girdner (ABA Center on Children and the Law) along with other reknown therapist and law enforcement officers have openly stated that an abducting parent exhibit sociopathic behavior and have little respect for or concern of the law.

Online identity theft and impersonation generated due to malice is a growing and very serious problem. Civil litigation can protect an individual from defamation and slander, but the process can be long. Additionally, if you sue a person due to their misconduct, if they have no assets, you may be able to have the defamatory content removed from the Internet, but the individuals behind the malice will not be held truly accountable for their acts. And in certain circumstances content cannot be taken down under Internet law (though I have recently learned that there are other possible ways to have content removed). Nevertheless, once untruthful content is placed online, there is a challenge to have it removed. One important remedy a targeted person can do is to address matters under criminal law, particularly since many cases of malicious online impersonation include defamatory, slanderous, and malicous content posted. The 'Digital Impersonation Prevention Act' adds to the arsenal of laws already established that may be utilized to protect individuals from online malice.

Various research also indicates that a person who will impersonate or steal another person's online identity is acts with fearless reckless abandonment because they think they are protected to continue their acts because of the difficulties associated with their target bringing litigation, and, under civil court action, they can be sued - but if they have very little to take, they could care less.

The remedy to all of this is very simple: create and enforce criminal codes that will hold individuals who impersonate or steal another person's identity with the sole purpose of causing malicious harm to that person fully and unequivocally accountable under criminal law. I speak from heavy experience on this issue as I have been the victim of this type of act to which I have taken serious and unilateral action under all laws available to me.

“Anonymity is a criminal’s best friend—and it’s one of the defining features of the Internet,” said Assembly Member Kellner. “New Yorkers deserve stronger protections so we can bring these nefarious individuals out of the shadows and hold them accountable for their actions.”

I am in full support of the passage of the Digital Impersonation Prevention Act as this bill will be a great law for New York. I hope you will be as well. Here is the legislation that is moving its way through Albany's legisltion.

Senator Martin Golden has sponsored the bill in the Senate and will navigate the legislation as it moves through the Senate.

S4015-2011: Enacts the Digital Impersonation Prevention Act

Same as: A6238 / Versions: S4015-2011 S4015A-2011 Print HTML Page / Print Original Bill Format / ShareThis/ Read or Leave Comments

Enacts the digital impersonation prevention act.
Sponsor: GOLDEN / Committee: CODES / Law Section: Penal Law

S4015-2011 Actions
Mar 25, 2011: PRINT NUMBER 4015A
S4015-2011 Memo

An act
to amend the penal law, in relation to enacting the digital
impersonation prevention act

To establish the crime of digital
impersonation and to create effective penalties for those who engage
in digital impersonation for the purposes of harming, threatening, or
defrauding another person, sending unsolicited bulk mails or
commercial solicitations, or downloading or utilizing a contact list.

Section 1:

Establishes the title 'Digital Impersonation Prevention Act"


-Amends the penal law by adding a new section 190.87, establishing the
crime of digital impersonation;

-Provides that a person is guilty of digital impersonation when he or
she, knowingly, with intent to defraud and without consent,
creditably impersonates another actual person through or on an
Internet web site or by other electronic means for purposes of: (i)
harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person;
(ii) transmitting unsolicited commercial solicitations or unsolicited
bulk messages; or (iii) copying, accessing, downloading or utilizing
a contact list;

-Establishes the meaning of creditable impersonation;

-Defines "electronic means," "contact list," "unsolicited commercial
solicitations," and "unsolicited bulk messages";

-Establishes penalties for violations; and

-Provides that a person who suffers loss or damage by reason of a
violation may a bring civil action against the violator; sets forth
damages and other relief.

Section 3: Sets effective date

Digital identity theft, more accurately known as
digital impersonation, has been a growing problem in the internet era.
The US Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as 9 million
Americans have their identities stolen each year. Historically, the

major motive for identity theft has been financial fraud, as thieves
stolen identities to make credit card purchases, withdraw funds, and
set up phony accounts. Over the past few years, we have seen an
increase in a more personal kind of impersonation: the use of
Internet anonymity to harass individuals. In 2010, for instance, the
New York Times reported on the rise of cyber bullying and what can
happen if the issue is not addressed. The article told the story of
Marie, a single mother from Newburyport, Massachusetts, whose son had
become increasingly withdrawn since entering a new high school. After
some investigating, Marie discovered that a number of her son's
classmates had created a Facebook page with her son's name and
picture. The page in question was being used by others to bully
people her son barely knew, with the blame for
this behavior falling unfairly on her son. It is clear that stronger
measures are needed to combat such actions.

Additionally, thieves have made use of stolen identities to send
'spam' unsolicited bulk email messages and commercial
solicitations-circumventing mechanisms intended to block such
unwanted messages by sending them from the accounts of unwitting
identity theft victims. According to a report commissioned by McAfee,
a computer-security company, approximately 62 trillion unsolicited
emails were sent in 2008, with serious economic and environmental
consequences. Many of these messages were sent from stolen or
hijacked email accounts.

Already, states like California have passed laws to crack down on
digital impersonation. New York should follow suit. This legislation
would create effective penalties for those who engage in digital
impersonation for the purposes of harming, threatening, or defrauding
another person, sending unsolicited bulk emails or commercial
solicitations, or downloading or utilizing a contact list. It also
establishes a civil cause of action for people who are victims of
digital impersonation.


To be determined.

The law shall take effect on the first of November
next succeeding the date upon which it shall have become law.

2011-2012 Regular Sessions
March 14, 2011
Introduced by Sen. GOLDEN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes
AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to enacting the digital
impersonation prevention act
Section 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the "digital
impersonation prevention act".
S 2. The penal law is amended by adding a new section 190.87 to read
as follows:
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
LBD09358-02-1 S. 4015 2
S 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed
ing the date upon which it shall have become a law.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Flawed Data And Dedicated Research Highlights Grave Problems Parents Combatting International Parental Child Abduction Face

This article is based upon an exerpt published in Carolyn Vlk and Peter Senese's landmark research report on international parental child abduction rates in the United States titled 'Crisis In America: International Parental Child Abduction Today'. As the report demonstrates, international parental child abduction is an incredibly misunderstood and miscalculated phenomenon that will continue to rapidly spread due to global migratory populations and cross-cultural marriages. Alarmingly, the data that is often used and cited as U.S. government researched statistics is utterly and remarkably flawed, and has no place to be included in any discussion concerning either domestic or international child abduction. This excerpt provided below demonstrates the significance of the problem at hand. Clearly, without proper research and accurate statistics, targeted children and targeted parents of child abduction will continue to be at heavy risk

It is believed that United States children-citizens are being criminally abducted, illegally removed overseas, and wrongfully detained in foreign countries in shocking and seemingly advancing and unprecedented numbers. This despite U.S. court orders prohibiting their removal and/or demanding for their immediate return.

Remarkably, the necessary data required to accurately measure the total number of international parental child abductions (IPCA) does not exist due to the inability to measure what is believed to be a large number of ‘unreported’ cases, which is discussed in this report later on. Therefore due to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases, much of what has been previously reported in government and reputable organizations’ studies or statements should be considered as speculation due in part to the inability to measure ‘unreported’ cases, as well as forecasted numbers derived from immeasurable and highly questionable determining methodologies. The only measurable statistics are the number of cases reported to law enforcement and to The Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues (OCI).


The content of this report includes statistics from the two most current published annual reports which are dated April 2009 and April 2010 and titled Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice L Jacobs reports that during fiscal year 2009, the Office of Children's Issues experienced a significant increase in the number of reported international kidnapping cases. The 2010 report indicates that we can anticipate the current trends previously seen with respect to the increase in international parental child abductions to continue. In fact, the number of International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) cases has nearly doubled since the fiscal year 2006 from 64 to 1,135.

Carolyn Ann Vlk, the writer of Florida's Child Abduction Prevention Act, explains, "In response to a mandate of the 1984 Missing Children Act, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJPD) publishes periodic studies titled the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART). The NISMART publications are meant to identify the numbers of children who are reported missing and the number of children recovered in a particular year. These bulletins consist of comprehensive studies with an emphasis on examining trends in the incidence of missing children."

