Monday, December 31, 2012

Peter Thomas Senese: The I CARE Foundation's Year In Review

The I CARE Foundation's 2012 Year In Review

What began with a personal promise I made during the time I was Chasing The Cyclone of international child abduction to one day make a difference for children and their families targeted for severe abuse in the form of the inhumane act of international parental child kidnapping (IPCA) came to reality in 2012 with the commencement of the non-profit International Child Abduction Research & Enlightenment Foundations, Inc's (the I CARE Foundation) extensive, measurable operations working to prevent abduction and trafficking, and along the way, becoming heroes to children by creating more than a few miracles.
In reflection of all the positive things the I CARE Foundation has accomplished, the reality is that IPCA is spreading rapidly, hundreds of thousands of children each year are targeted for cross-border kidnapping each year, the majority of children who are abducted never come home, and tragically the vast majority of all children of abduction face serious short-term and long-term problems, including the threat of filicide (parental child-murder) and post-abduction suicide. These conditions prevail despite IPCA being a criminal act of kidnapping in accordance to federal laws. To put it mildly, we must do more.  Considerably more. Still, the I CARE Foundation's first full year of operations has had a significant positive impact on many as shared below. And on this note, I would like to express on behalf of the foundation my sincere thanks to all the incredible individuals who assisted  in our stewardship and organizational mission.
It is not easy to think about nor write about a young child being murdered, nor is it easy to think about an emotionally battered and abused adult who was once a child-victim of abduction committing suicide because of post-abduction side effects, but it is a reality, and undeniably, it is a reality of IPCA. 
International parental child abduction is simply not a criminal act of kidnapping and abuse, but a malicious act that could lead to a targeted child victim's death. IPCA's malignant tentacles target's innocence's life.
I know I speak for everyone at the I CARE Foundation when I say fighting to protect that innocent child is worth everything. And that includes the occasion threats and attacks received by kidnappers.
In my capacity as the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, I and the foundation's directors, advisers, friends, and supporters join other advocates and organizations who act as steward-advocates sharing the message that IPCA is a serious, highly abusive, and inhumane crime against innocent children that leads to the destruction of life.
Reality is that each American and Canadian citizen is only three degrees of separation from knowing a child who has been kidnapped. 
How big of an epidemic is it?
Consider this: in the United States it is measurably forecast that there will be between 100,000 and 125,000 American children internationally kidnapped by one parent from another.  In Canada this number ranges from 15,000 to 20,000 children.  Mexico is expected to see approximately 45,000 to 60,000 children abducted.   That's between 160,000 and 205,000 innocent children in North America who will be criminally abducted abroad, and who are at risk of a fate of no-return.
The number of children being returned to their country of original jurisdiction - their home - is glaringly low and is measurably forecast at roughly 10%.  The 10% return number could actually be considerably lower because, in contrast to the U.S. Department of State's reported return numbers, the I CARE Foundation contests that the DOS numbers are extraordinarily inaccurate with respect to the overall picture of IPCA because their reported cases of abduction and reported return numbers do not consider the number of unreported cases of abduction, nor the reality that there is a projected 0% return of abducted children who are not reported to the DOS's Office of Children's Issues.  With respect to unreported cases of IPCA, the extensive, highly distributed report written by Carolyn Vlk and me titled 'Crisis In America' measurably forecasts the number of unreported cases of IPCA in America appear to range from 100% to 125% of all reported cases of IPCA to the DOS. Due to the immigration influx in Canada, unreported cases of IPCA appear to be on par with the U.S. forecast.
Similar to North America, European and South American IPCA is dramatically on the rise and appears to be on par with North America. 
In addition, in Asia cases of child abduction and human trafficking remain a glaring and unthinkable issue as exemplified by China's outrageous reality of child slavery and trafficking in that country as illustrated by the December 24th, 2012 arrest of 355 traffickers, including a large number of police officers who ran child abduction rings in that country.  In fact, over the past 3 years China has reunited over 50,000 trafficked children with their parents.  An impressive reunification number at first glance, but in truth one that pales in comparison to the number of children brought into the dark world of abduction and slavery.   China is not alone, as this problem is widespread in most Asian countries.
