Border patrol agents at Canadian customs say they’re on high alert for parental abductions during the holidays.
According to statistics from the Canada Border Services Agency (CSBA), now’s the time of year that family travel is most likely to involve kidnapping attempts by parents of their own children, especially when it comes to children traveling internationally.
The CBSA says it’s a well known phenomenon.
“Currently there are as many mothers as fathers who decide to leave or return to their native country, for example, with their child but without the consent of the other parent,” said Pina Arcamone, director of the Missing Children’s Network, to the The Canadian Press.
Acramone also highlighted that, contrary to what some might think, parental abduction is the most common form of abduction in Canada.
Acramone gave a hypothetical scenario to demostrate what is most commonly seen: one parent, who is not happy with the conditions surrounding the care of their child, decides to take matters into their own hands. The child then goes on a vacation with the parent, but does not return when scheduled, sometimes not returning for months.
“Every year, we find missing children (at airports and border crossings),” said Véronique Lalime, a spokesperson for the CBSA, to The Canadian Press. “Our agents are really on the lookout. When they see children, they pay special attention to make sure they meet child-care requirements when it comes to travel.”
Arcamone also noted that it’s not just men who are at fault for the kidnapping crimes.
“We see that it concerns as many mothers as fathers,” said Arcamone. “You really have to be on the lookout and not minimize or trivialize things if a child is abducted by his mother.”
“I would say that in the vast majority of cases, the children are found,” Arcamone said. “It may take a few hours, but sometimes it takes days and months in some cases.
“In most cases … we locate the children and send them home before there are serious consequences.”