The NISMART I study (utilizing data from 1988 and published in 1990) reported that there were an estimated 354,100 family abductions annually. In order to derive data for that study in regards to the number of children that are victims of a family abduction each year a household telephone survey was conducted. The survey included a total of 10,367 interviews with adult caretakers. The Population Estimates Program of the Population Division U.S. Census Bureau estimated the U.S. population at 244,498,982 in 1988. To clarify, a sampling of telephone interviews from 0.0000413% of the U.S. population was utilized to provide the statistical data that is widely accepted as being an accurate accounting of the numbers of annual family abductions.

The NISMART - 2 study, which utilized data from 1999 and was published in 2002, reported that there were 203,900 family abductions annually. This study also utilized a household telephone survey and completed interviews with 16,111 adult caretakers. Additionally, this study surveyed 5,015 youth ages 10-18 who lived in the sample households. During the study year the estimated U.S. population was 272,690,813, thus reflecting completed interviews of 0.000059% of the U.S. adult population. Once again, a small fraction of the U.S. population was interviewed as the only method of determining the annual numbers of family abductions. Critically, and troublesome is the fact that the NISMART studies did not derive any of the data relating to family abductions from law enforcement or other governmental agencies. Data was entirely compiled from random computer-assisted telephone interviewing methodology. Neither study conducted a second survey.

According to the NISMART - 2 study that used data from 1999, only 28% of the 203,900 estimated abductions by family members or 56,500 abductions were reported by law enforcement. This illustrates a great reluctance by individuals to come forward and report their cases.

Now consider that an assortment of generally accepted reports or statements from leading authorities including The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). On April 22, 2002 NCMEC stated in a press release the following, “In an effort to educate the public and to provide more services to victims, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has released a new publication entitled Family Abduction: Prevention and Response and has recently formed a group for adults who were victims of family abduction as children. A commonly misunderstood and complex issue, best estimates indicate that there are 354,000 domestic and 16,000 international family abductions per year.”

We are unable to ascertain where NCMEC determined their 16,000 international child abductions per year. What we do know is that according to the Department of State, in several of their published statements, that there were approximately 16,000 international parental child abductions over a two-decade long period. What these inconsistencies demonstrate is a lack of data. Unknown is whether the NCMEC statement included an estimate of ‘unreported’ cases or perhaps was an error as the same ‘16,000’ yearly number is identical to the Department of State’s ’16,000’ two decade number.

Peter Thomas Senese is the author of the upcoming book titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ which critics have praised as an extraordinary story on international parental child abduction, love, and parenting. He stated, “Criminal parental cross-border abduction appears to be increasing in the United States and abroad at significant rates despite the fact that there is not enough accurate data required to establish growth trends in cross-border abductions. The rise of abduction in our country as well as that seen in other nations indicates that we have a global pandemic on our hands. And as more children from different nations are stolen and not returned, including our own children, citizens will inevitably voice their growing anger over the fact that their nation’s children-citizens have been abducted. The stealing of children across international borders can, and very well will inevitably create grave challenges for all nations who sit at the world’s political and economic tables."

The report 'CRISIS IN AMERICA: International Parental Child Abduction Today' researched and published by Peter Senese and Carolyn Vlk unequivocally demonstrates that new, carefully constructed research initiated by our government is immediately needed, and that the number of international parental child abductions is increasing despite efforts to stop this terrible act directed at our children-citizens.

As Senese and Vlk's report indicate, the data used and ALWAYS cited by those involved in child abduction issues are completely flawed. One of the greatest concerns that the authors express in their report is the extraordinary increases of population growth due to migratory population movement. Additionally, there are increased concerns related to abdution due to multicultural marriages or partnerships. What is clear is this: as often as we cite various statistics, some of which are indeed measuarble such as the number of reported cases to the Department of State's Office Of Children's Issues, the fact is we really do not know how many abductions are occurring because of the anticipated large number of unreported cases that exist. And as for the NISMART and NISMART II studies, the methods and technics of these surveys are highly questionabl.

The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Creates Major Risk Factors For Parents Defending Against An International Parental Child Abduction


International Parental Child Abduction and Human Trafficking Prevention Report In Correspondence To The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative And Other Related Abduction Prevention Challenges Faced By The United States And Its Neighboring Countries.

Written By

Carolyn Ann Vlk
Peter Thomas Senese


Since beginning our work together on child abduction prevention we have remained actively involved in advocacy and education in this area. Recently our research has led us to uncover significant border control security vulnerabilities that we believe are currently being utilized in illegally transporting children across U.S. borders in both incoming and outgoing parental abduction cases as well as being capitalized by smugglers who trade in human life.

Our findings are a cause of great concern.

The purpose of the following report is to bring these facts to the forefront of targeted and victimized parents of international parental child abduction, activists involved in the war against human trafficking, leaders of non-governmental agencies, lawyers practicing family or human rights law, all levels of law enforcement, the judiciary responsible for our nation’s children, our local, state and federal legislative policymakers, and all government agencies responsible with oversight as they are related to cross-border child abduction and human trafficking. It is our hope that our findings will cause both short and long-term preventative steps and solutions to be taken at all necessary levels so that we may work together to further protect our nation’s children. To put it mildly, we have a serious, growing, and immeasurable problem on our hands, and its far-reaching tentacles lash out at society’s greatest resource: our children.

Our initial research evolved around the question “How are children illegally abducted into and out of the United States and our adjacent neighboring countries despite preventive measures that may be in place either by court order or by preventive laws and programs?”

The answers to this question varies and includes, but is not limited to a lack of or failure to uphold child abduction prevention laws, inept courts and uneducated or naïve judges who fail to consider abduction risk or fail to carry out the intent of the laws they oversee in order to protect the welfare of a child, carefully-orchestrated abduction plans conceived well in advance by an abducting parent or trafficker, or flaws in the legal system that enable would-be abductors to capitalize on various loopholes so that they may steal a child across international borders. Many of these issues have previously been well documented. Thus, we directed our investigation toward the possibility of whether there are any existing loopholes in present law. Specifically, do opportunities presently exist that enable abductors and traffickers to steal and transport children despite our government’s legal efforts to prevent cross-border child stealing from occurring?

Dual Citizenship

Our conclusions acknowledge the existence of cross-border child abduction via individuals who possess dual-citizenship, which enables them to possess foreign passports. Often, the children of these individuals possess dual nationality as well and may be issued a passport by another country. The Department of State's Office of Children's Issues alerts parents to the possibility that "Your child might also be a citizen of another country (dual nationality)," and offers the following information on the subject of dual nationality. "The concept of dual nationality means that a person is a citizen of two countries at the same time. Each country has its own citizenship laws based on its own policy. Individuals may have dual nationality by automatic operation of different laws rather than by choice. For example, a child born in a foreign country to U.S. citizen parents may be both a U.S. citizen and a citizen of the country of birth." Conversely, a child born in the U.S. to a citizen of another country may automatically acquire citizenship of that country or in some cases the parent may apply for the child to be granted citizenship.

How Are Children Illegally Abducted Into And Out Of The United States

Security flaws that can lead to our children becoming victimized include, but are not limited to the following:

1. Failures by courts and judges to properly assess abduction risk and attach court orders that would preempt international child stealing; and,

2. Failure to create or uphold present child abduction prevention laws or other laws created to protect our children’s safety; and,

3. Identity and travel documentation fraud; and,

4. A lack of uniform requirements for travel documentation when departing or entering the U.S.; and,

5. The ability under present law to easily illegally transport children under age 16 across borders during land and sea travel; and,

6. Human error during verification of travel documents by CBP at a point-of-entry or departure; and,

7. Failures by law enforcement to act expeditiously to a potential abduction threat; and,

8. Inefficient communication and data sharing between government agencies responsible to assist in preventing or resolving an international child abduction case; and,

9. The deficiency by our federal government to create and interlink a children's travel alert, travel restriction data base consisting of real-time family court decisions at the state level with all U.S. border control agencies and transport companies similar to capabilities available through the Prevent Departure Program; and,

10. A lack of or outdated or underutilized state or federal laws and programs that fail to prevent the abduction of a child and in fact may enable an abduction to occur.

Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)

Our research drew us to focus on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).

