Cross-border child abduction reports rise sharply in Netherlands

The number of cross-border child abductions in the Netherlands showed a significant increase in 2016. Last year a total of 251 children were reported kidnapped to the Dutch center of international child abductions IKO, 14 more than in 2015, the center announced according to RTL Nieuws. 

Most of these abductions involved a parent taking a child abroad following a divorce or separation. Most of the abducted children were below the age of 6, the youngest one was two months old at the time of abduction. In 70 percent of the cases, the perpetrator is female. 

Whether the number of actual cross-border abductions increased, or if only the willingness to report them increased, can't be said with absolute certainty, IKO director Coskun Coruz said to RTL Nieuws. According to the center, this type of child abduction still carries a kind of taboo with it. "The environment often responds negatively when the foreign partner leaves with the children after the end of a relationship. 'We warned you' is often said. The other parent is left behind with the shame."

The children kidnapped in the Netherlands last year were most often taken to Turkey, followed by Belgium, Germany and Poland. The United States, Russia and Spain are tied in fifth place. About half of kidnapped children don't return after being taken abroad, according to IKO. 

By far the most spoken of case of cross-border child abduction in the Netherlands is the case of Amsterdam toddler Insiya Hemani. The then 2-year-old girl was violently taken from her grandmother's apartment in September last year. Her father Shezhad Hemani is believed to be behind the abduction - Insiya's parents were in the midst of a custody battle when she was taken. The little girl is now believed to be in India with her father. Minister Bert Koenders of Foreign Affairs is currently visiting India and he plans to discuss the Amsterdam toddler's case with his Indian counterpart, Sushma Swaraj, on Tuesday. 


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