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Victim Reunification Travel Program: Addressing International Parental Child Abduction Cases

The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of State have established a cooperative agreement with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to assist parents whose children are illegally taken across U.S. borders by a spouse or biological parent. The International Parental Kidnapping Act of 1993 makes international kidnapping a federal felony and authorizes criminal fines and/or imprisonment on anyone who removes a child from the United States or unlawfully retains a visiting child in a foreign country. Since creation of NCMEC's Victim Reunification Program in 1996, 174 children have been reunited with "left behind"/custodial parents. OVC has provided funding for this project since Fiscal Year 1997.

OVC provides support to the parents who are left behind, including services such as payment of transportation expenses required to attend a court proceeding with the child, translation of documents related to court hearings and the reunification process, and counseling support to prepare the parents for reunification and minimize the trauma for the child. In FY 2004, OVC facilitated travel of left-behind parents in recovering 20 children. The program is funded and monitored by OVC's Terrorism and International Victim Assistance Services Division. For additional reading about international parental abduction of children, visit NCMEC.

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