Under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the WHTI was designed to strengthen border security and is a joint Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State (DOS) plan that is carried out in part by the U.S. Customs Border Protection Agency (CBP). The intent of the initiative is to further protect and strengthen our nation’s borders by requiring all travelers to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda to present a WHTI compliant document that establishes identity and citizenship.

During the course of our investigation it became apparent that there is limited available research or data concerning international parental child abduction or human trafficking as it relates to travel document requirements for children crossing into contiguous countries by land or sea under WHTI policy. However, what is certain is that child abductions and human trafficking to our bordering nations of Mexico and Canada represent a great number of 'reported' international abductions and missing person cases originating from the United States. Additionally, we believe that a vast majority of 'unreported' child abduction cases are associated with Mexico and Canada. Our findings are cause for grave concern. It is clear that due to the varying travel documentation requirements for land and sea travel that there exist substantial loopholes in U.S. law that allow would-be abductors or traffickers to capitalize on the porous travel documentation requirements for children.

Today, very serious security gaps exist directly related to WHTI, especially as it pertains to a child’s travel document requirements. These stunning flaws and loopholes provide substantial opportunity for illegal cross-border family or stranger child abductions and human trafficking to occur to and from the United States.

Hague Convention Compliance Report On International Child Abduction

Congress mandates that under Public Law 105-277, Section 2803 the Department of States Office of Children's Issues (OCI) publish an annual report which indicates the effectiveness of securing the return of children whom have been unlawfully removed from their home country and for whom an application under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction has been filed. The publication is titled Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

Statistics from the two most current annual reports that are dated April 2009 and April 2010 demonstrate abduction crimes against children in the United States and abroad are substantially on the rise. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Janice L. Jacobs reports that during fiscal year 2009, the Office of Children's Issues (OCI) experienced a significant increase in the number of reported international parental kidnapping cases. The 2010 report indicates that we can anticipate the current trends previously seen with respect to the increase in international parental child abductions to continue. In fact, the number of International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) cases in which a Hague application has been filed has nearly doubled since fiscal year 2006 from 564 to 1,135 cases in fiscal year 2009.

The 2009 report utilized data that was collected during the period from October 1, 2007 through September 30, 2008 and is referred to as fiscal year (FY) 2008. This report reflects that 1,082 new cases were filed involving 1,615 children. During the study year, the U.S. was successful in the return of only 361 children.

The 2010 report covers the time period from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009 that is referred to as FY 2009. During FY 2009 1,135 new applications were received for assistance in an attempt to facilitate the return of 1,621 children who were wrongfully removed from the United States. Sadly, during FY 2009 the U.S. was successful in the return of only 436 children. The report does not indicate during which FY year a returned child was abducted.


2010 2009 1,135 1,621 436

2009 2008 1,082 1,615 361

2008 2007 575 821 341

Now consider if the international child abduction growth rate continues at an average of 20% per year for the next ten years. This means that the projected number of 'reported' U.S. children-citizens that will be internationally abducted in the year 2020 would be 9,647. To put this into perspective, this loss would be the equivalent of 241 school buses carrying 40 children each suddenly disappearing.

Additionally, if we add the total number of 'reported' international child abductions that have occurred from 2007 and add the forecasted number of abductions anticipated to occur using a 20% growth rate, then a total of 53,285 children will have been ‘reported’ as internationally abducted from 2007 through 2020. To put this into perspective, this would be the equivalent of an entire major league baseball stadium filled with children simply vanishing.

As remarkably disturbing as these actual and projected numbers are, these forecasted statistics do not project the large and growing number of ‘unreported’ cases of international parental child abduction cases. Furthermore, they do not represent any international abductions related to stranger abductions and human trafficking, which we anticipate to be substantial.

Recovery Of Internationally Abducted Children

It is important to include that as time passes, it becomes substantially more difficult to recover an abducted child. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction contains under Article 12 a policy that could allow a judge to order for the criminally abducted child to remain in the country they were stolen to if after one year the child is considered to have settled into their new environment and it is believed that removing the child would be detrimental. As you may well imagine, there are numerous difficulties in locating and negotiating the return of a child who has been internationally abducted. The likelihood of this type of case being resolved as expeditiously as one year is slim and essentially the chasing parent may be left to negotiate on his/her own after one year has passed. Undeniably, time is not a child or a chasing parent's friend.

Make no mistake, nearly every abducting parent who is required to defend their criminal action in the international Hague courts will use every conceivable stall tactic as well as every possible defense strategy available to them including but not limited to false allegations, slander and defamation of character. In applicable cases the child may not be returned due to provisions under Article 13 of the Hague Convention. Article 13 of the Hague Convention allows for the court overseeing a Hague case to allow for a child to remain with the abducting parent in the receiving country if the court determines that a return order would cause grave risk and harm to the child. Thus, child-abductors attempting to sanction their criminal act of international child-stealing will typically make horrendous false allegations against the left behind parent in order to not only sanction their criminal behavior but to also avoid prosecution for kidnapping under the federal International Parental Kidnapping Crimes Act, the federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, the federal Fugitive Felon Act and various other federal or state criminal laws where applicable.

Fortunately society has begun to take notice of the tragedies related to international child abduction and human trafficking. A more educated judiciary continues to evolve and new abduction preventive laws have been implemented to prevent child abduction and human trafficking. We have made substantial strides in social and judiciary awareness, and in certain states created new child abduction prevention laws. However, the fact is that the system in place today that was created to protect our children and their targeted parents from the nightmare of international child abduction does not work efficiently and needs to be substantially overhauled. At present, our judiciary, law enforcement, policymakers and the legislation they oversee, and the government agencies responsible for oversight fall significantly short from meeting the necessary needs of targeted children and parents. We must do substantially better at all levels of abduction prevention and child reunification.

On August 31, 2009 a speech titled Child Abductions: Globally, Nationally and Along the U.S./Mexico Border was given by Ernie Allen, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. Mr. Allen states, "The problem of missing, abducted, trafficked and sexually exploited children is large, growing, under-recognized and under-reported." On November 16, 2010 Mr. Allen delivered the keynote address at the National Amber Alert Symposium. During his speech he revealed, "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!" Additionally, Mr. Allen stated, "The numbers are staggering. The tragedies continue and too many children do not make it home."

One of the questions we must ask ourselves in connection to such statements is How are our children disappearing?

In relationship to parental child abduction cases, we acknowledge the failures of courts to act cautiously and prudently in preventing a potential abduction. There is no question that judges and the courts they oversee need to become better informed, and that more education is desperately needed to influence a judge’s decision making when it comes to protecting the welfare of a child. The existence of serious foul play and deceit by an abducting parent who steals a child across international borders without the targeted parents anticipation or knowledge is a serious concern. And we acknowledge extreme circumstances when a child is removed from the United States despite court orders because both the child and the abducting parent have dual citizenship and both possess a primary or secondary passport issued by the abducting parent’s country of origin. This circumstance renders programs such as the United States Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program (CPIAP) or Prevent Departure Program (PDP) useless.

This report focuses on the substantial loopholes available to would-be abductors and traffickers that presently enable them to commit their egregious crimes despite great efforts to prevent cross-border abduction. We believe there is a direct correlation between the high number of successful child abductions to our neighboring countries and the legal loopholes that allow minimum travel documentation requirements for children traveling by land or by sea under WHTI policy.

Documentary Requirements For Children Traveling Internationally

The WHTI requirements for air travel took effect on January 23, 2007. According to U.S. Customs Border Protection, “All U.S. citizens and non-immigrant aliens from Canada, Bermuda, and Mexico departing from or entering the United States from within the Western Hemisphere at air ports-of-entry are required to present a valid passport (or NEXUS card, if utilizing a NEXUS kiosk when departing from a designated Canadian airport).” We believe that this stringent mandate for verifiable documentary identification prior to air travel has significantly reduced the ability to unlawfully remove a child from the United States.

