During this year’s summer holidays, 58 children were kidnapped by one of their parents and taken across the Dutch border. Forty of them were abducted in the Netherlands and taken abroad, and the other 18 were brought into the Netherlands from another country, the Center for International Child Abduction (IKO) reported Friday.
Of the 40 children abducted in the Netherlands, twelve were taken to a country within the European Union and 28 to a country outside the EU. The majority of children were abducted to Turkey (12) and Poland (5) this summer. Only 10 percent of the children have been returned to the Netherlands.
Of the 18 children abducted to the Netherlands, eight came from an EU country, with six from Belgium. Ten others were abducted outside the EU. Only one of these children were returned to their residence.
The number of child abductions is higher than last summer, when fifty children were abducted. According to IKO, this may be because there were no travel restrictions due to coronavirus this past summer. IKO also observed a slight increase in the number of international child abduction cases on an annual basis. In 2021, 229 children were abducted, and in 2020 there were 224 children. Of the 229 children, 113 were under 5 years old, 93 were between 6 and 12 years of age and 23 children were between 13 and 17 years of age.
In 89 percent of the cases, the mother was the abducting parent. “Explainable, because in many cases the mother is the custodial parent,” said Coskun Çörüz, director of the IKO.
Child abduction by one parent has an “irreparable impact on children and the other parent,” said Çörüz. “It is dramatic for the development and well-being of children when they are snatched from their familiar environment, school, friends and the other parent. In addition, parents commit a criminal offense when they decide to move with authority to another country without the consent of the other parent. Child abduction can carry prison terms of six years or more.”
Reporting by ANP
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