On July 16 the Senate passed an international child abduction bill by voice vote. The bill, inspired by David Goldman’s five year struggle to bring his son Sean back to the United States from Brazil, aims to enhance the federal government’s ability to aid U.S. parents in rescuing their children abducted abroad.
Aptly titled the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, the bill is now headed to the House of Representatives for approval. It was first introduced by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Mendez (D-NJ) and ranking Republican Bob Corker (R-Tenn.). Commenting on the bill’s Senate approval, Menendez stated, “I encourage my colleagues in the House to act swiftly to protect our children.”
The Sean and David Goldman bill serves to bolster a similar bill passed unanimously by the House in December of 2013. That bill, H.R. 3212, was sponsored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith. The bill currently headed to the House would provide funds for the training of foreign officials in abduction matters for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. The bill also requires the State Department to produce a comprehensive annual report detailing international parental child abductions.
It is reported that over 1,000 children from the United States are noted missing in international abduction cases annually. This figure, and the impending fissure of families which it entails, is evidence of the urgent problem of kidnapping on the international level. It also raises concern over the communication, or lack thereof, between the U.S. and foreign officials to locate these children and assist in their safe return to their families. The pressure to ensure this process occurs as efficiently as possible is now upon the House.