Additionally, the U.S. increased the security of its child citizens when on February 1, 2008 new requirements under Public Law 106-113, Section 236 took effect requiring the permission of both parents prior to the issuance of a U.S. passport for children under the age of 16. According to the Department of State Office Of Children's Issues, “U.S. law requires the signature of both parents, or the child's legal guardians, prior to issuance of a U.S. passport to children under the age of 16. Generally, to obtain a U.S. passport for a child under the age of 16, both parents (or the child’s legal guardians) must execute the child’s passport application and provide documentary evidence demonstrating that they are the parents or guardians. If this cannot be done, the person executing the passport application must provide documentary evidence that he or she has sole custody of the child, has the consent of the other parent to the issuance of the passport, or is acting in place of the parents and has the consent of both parents (or of a parent/legal guardian with sole custody over the child to the issuance of the passport)."

Due to the implementation of these new requirements, the ability to unlawfully transport children that do not possess dual citizenship across borders has become increasingly difficult. The two-parent signature necessary for a minor child's U.S. passport issuance has strengthened our border security and reduced the ability to present incomplete or fraudulent documentation in order to travel with a child across international borders. Thankfully, our child citizens are better protected than they were just a few years ago.

The two-parent signature requirement necessary for a U.S. Passport to be issued for a child has greatly reduced the opportunity that a passport will be issued without another parent’s knowledge or consent. Unfortunately, documentation fraud is still very difficult to detect and remains a severe threat to our nation's children, especially if initiated by parental forgery. Tragically, for many targeted-parent victims of international parental child abduction this type of fraud is common. Unquestionably, it is critical that precautionary steps continue to be taken before issuing passports to children due to substantial evidence of documentation fraud.

Additionally, and to our great concern, it appears to be relatively easy to obtain fraudulent or falsified identification or residency documentation.

Tere Silva, resident agent in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in San Juan, Puerto Rico, said in a statement issued on November 17th, 2010, "Among the various schemes and artifices being used by some unscrupulous persons are offers to provide immigration services, including ways to avoid the established channels for adjusting one's immigration status, offers to provide false and forged identity documents, even threats and false impersonation of immigration officials."

On November 19th, 2010 Daniel Lane, assistant special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Sacramento, California stated, "Targeting those responsible for making and selling fraudulent documents is an enforcement priority for ICE HSI. Anyone who knowingly and indiscriminately sells phony identity cards is putting the security of our communities and even our country at risk. Documents like this could potentially be used by dangerous criminals and others seeking to obscure their identities and mask their motives." Agent Lane's comments came after ICE arrested four individuals for running a highly sophisticated forged document factory that included creating fraudulent California drivers licenses, permanent resident cards (Green Cards), U.S. birth certificates and other documents capable of removing a child from the U.S. under the WHTI.

In response to the rise of illegal entry and exodus to the United States, the implementation of WHTI policy has effectively narrowed the types of documents that are acceptable in proving identity and citizenship. Although this change is a critical step towards meeting the challenge of securing our borders there still remain significant security challenges due to certain allowable exemptions. Unfortunately, when it comes to cross border travel by children being transported by land or sea, numerous security defects exist. Unquestionably, individuals or organizations with intent to breach the law have exploited these policy flaws. Our nation’s children as well as children from other countries are suffering either as defenseless victims of international parental child abduction or as helpless slaves taken into the world of human trafficking, where the worst types of crimes against humanity are the norm.

As a nation concerned with our children’s safety and welfare, it is unacceptable that large gaps in security protocol exist in our nation’s international travel document requirements for children traveling in the Western Hemisphere. In the 2009, annual Report on Compliance with the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Janice L. Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs writes, "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." In the 2010 annual report Ms. Jacobs continues to voice concerns over the increasing numbers of our child-citizens who have been wrongfully removed or wrongfully detained.

Assistant Secretary of State of Consular Affairs Jacobs concern about the growing rate of international parental child abduction (IPCA) is alarming, yet our adjacent borders remain relatively open for those with the knowledge on how to circumvent border security protocol. Make no mistake, nearly every IPCA case is well thought out and planned.

Human Trafficking

The buying and selling of humans is the second largest criminal activity in the world. In the U.S., this problem is much more severe than commonly discussed. Of particular concern is that it is estimated that over 70% of all humans trafficked into the U.S. originate from Latin America: countries such as Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador are well-known supply sources for human cargo.

A significant number of these enslaved are young teenagers between 13 and 15 years old who originate from poverty-stricken communities, and who are lured into the dark world of slavery due to false promises of legitimate jobs and a better life in America. What awaits them is an inhuman slave world filled with torture, violence, and threats of death to family members they left behind if they ever attempt to flee their imprisoned ‘cantinas’ – prison-like brothels where they are never allowed to leave. Tragically, sure death awaits those imprisoned into this inferno: they are either murdered, die of drug overdose, or die of disease and infection.

One of the grave concerns we must ask is How are these individual doomed to enter the awaiting world of human slavery trafficked into the United States from Latin America and crossing our border?

It is apparent that the majority of human cargo entering our borders due so illegally. Though limited data is available, sound reasoning leads us to anticipate that this number is substantial.

Due to limited border documentation requirements under WHTI policy, particularly for minors traveling, there is substantial concern that human traffickers are currently using this loophole in order to move their young human cargo into the United States from Mexico and Caribbean island-nations.

The world of human trafficking and slavery is very real. According to author of Free The Slaves, Kevin Bale, there are nearly 27 million people across the world caught in modern-day slavery. The United States Department of State Trafficking In Persons Report (TIP Report) estimates this number to be between 4 million and 27 million individuals. Additionally, the Department of State estimates that there are over 800,000 individuals each year being transported across international borders. And according to their 2005 report titled Facts About Child Sex Tourism, there were over 1 million children exploited by the global commercial sex trade every year. All of these numbers continue to increase. Human trafficking is a dark world without any peer and most organizations involved in human trafficking and slavery are highly sophisticated.

Yet our borders remain relatively unencumbered for children traveling abroad in the Western Hemisphere.

U.S. Passport Requirements For International Travel

For U.S. Citizens, a Federal Statute mandates that any citizen of the U.S. must possess a valid U.S. passport to depart from or enter the U.S. Following is the text of Federal Statute 8 U.S.C. 1185 (b).

(b) Citizens Except as otherwise provided by the President and subject to such limitations and exceptions as the President may authorize and prescribe, it shall be unlawful for any citizen of the United States to depart from or enter, or attempt to depart from or enter, the United States unless he bears a valid United States passport.

When WHTI requirements for land and sea became effective on June 1, 2009 exceptions to the Federal Statute passport requirement were allowed. The new regulation states that U.S. citizens and citizens of Canada, Bermuda and Mexico may present a passport or other WHTI-compliant documents when entering or departing the United States at sea or land ports-of-entry from within the Western Hemisphere.

Due to exceptions to the passport requirement, our research has concluded there exists distinct areas of vulnerability at the border for our children.

Fraudulent Documentation

The presentation of fraudulent documents at border points has long existed and is well illustrated in the publication of Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Land and Sea Final Rule" that was released March 27, 2008 by the Department of Homeland Security. It was reported that CBP officers had intercepted over 129,000 fraudulent documents since January 2005 from individuals trying to cross the border over an approximate 3 ½ year period. This is a substantial number; however, we must ask ourselves how many fraudulent documents were never uncovered and successfully used?

To better demonstrate the severity of this problem we take note of a scenario that occurred several years ago in Texas and was reported by the Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services. A women acting as a lay-midwife was charged and convicted with fraudulently filing and obtaining over 3,400 United States birth certificate claims over a ten year period: almost one American birth certificate a day was fraudulently obtained and sold on the black market over a decade by one woman alone. This individual was one of eleven individuals convicted of filing and obtaining false birth certificates that were sold on the black market in Texas during a federal investigation. Of immense concern to us is that WHTI allows a child to cross international borders by land or sea and in lieu of a passport an original or copy of a birth certificate may be presented.

As noted in language of the Federal Statute above, limitations and exceptions do exist. According to CBP passport exceptions exist when traveling with U.S. or Canadian citizen infants and children. Of grave concern are the deficiencies that could be utilized in the cross border unlawful removal by land or sea of at risk children. If traveling by air everyone, even infants require a passport. However, WHTI allows that U.S. and Canadian citizen children “will not require passports for travel by land or sea when the June 1, 2009 rule goes into effect requiring all land and sea travelers to have a passport. Children under the age of 15 will have a blanket exemption from this requirement – although they will be required to present a copy of a birth certificate and, if not traveling with both parents, a consent letter from the other parent(s).”