Speaking of Asia, Japan, one of the West's biggest trading partners and allies remains a black hole of international parental child abduction.  Here is the reality of the West's biggest alley: children who are abducted to Japan by a Japanese national do not ever come home.  And today, there are hundreds of American and Canadian children who are illegally held in Japan by a parent who has kidnapped them.
With keen eyes focused on how we may protect children from a nightmarish fate of IPCA, the I CARE Foundation has launched a series of research studies and legislative initiatives, while voluntarily working where possible to help families in crisis.
What Needs To Be Done
Several noticeable issues going into 2013 need to be prioritized.  They include but are not limited to:
  1. Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction inbound member-state signatories need to adhere to the spirit of the international treaty and act to expeditiously decide on litigation concerning the return of the child.
  2. Courts in signatory member-states must act fairly and without bias so the international treaty is upheld.
  3. Judges in courts all over the world who preside over IPCA cases must be well-trained on all matters of IPCA, including the reality that abduction is a severe and abusive crime against a child that enables an abductor to further abuse a child during the time litigation brought by a targeted parent occurs. Furthermore, courts and their judges must act to counter-balance any stall tactics implemented by an abductor or their legal counsel as such activity is often implemented to strategically financially break the chasing parent due to the extreme cost chasing parents face when trying to reunite with their kidnapped child.  Of course, the courts must enforce the universally recognized notion amongst signatory nations that IPCA is extreme abuse, and extreme abuse is not in the best interest of any child.
  4. Sanctions by Hague member-nations against non-complying Hague member-nations must simply not be discussed but enacted.  The collateral damage of innocent children in lieu of other foreign policy issues should not be acceptable under any circumstance.
  5. The international community must continue to put diplomatic pressure on non-Hague signatories to become complying parties to the convention.  This includes countries such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, India, and Russia (most countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are not members of the Hague Convention).
  6. New state and federal laws (in Canada, provincial and national laws) geared toward child abduction and child trafficking must be created and upheld by both law enforcement and courts.
  7. In the United States, the Senate passed SR 543, which resolved that the American government and all agencies charged with a role in preventing or reuniting internationally kidnapped children use all legal remedies available to them under law to help children, including consideration of criminal prosecution of abductors and those who have aided or abetted in a kidnappers activity.  It is imperative that individuals who conspire to or actually abduct or aid in an abduction of a child are prosecuted.
  8. IPCA is a criminal act of kidnapping under the International Kidnapping Crimes Act.  The act of kidnapping of any form is an inhumane act.  Kidnappers who flee to another country must be extradited back to the country where the abduction took place.  Thus, it is critical that new agreements are created between many countries that allow for extradition of parents who kidnap, which unfortunately does not exist today.
  9. Parents everywhere must be aware that IPCA is real, growing, and could potentially impact their lives, particularly in an ever-growing multi-cultural global society where individuals from different nations create relationships that result in the birth of a child, and, the prevalence of divorce in society.
  10. Hague Central Authorities and government agencies in each member-state need to have their operation's reviewed and clearly provided with greater resources necessary to support the much-needed expansion of operations required by families in crisis of abduction.  On December 14th, 2013 by virtue of U.S. Senate Resolution 543, Congress called for a full review of the U.S. Office of Children's Issues (OCI) , which has oversight for all reported cases of inbound and outbound IPCA in the United States.  Undeniably, as both knowledge and understanding of the severity and danger of IPCA has increased, and, as the number of IPCA cases has also dramatically increased, the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues  that Congress created when it affirmed to annex the Hague Convention faces exponentially more severe, diverse, and a greater number of international kidnapping cases entering into and exiting the United States.  OCI must be completely overhauled to keep up with the crisis in America that is IPCA.
  11. Continued research in the area of IPCA must be conducted.
  12. Child abduction prevention measures must be created, implemented and upheld at both the local and national level.
Clearly, there are many serious challenges ahead of us as a global-nation of concerned global-citizen advocates of children.

