Efforts to bring home American children abducted to overseas destinations and wrongfully held, will take a big step forward Thursday as legislation authored by Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees human rights, will be brought before the full Foreign Affairs Committee for a vote.
Left behind parents like Iraqi War veteran Marine Sgt. Mike Elias; David Goldman, whose son was returned only after a 5-year abduction; and other “left behind” parents of American children abducted to India, Japan, Egypt and Brazil and other countries, support the legislation, H.R. 3212, the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013.
More than 1,000 children are abducted out of the country every year, and less than half are returned within a year, and many never return. According to the U.S. Department of State, between the years 2008 and 2012, bereaved, left‑behind parents like Elias and Goldman reported over 4,800 abduction cases involving more than 7,000 children.
In May, Smith held a hearing called “Resolving International Parental Child Abductions to Non-Hague Convention Countries,” before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations chaired by Smith.
Who: Full Committee Chairman Ed Royce, Smith, and other members of the Foreign Affairs Committee; left behind family members, including former congressional witnesses:
- Paul Toland, of Maryland, father of child abducted to Japan
- Michael Elias, of New Jersey, father of children abducted to Japan
- Barton Hermer, of Texas, father of child abducted to the U.K.
- David Goldman, of New Jersey, father of child abducted to Brazil, one of the few cases brought back to U.S. after a 5-year abduction
When: Thursday, Oct. at 10 a.m.
Where: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172