We are especially concerned about the ability to falsify travel documentation for children. The capability to easily present travel documentation without another parent's consent or to falsify travel documents for children in cases where a passport is not required appears relatively easy. The fact that simply a birth certificate or worse, a “copy” of a birth certificate and a letter of permission with no documentation to verify its validity, is sufficient to cross international borders is a serious security concern. And although it is also recommended that a parent or guardian possess a letter of consent from the absent parent(s) this may or may not be required or requested. We must also consider that there is no way to verify the validity of a parental consent letter.

These concerns should sound an alarm bell directed at courts presiding over child custody cases where there is concern for potential international parental child abduction. Peter Thomas Senese, the co-writer of this report wrote in Chasing The Cyclone, “I know first-hand of several international parental child abduction cases where a false international travel consent letter was either fraudulently produced or never produced by the other parent in order for that abducting parent to depart from Canada into the United States or from the United States into Canada. The court’s orders were not followed, as is the case with all abducting parents. More troubling is the fact that in each of these cases, none of the necessary consent letters were ever checked by either countries border patrol or immigration agencies. This is absurd, particularly when knowing many of these consent to travel letters were not notarized and not original documents. It must be a requirement on both sides of the border for all land and sea travelers regardless of age to use a passport, which is the policy in place for air travel.”

When we consider the growing rate of international abduction here in the U.S. and abroad, there is a very real concern that our borders are used not only as a final destination for an abducting parent or trafficker, but as the launching point for an abductor to travel to their intended final destination. Although most countries recognize that documentation fraud is a severe concern it is clear that the minimization of travel document requirements needed for a minor to travel across our borders enables would-be abductors to criminally abduct a child. For example, if a would-be abductor traveling by land from the U.S. to Canada has in their possession any child’s original or ‘a copy’ of a birth certificate and a falsified consent to travel letter, they have the capability to internationally abduct any child from the U.S.

Realistically, all a potential abductor may need is a copy of a birth certificate. Although it is recommended that children traveling alone or with one parent posses a consent letter from any absent parents this is not a requirement. In reference to the birth certificate requirement, many parents obtain several copies of a child’s birth certificate: it is not as if you are allowed only one copy such as a U.S. Passport. Unquestionably, if all cross-border travel for children of all ages does not include the much more secure and controllable use of a passport, then abducting parents and human traffickers will still be capable of abducting children.

The required travel document for an infant under age one who is traveling by land or sea between the U.S. and Canada is alarming. The CBP states that “If you have not yet received a birth certificate for a U.S. or Canadian citizen infant, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will accept either the birth record issued by the hospital or a letter on hospital letterhead providing details of the birth, including the name of the child, time and place of birth, and parents names. Birth certificates should be used for children over 1 year old.” Once again, the ease of fraudulently creating this type of “document” exists and a child could easily be smuggled across international borders.

Contiguous Countries – Mexico and Canada

Contiguous and adjacent countries seem to allow for the possibility of additional serious security breaches that need to be immediately resolved. While WHTI appears to remedy much of the ability to present fraudulent documentation at the border, it does allow for certain exceptions to the rule.

CBP reports this security vulnerability for children when it states, “U.S. and Canadian citizen children under age 16 arriving by land or sea from a contiguous territory may present an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, a Naturalization Certificate, or a Canadian Citizenship Card.” Contiguous territories are defined as countries sharing a common boundary with the United States. Canada and Mexico are both contiguous to the U.S.

In regards to outgoing cross-border abductions to Mexico (a contiguous country), the U.S. Department of State (DOS) reports “Mexico is the destination country of the greatest number of children abducted from the United States by a parent.” Additionally, “65% of all outgoing international parental abductions from the United States to Hague Convention countries are to Mexico, and that 41% of all incoming international parental abductions to the United States are from Mexico.” It is also important to note that according to the DOS, “Since March 1, 2010, all U.S. citizens – including children – have been required to present a valid passport or passport card for travel beyond the “border zone” into the interior of Mexico. The “border zone” is generally defined as an area within 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location.” Concerns arise when you consider that entry into Mexico is allowed without a passport if a representation is made that you intend to remain within the designated “border zone”.

Although Mexico acceded to The Hague Convention on June 20, 1991 and entered into force with the U.S. on October 1, 1991, Mexico has consistently been labeled non-compliant with the Convention. The 2010 Hague Compliance Report states that for fiscal year 2009 there were 474 children involved in new outgoing (from the U.S. to Mexico) Hague applications. The 2009 Hague Compliance Report states there were 533 children abducted to Mexico, representing a 67% increase of reported abduction cases from 2007 (320 cases). The ‘reported’ cases do not include the immeasurable anticipated ‘unreported’ cases of parental child abduction occurring between the United States and Mexico previously discussed in Crisis In America: International Parental Child Abduction Today (2010). Mexico’s non-compliance with the Hague Convention is unquestionably appalling; however, the suffering and danger that must be endured by the thousands of abducted U.S. child-citizens stolen from their American homes to Mexico, nor the pain of their chasing parents left behind in the wake of the criminal act of child-stealing will never be fully understood by others unless it is experienced first-hand.

More insight should perhaps be shared on Mexico’s decade-long atrocities against children and their consistent and ongoing failures to follow international laws pertaining to the world’s children and their safety. The U.S. Department of State’s annual compliance report has documented Mexico’s history of non-compliance over the past decade. A Texas courts made a landmark decision when it went so far to find Mexico's legal system ineffective and lacking legal mechanisms for the immediate and effective enforcement of child custody orders. The court stated that Mexico posed a risk to children's physical health and safety due to human rights violations committed against children, including child labor and a lack of child abduction laws. This ruling was not rendered without insight and reason: in fact the U.S. Department of State, who has consistently posted travel warnings to U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, recently issued a warning to authorize the departure of children dependents of U.S. government personnel in U.S. consulates and offer financial assistance to relocating families.

Nearly every year since The Hague Compliance Report was ordered to be prepared for Congress the DOS has sited that one of the gravest challenges in having a U.S. child-citizen stolen to Mexico is Mexico’s inability to locate abducted children. This problem remains severe today despite Mexico’s Central Authority claims that there has been slight improvement. Maura Harty, Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs for the U.S. Department of State previously commented, “Among the underlying causes of Mexico's poor performance overall under the Hague Convention appear to be a woefully understaffed and underfunded Central Authority in the Foreign Ministry; a judiciary unfamiliar with, and not infrequently hostile to, the Convention; and law enforcement and court authorities unable to locate children even in cases in which we and the left-behind parents can provide exact addresses. In general, Mexico has only partially implemented the Hague Abduction Convention into its legal, administrative and law enforcement systems."

Our concern regarding Mexico is magnified due to this nation's poor record to stop human slavery.

In a written statement made in the U.S. Department of State's Trafficking in Persons Report in June 2009, "Mexico is a large source, transit, and destination country for persons trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Groups considered most vulnerable to human trafficking in Mexico include women and children, indigenous persons, and undocumented migrants. A significant number of Mexican women, girls, and boys are trafficked within the country for commercial sexual exploitation, lured by false job offers from poor rural regions to urban, border, and tourist areas. According to the government, more than 20,000 Mexican children are victims of sex trafficking every year, especially in tourist and border areas."

Additionally, Anne Keehn, the 2010 Zimmerman Fellow recipient of the world renown human rights and anti-slavery advocacy group 'Free the Slaves' recently stated, “Unfortunately, [Mexico's President] Calderón’s attack on drug cartels has left few resources to combat human trafficking. Mexico has tried to address the issue through legal changes to combat trafficking as recently as 2007, when ‘federal legislation to prohibit all forms of drug trafficking’ was passed. Nonetheless, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking of Persons Report 2010, ‘some local officials tolerate and are sometimes complicit in trafficking, impeding the implementation of anti-trafficking statutes.’”

Due to the overall consensus of the significant dangers related to child abduction, exit controls for U.S. citizens departing the U.S. through all modes of travel need to be immediately implemented. If passports were required for all travelers to travel abroad, it is reasonable to believe there would be a significant reduction in the number of international parental child abductions and children missing due to human trafficking.