The work of every individual associated with the I CARE Foundation is done on a volunteer basis.  In addition, the foundation is solely funded by the organization's board of directors and members of our advisory board in accordance to our non-profit organization's by-laws.

On a personal level, it is both my privilege and honor to have been able to provide much-needed resources to the I CARE Foundation, including but surely not limited to donating 100% of revenue I earned to the foundation as a best-selling author of geopolitical thrillers.

When I look back at my own personal journey racing into the storms of international parental child kidnapping, and my life as an author, I am pleased that writing Chasing The Cyclone has led to the creation of the I CARE Foundation and the many miracles that have been created when a group of individuals act selflessly, in kindness, and act by standing up for what is right: and in this case what is right in trying our best to help protect children.

As a writer, I am humbled that my work writing the deeply inspired story that is Chasing The Cyclone has been called by others in the media as 'Creating Miracles Through A Book'.

There is no question there is a great amount of work that needs to be done to help children of IPCA.  We are reminded each day of the great need to educate, reform, and assist where we can.  The accomplishments of the I CARE Foundation drive us to build upon what we have achieved, while reminding us that there is a whole lot of work ahead of us on the horizon. The following is a partial list of the I CARE Foundation's 2012 achievements.

The Accomplishments Of The I CARE Foundation
  1.  The I CARE Foundation has significantly assisted families in crisis who are located around the world and who are dealing with abduction, including playing key roles in the legal rescue and reunification of many internationally kidnapped children, including children abducted to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, South America, and North America. 
  2. The I CARE Foundation has significantly assisted numerous targeted parents prevent the criminal abduction of their child or children, while creating legal precedents in numerous courts during litigation in hope and anticipation that other children and families will be protected.
  3. The I CARE Foundation launched a successful national campaign to build an attorney network of lawyers willing to assist at-risk of abducted children, including an extensive campaign to assist recruit the U.S. Department of State build the 'Hague Convention Attorney Network'.
  4. The I CARE Foundation launched or participated in numerous legislative initiatives geared to protect children including advocating for the support of Senate Resolution 543, as well as working diligently on new laws and policy modifications associated to modifying the existing Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, and, creating a Secondary Prevent Departure Program applicable for individuals who possess U.S. Citizenship.
  5. The I CARE Foundation launched a national campaign of international parental child abduction awareness in order to raise awareness amongst parents.
  6. The I CARE Foundation continued to ensure use of the Prevent Departure Program to aid at-risk parents of abduction.
  7. The I CARE Foundation continues to build an international case law data base IPCA cases.
  8. The I CARE Foundation continues to conduct significant research and publish our findings connected with IPCA on a wide area of topics.
  9. The I CARE Foundation participated in the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program held at the United Nations.
  10. The I CARE Foundation's internal fund-raising activity has ensured strong and progressive advocacy for 2013.
The I CARE Foundation's accomplishments have been made possible because a group of individuals cared enough to attempt to make a difference in the lives of others. 

I will be the first to admit that despite the many dozens of families who we have successfully assisted by either reuniting them with their abducted child or by assisting in preventing their child's abduction, the reality is that there are many individuals and families we have attempted to assist but have not yet been able to achieve what we have hoped for.  The truth is the complexity of IPCA is significant.

Overall, the key to stopping child abduction, child slavery, child trafficking, and child abuse is to prevent any and all of it from happening in the first place. 

The reality is that when it comes to IPCA, children who are stolen should never be viewed as being with their other parent, but instead they must be viewed as being held by a kidnapper who, as stated by numerous government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice as likely a person who has serious and dangerous sociopathic tendencies.

Of particular note, the I CARE Foundation assisted numerous families in crisis because a group of incredible parenting writers/bloggers got involved and helped raise awareness.  On behalf of the foundation's board and advisory board, I would like to express my sincere thanks and deep appreciation.  The reality is the information shared will reach many more parents than any of us know, and more than likely will help many families we will never know or meet.  Still, you made a difference and in this, you made the world a better place.

The parents who have had a child kidnapped face undue and incredible hardship.  Few parents of abduction are reunited with their children.  However, the tide is turning, and advocates such as those associated with the I CARE Foundation and elsewhere are committed to this change. 

For those of you who have been reunited with your child, I hope that you do not walk away from this fight for children of abduction.  It is in your wisdom that you will be able to help those who continue to chase.
 And for those parents who still chase the cyclone of abduction, never give up hope and alwasy embrace your faith.  Know patience, and never think your child does not know you love them no matter how severe the parental alienation is because even though your child is a hostage of abduction, they are made of you. And as I said, the mountain of abduction is moving because parents who care are mobilizing, governments are realizing the inhumanity of IPCA and acting, and society as a whole is realizing that IPCA is a severe and dangerous act of kidnapping.

2012 was a very good first year for the I CARE Foundation organizationally.  We will be expanding our operations significantly, continue our dedicated efforts to conduct research and guide legislation and new policy that may protect children, assist families in crisis as much as possible, and continue our stewardship of raising social awarenss of IPCA in hope children and their parents will be protected.

To all of you who supported the I CARE Foundation's activity, and to all of you who we have worked with, or who we may work with in the future, we wish you great success in all of your endeavors in the coming 2013 New Year.

On behalf of everyone here at the I CARE Foundation, I wish you God's Blessings for a Happy, Healthy, and Peaceful 2013 New Year.


Peter Thomas Senese
Founding Director
The I CARE Foundation