Under the present travel requirements, children in specific circumstances may be transported across borders without a passport. We believe this security deficiency has allowed hundreds if not thousands of defenseless children to be transported out of the country.

Due to the circumstances stated above and further disturbing information provided in this report, it is imperative that we attempt to hinder the possibility of illegal passage of children into Mexico due to the non-compliance exhibited in areas of law enforcement and judicial performance and the myriad of difficulties encountered in regards to a return application.

International Child Abduction Statistics

We must also consider the incoming cases of children that are consistently illegally transported into the U.S. The 2010 Hague Compliance Report indicates that 75 new Hague return applications were filed that represent 120 children that crossed from Mexico into the U.S. in violation of law. One can surmise that the security vulnerability that exists for outgoing cases could also be utilized in the illegal transport of children in incoming cases.

Cross-border abductions between the U.S. and Canada (a contiguous country) are also reported in the 2010 Hague Compliance Report. It indicates that there were 74 new outgoing cases involving 104 children and 29 new incoming cases representing 39 children. These are only cases in which a Hague application was filed and it should be noted that the number of Hague applications in no way accurately represents the actual number of children abducted in either incoming or outgoing cases. In statistical data compiled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police there were over 60,000 children reported missing annually from Canada each study year between 1998 and 2007.

Within the U.S. the most recent National Incidence Study of Missing, Abducted, Runaway and Thrownaway Children (NISMART-2), reports that of the 203,900 children that are estimated to be parentally abducted annually in the U.S. that only 28% (56,500) of these abductions were reported to law enforcement. Additionally, the NISMART 2 statistical data is certainly outdated as it was compiled with information from cases studied that were concentrated in 1999. These facts lead us to surmise that we have an incalculable number of children abducted annually.

Adjacent Island-Nations

Currently, according to CBP "closed loop" travel to adjacent islands allows for the same documentary exceptions under WHTI, as do contiguous countries. Specifically, "Travelers on "closed loop" voyages are NOT subject to the same documentary requirements for entry to the United States as other travelers."

The CBP website indicates at least thirty-seven countries currently meet this definition. Adjacent islands are defined by statutes and regulation, specifically the Immigration and Nationality Act § 101(b)(5) and 8 Code of Federal Regulations §286.1. CBP reports that adjacent islands to the U.S. are: “Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonfire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galantine, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and other British, French and Netherlands territory or possessions bordering on the Caribbean Sea.”

As previously discussed, the 2010 Hague Compliance Report reflected during FY 2009 there were 1,621 children for whom a Hague application was filed. Alarmingly, 833 of these children were victims whose cross border abduction was into or out of a country that is considered either contiguous or adjacent to the U.S. The report indicates that 652 children were taken OUT of the U.S. and into contiguous or adjacent countries. An additional 181 children were brought INTO the U.S. from contiguous or adjacent countries who are Hague treaty partners. The annual Hague Compliance Report does not indicate how many children are abducted into the U.S. from countries that are not Hague Treaty partners. We believe that the available data indicates a substantial security breach exists due to a lack of uniformity in documentary requirements while crossing international borders within the Western Hemisphere.

The opportunity for trafficking of children in the Caribbean is substantial. As Anthony M. Davis, the former U.S. Coast Guard Officer and the best-selling author of ‘Terrorism and Maritime Transportation System’ shared, “There's significant potential for illegal cross-border travel off the shores of Puerto Rico and other U.S. island territories. Generally, there is a consistent flow of people on small, low vessels called ‘Yolas’. During my Coast Guard time I saw many of the boats involved with illegal travel were from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico’s west coast. However, there also exists a substantial number of boats traveling from Puerto Rico to other island-nations. While Coast Guard and other assets look for these hard-to-spot vessels, they typically search for those heading toward Puerto Rico, not leaving it. In many cases of incoming vessels, it was common to have undocumented women and children of all ages traveling on these boats.

“Due to the close proximity of many of the island-nations to U.S. territory including Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. John, there’s a substantial opportunity for parents and traffickers to criminally remove a child from the United States across international borders to carry out an illegal act. The reasons: difficulties related to logistics in inspection and documentation requirements. Unquestionably, illegal inter-island travel originating from a U.S. territory to another Caribbean island nation is a serious matter, one easily capitalized on by individuals involved in crimes against children. In order to prevent individuals who seek to capitalize on our exit controls in U.S. island territories, it is important for the courts to recognize the relative ease of illegal travel connected to the Caribbean.”

Sea Travel Closed-Loop Voyages

We are also very concerned that the documentary requirements for a “closed loop” cruise ship or other water vessel’s voyage or itinerary to contiguous countries or adjacent islands allows travelers to be exempt from the documentary requirements necessary for other types of travel. The CBP defines “closed loop” as occurring when “a vessel departs from a U.S. port or place and returns to the same U.S. port upon completion of the voyage. U.S. citizens who board a cruise ship at a port within the United States, travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship may present a government issued photo identification, along with proof of citizenship (an original or copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Naturalization). A U.S. citizen under the age of 16 will be able to present either an original or a copy of his or her birth certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad issued by DOS, or a Certificate of Naturalization issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

Travel requirements for children traveling at sea are quite alarming. The porous documentation controls in place due to the WHTI facilitate child abduction opportunity at sea in unthinkable ways. For example, there are certain cruise ships that have ports of call in other countries that cater specifically to children. These cruise ships hold over 5,000 passengers and typically have weekly departures. With thousands of children boarding one of these cruise ships, we acknowledge it is clear there is substantial opportunity for a parental or non-parental child abduction to occur.

In a likely scenario for cruise ship related international parental child abduction or child trafficking, an individual could presumably board a cruise ship with a targeted child with limited or fraudulent documentation for the child, travel to WHTI designated foreign ports, disembark with the child at a port of call and simply choose not to re-board the ship, effectively circumventing the necessity of a passport which is required for other types of travel.

The potential to illegally remove a child across international borders via cruise ship travel is substantially magnified because currently there are no systematic data base controls and other security measures that would prevent a child's illegal departure from the United States. Exemplifying this grave concern are direct statements made from the security departments of two of the world's largest cruise lines operators. In statements made by both companies, neither have a security database that would enable a parent nor a court of law to place a child's name on a 'no embarkment' list due to specified court order. So even if a court order is issued that either directly names the cruise ship company as part of the action or if the court order references the cruise ship company to prohibit a child's departure but does not list the cruise ship as part of the legal action, the cruise ship companies have nothing in place that would enable them to comply with the court order.

When representatives in the security departments of both cruise ship companies were asked what could be done with a court order prohibiting a child's departure, each spokesperson suggested that if the targeted parent knew what cruise ship and departure date their child was scheduled to travel on, then it would be up to the parent to contact local law enforcement.

Obviously, the ability for a single parent trying to protect their child's abduction to run from cruise ship port to cruise ship port hoping to determine if their child is traveling on one of the ships is more than daunting and unrealistic, particularly since the vast majority of international child abductions are well planned, and cleverly orchestrated.

In a time of increased international security concerns, it is inconceivable that the only type of data bases most cruise ship operators have in place is a data base that flags previous passengers from traveling on their fleet due to past conduct on board one of their ships.

Remarkably, there is no systematic check to determine if a child’s name has been placed on any law enforcement or government travel alert lists. However, if a U.S. passport was required and the U.S. passport was scanned, then a border patrol agent would have immediate access to potentially critical information regarding the safety of the child. We call upon the cruise ships to act responsibly by establishing security procedures including a 'no-embarkment' database that would assist in the prevention of international parental child abduction and human trafficking.

When we consider there are approximately 760 cruises scheduled to depart from the U.S. and travel in a ‘closed loop’ to the Caribbean during fiscal year 2011, this becomes very concerning. Our worry increases after we consider there are 47 "closed loop" cruises scheduled to depart the U.S. to Canada during the same period. And finally, our concern surges when we realize that there are 379 cruises scheduled to depart the U.S. and travel in a "closed loop" to Mexico.

As previously discussed in this report, Mexico is a hotbed for ‘reported’ and ‘unreported’ incoming and outgoing international parental child abduction cases. A substantial number of U.S. parents have filed a Hague application due to the criminal international abduction of their child or children. Unfortunately, very few abducted children return to the U.S. despite court orders demanding the child’s return. These opinions are substantially backed by the U.S. Department of State, as Mexico has repeatedly been reported to Congress as a non-compliant member of the Hague Convention. In addition, Mexico’s record as a country known for its criminal activity of human trafficking is substantial.

We express our grave concern that cruise ships may be utilized to transport children illegally to and from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada as well island nations of the Caribbean.

It is inconceivable that U.S. children are still permitted to travel to specific foreign countries in accordance with the WHTI without a passport. Today, nearly 30% of all U.S. citizens possess a passport. As that number continues to grow substantially each year it is unthinkable not to require a passport for a child to travel abroad. In 2011 cruise ships are scheduled to originate from the U.S and travel to 63 ports of call in Mexico, 48 ports in the Caribbean, and from 20 ports of call in Canada. We contend that a failure to require children to present a passport for all international travel is an act of misguided negligence.

Closed-Loop Foreign Destination Number of Cruises Number of Ports

Caribbean 760 63

Canada 43 20

Mexico 379 48

The CBP does state that a U.S. Citizen “may” be required to present a U.S. passport if disembarking at a foreign port but that this requirement is up to the individual ports-of-entry. We must also consider that smaller personal watercrafts traveling to foreign ports under a “closed-loop” journey offer distinct opportunity for child abductors and human traffickers to circumvent our nation’s laws or court orders. The lack of formidable travel documentation for cruise ship or other water vessel excursions originating from and returning to the United States is a black hole for would-be child abductors or traffickers.

The fact that cruise ships are being utilized in human trafficking is not unrecognized within the U.S. or in other countries. The following statements come directly from a human rights watchdog organization in Belize.

The Belize Organization for Responsible Tourism (ORT) issues this appeal to cruise lines bringing passengers to Belize, a superhighway for human trafficking. “We are asking for your help in stopping human trafficking in Belize. In particular, we appeal to Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Lines, which bring a combined 700, 000 tourists to Belize annually.

Cruise lines have a moral responsibility to help stop human trafficking in Belize. Each year thousands of human trafficking victims are transited through Belize via its porous and corrupt borders. Many are exported to other countries and never seen again by their families. Many endure lives of forced prostitution in Belize ficha bars.”

As these serious challenges come to light, we need to create a comprehensive short-term and long-term strategy that will prevent child abduction and human trafficking from occurring due to limited WHTI child travel documentation requirements for land and sea travel. There remains a significant amount of work necessary to enhance border security so that current weaknesses will no longer be available to be exploited. Our children must become a priority and the risk of abduction and human trafficking be lessened through mandating legitimate and uniform travel documentation.

The issues of child abduction and child slavery have received relatively limited public exposure. There has been limited government reaction directed toward changing public policy, government agency operations and protocol, and reform of laws that may facilitate or enable international abduction. It is important to recognize that over the past two years there have been over 1,000 ‘reported’ cases of U.S. child citizens being criminally abducted to Mexico and untold numbers of unreported cases. Imagine how our nation would act if:

1. 25 school buses containing 40 defenseless 5th grader American students disappeared in Mexico; or,

2. 4 Boeing 757 passenger jets containing 250 middle school children each was hijacked; or,

3. A cruise ship with 1,000 high school students on a spring break trip was pirated off of Mexico’s borders; or,

4. A train traveling with 1,000 students and their teachers was hijacked.

Undoubtedly, there would be public outcry and reform at every level. However, our public and government concern has not reached levels that it should. The many voices of this unthinkable crime tend to be diluted due to the singular reporting methodology. It is imperative that immediate revisions in law and government policy be initiated including reform of the WHTI land and sea travel requirements for minors.

U.S. Passport Concerns and Statistics

International parental child abduction and human trafficking are extraordinary issues where there is no such thing as ‘collateral damage’. In the past, certain legislators have expressed concern that possession of a passport as a requirement to travel by either ground or sea to our neighboring countries would have a direct impact on commercial trade. One additional concern expressed by some of our policymakers is the requirement for a passport for all travel may be an expensive proposition for the average American family, particularly since a child’s passport alone costs over $80.00. The cruise ship industry, with many of its fleet of ships bearing the flags of nations other than the United States, has petitioned against the use of passports for ‘closed loop’ travel since the conception of the WHTI. Obviously, the industry is concerned that the additional cost associated with a passenger having to obtain a passport may cause a potential traveling customer to view a cruise as too costly.

However, statistics for new passport issuances effectively dispute these claims.

According to Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty, “there were over 60 million U.S. citizens who had a valid passport in 2005.” Further research shows substantial increase in the number of U.S. Passports issued since 2005. They include:

1. 2006: 12,133,537 new passports; and,

2. 2007: 18,382,798 new passports; and,

3. 2008: 16,208,003 new passports; and,

4. 2009: 13,486,000 new passports.

Thus, there were over 60 million new passports issued during the past four years, excluding the number of passports presently issued during FY 2010. Unquestionably, we have become a passport-friendly society. We contend that a previous position that a passport requirement results in financial disadvantages to commerce are inaccurate, clearly outdated, and are misguided.

Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Maura Harty, a proponent of harmonized passport travel stated, “For increased security and increased document integrity . . . State and DHS together rarely, singly or together, visit with a foreign entity without touching that very point, that the better and more secure documents are, the better and more easy it is to facilitate legitimate travel by legitimate travelers.”

Admittedly, passport requirements for all children traveling internationally under all circumstances will result in increased cost to the potential international traveler. However, this additional level of security will help ensure the safety of all children. Furthermore, the heavy financial burden associated with the recovery of criminally abducted or trafficked children should be paramount to any economic conversation.

Unequivocally, we take the position that a passport requirement for international travel can potentially protect thousands of our nation’s innocent children from the cruel fate of international abduction or from entering into the infernos of human slavery. Our U.S. child-citizens are entitled to the fundamental rights of freedom, justice and liberty and we must protect them.

We recommend that the documentary requirements implemented for air travel in Phase One of WHTI be the same requirements necessary for cross-border land and sea travel. In the interest of the safety of all children, we request that there be no exceptions to the passport mandate for contiguous countries, adjacent countries or "closed loop" voyages. Specifically, that all children, regardless of age must posses a passport for any cross-border travel. Harmonization of the documentary requirements for all modes of travel and at all international borders will help us achieve a reduction in the heinous crimes of child abduction and human trafficking.

Recommendations And Strategies

We hope that this report will educate victim parents, legal professionals, and members of the judiciary about an assortment of viable exit strategies that would-be abductors and traffickers can capitalize on in order to commit crimes against our and other nation’s children. Child abduction prevention strategies are critical and must include efforts to prohibit a child’s potential travel to or around our neighboring countries by land or sea, including specific court ordered prohibition for cruise ship travel by any at-risk child who may fall prey to a would-be abductor.

Notwithstanding the vital need to raise awareness of the issues presented herein, we urge that the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is immediately and urgently amended to include mandating that all international travel of any kind, including all travel for children, require a valid passport. By establishing all citizens to present a valid passport at a border crossing, the opportunity to reduce criminal activity as it is related to illegal border travel is substantial. If we are to close the existing loopholes that present child abductors and human traffickers the substantial opportunity to capitalize on the weak travel document requirement protocols presently in place under WHTI, the most effective and efficient way to do so is to establish an all-passport travel requirement for all international travel.

We recognize there must also be high priority short-term protocols implemented that will reduce the possibility of child abductions related to WHTI travel document requirement loopholes while moving to an all-passport travel requirement policy. Court-ordered prevention orders are critical to reduce child abduction threats; however, we acknowledge that under present WHTI travel requirements the use of documentation fraud is a strong reality. In addition, due to the limited existence of databases capable of flagging a child traveling under the present minimum travel documentation requirements established for children under WHTI and who are potential targets for abduction, we call for the implementation of substantially more training of CBP officers and for thorough security travel documentation checks for all children traveling abroad without a valid passport until such time that the desperately needed passport requirement is harmonized for all individuals regardless of age traveling abroad.

Pamela Michell, the founder of Survivor On A Mission and Heroes In Training stated, “As an advocate and survivor of human trafficking, I realize first-hand all types of abduction and abuse are widely unreported. Despite the spirit of the WHTI, international parental child abduction and trafficking of human cargo are rapidly increasing. An unacceptable and miniscule percentage of children and adults are ever recovered. Any loopholes in legal flaws in travel documentation requirements for international travel that may allow monsters to prey on others must immediately be changed. In the case of WHTI’s expansive flaws, we are not simply speaking about several isolated cases of targeted abduction, but of many thousands of at-risk children who could potentially fall into a dark world no words could ever possibly express. I call upon our political and governmental leaders to modify these laws in order to protect our children.”

If you believe your child is at risk of international abduction by their other parent, it is critical you immediately seek the assistance from the court overseeing your child’s welfare in order to obtain court-ordered abduction prevention orders issued by the court against the other parent. In initiating any urgent action, we strongly advise you seek the assistance of a lawyer familiar with both family court law and child abduction prevention strategies. We have provided a list of websites below that offer an array of prevention techniques and additional useful information that should be considered by you and your lawyer before you go into court. However, we also urge you to bring to the court’s attention potential exit strategies an abducting parent may attempt to capitalize on that are discussed specifically in this report, as the information we have exposed regarding land and sea exit options abductors may seek to capitalize on under the WHTI have, at the time of this report, have not been widely discussed until now.

It is not necessary to have a custody order for law enforcement to assist in the recovery of your child and any subsequent criminal proceedings. However, a custody order is often critical in recovery efforts if the other parent has abducted your child. A well-executed custody determination will establish the guidelines and protocols once your child is recovered. You must immediately seek civil remedies by going to court and obtaining a custody order and other civil relief that you may be entitled to.

If you believe the illegal removal of your child across international borders is in progress, we suggest you immediately and simultaneously, follow the action list below.

Immediately file a report with local law enforcement. Request local law enforcement to contact the FBI and enter information about your child in to the National Crime Information Center – Missing Person File (NCIC-MPF).
NOTE: The Adam Walsh Act and the PROTECT Act of 2003 (Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today) require every local, state and federal law enforcement agency to report missing children, under 21 years of age, to NCIC within two hours of receiving the report. We advise that two hours after the report is made that you confirm the entry of your child into the NCIC system.

Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)– Missing Child Division (MCD) at 1-888-24-NCMEC or 1-888-246-2632. Their website is:
Urge the law enforcement agencies involved to contact the United States National Central Bureau (USNCB)-INTERPOL. This agency serves law enforcement only (not parents), so requesting INTERPOL involvement must come directly from law enforcement.
Critically, contact the Office Of Children's Issues at the U.S. Department of State at 202-736-9090 Monday-Friday and at 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
1-888-407-4747 after hours, weekends or holidays. Their website is as follows:

5. Request that local law enforcement immediately begin a missing persons investigation under The Missing Children's Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C., 5780 (3)(B), (C).
Contact the Missing Child Clearinghouse for your state (every state has one).
Contact NCMEC's Team HOPE (Hope Offering Parents Empowerment), which matches searching families with trained volunteers at 866-305-4673. Their website is:
For serious health and welfare concerns for a child, on occasion, the International Social Services, United States of America Branch, Inc, may be of assistance. Their phone number is 443-451-1200. Their website is:
As parents and activists we have directly and indirectly experienced the myriad of issues involving the tragedy of international child abduction and the difficulties in preventing it from occurring. We are committed to focusing our efforts on uncovering the deficiencies that currently exist that continue to make international child abduction an all too common occurrence. In coming forward, we encourage everyone involved with protecting the welfare of at-risk children, including parents, members of the judiciary, policymakers, and members of law enforcement to recognize the existing risks we have shed light on, and to do whatever is necessary to protect our nation’s children in conjunction with the laws of each child’s state as well as existing federal legislation. As a parent, it is imperative that you ensure your legal counsel and family court personnel are well informed as to the risks that exist in your particular case. For more information on international child abduction and prevention, we suggest you visit the following websites:

The United States Department of State ( [The Official website of The Office Of Children’s Issues offers substantial information regarding IPCA].
National Center For Missing and Exploited Children ( [The Official website of NCMEC offers vast information on missing children and child abduction]
Amber Watch Foundation ( [Provide educational programs and innovative technologies that proactively and preemptively protect children against abduction, predators, and the dangers of the digital world]
Chasing The Cyclone ( [The Official website of Peter Thomas Senese’s Chasing The Cyclone provides a wealth of information on IPCA, including over 3 hours of educational documentary film footage].
The Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA) (The Official website is:
Team HOPE ( [Hope Offering Parents Empowerment official website: you will be matched with a trained volunteer).
We remain optimistic and hopeful that together we can raise awareness in order to create the changes necessary to better protect all children. We offer the following recommendations to educate and enlighten those whose duty and responsibility it is to protect our most treasured and vulnerable asset, our children.

It is critical that parents, lawyers, judges, policymakers, law enforcement, and all other individuals who are intricately involved in the welfare of our nation’s children who are at risk of international abduction to carefully consider the information we have provided in this report when implementing or overseeing policy or direction on behalf of an at-risk child. Failure to do so will lead to additional cross-border abductions.

If a policy is implemented where all foreign travel by U.S. adult and child citizens, requires the traveler to present a U.S. passport, we believe we will see a dramatic reduction in the total number of ‘reported’ and anticipated ‘unreported’ cases of international parental child abduction. We would also anticipate a substantial reduction in the number of human trafficking cases passing through our borders as well.

Protecting one child’s life from the fate of international abduction or human slavery is reason alone to seek the changes recommended above. However, with thousands of potential child victims each year at risk, the necessity of protecting our borders is critically urgent. We must act now to change current WHTI travel documentation policy.

About the Authors:

Carolyn Ann Vlk is a child abduction prevention advocate who drafted the landmark State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ that will be enacted on January 1st, 2011. Ms. Vlk was highly influential in raising the public’s awareness on the little-known, highly effective child abduction prevention federal program titled the ‘Prevent Departure Program’. Carolyn is also a writer/producer of the highly educational documentary film series titled ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, and, is the author of numerous essays and studies on parental child abduction, including the groundbreaking report titled ‘Crisis in America: International Parental Child Abduction Today’ (2010). Carolyn is dedicated to assisting parents and their children who are targets of international child abduction, and is committed to bringing about positive reform and change in law and government protocol that has been established to aid at-risk children. Ms. Vlk is a supporter of The Hague Convention, The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues, and the Uniform Child Abduction Prevention Act (UCAPA). Carolyn is a loving and dedicated mother to her children, and fought rigorously to protect her own child who was a target for potential abduction that she went so far as to draft legislation that has now become new law in her home state of Florida. To contact Carolyn Ann Vlk, please e-mail her at

Peter Thomas Senese is a child abduction prevention advocate and a successful chasing parent in accordance to the rules of international parental child abduction law established under the Hague Convention. Peter advocated for the passage of the State of Florida’s ‘Child Abduction Prevention Act’ (CAPA) that will be enacted on January 1st, 2011. In addition, he contributed to raising public awareness on the previously widely underutilized federal child abduction prevention program; specifically, the ‘Prevent Departure Program’ (PDP) that is now more commonly implemented in aiding targeted parents and their child from abduction in certain case scenarios. Peter is the creator/writer/producer of the educational documentary film series ‘Chasing Parents: Racing Into The Storms Of International Parental Child Abduction’, a best-selling author whose upcoming world-wide book release that focuses on international child abduction titled ‘Chasing The Cyclone’ has been critically acclaimed as a call-to-arms against child abduction. Peter is the writer of an extensive number of influential articles and essays pertaining to IPCA. He has created and oversees a comprehensive website dedicated to child abduction prevention and good parenting ( where numerous essays and may be found, including the eye-opening report ‘Crisis In America: International Parental Child Abduction Today’ Peter co-authored with Ms. Carolyn Vlk. Dedicated to bringing about new child abduction prevention laws while creating dialogue that may reform certain government programs and protocols so that they may better serve targeted children and their parents, Peter Senese is a strong supporter of The Hague Convention and The Department of State’s Office Of Children’s Issues. Paramount to all things, Peter is a loving father deeply dedicated to raising his young son. To contact Peter Thomas Senese, please e-mail him at or at