Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) is proud to join organizations across the country in recognizing May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day, a day committed to reminding parents, guardians, and others to make child safety a priority and commit to locating and recovering missing children.
At TRLA, the Bi-National Project on Family Violence has been helping parents prevent and fight international child abduction for more than ten years. During that time, the project has helped more than 300 parents prevent their child’s abduction or fight for their safe return.
Among the families TRLA has helped reunite are Feliciana and her two children, Carolina and Jennifer. After Carolina and Jennifer were abducted and taken to Mexico by their father, Feliciana didn’t know what to do. A history of domestic violence in the relationship, which included threats on her life, left Feliciana in fear of her children’s safety. So she turned to TRLA for help and the family was reunited this January.
According to the U.S. State Department, last year more than 2,000 children were abducted to or from the United States. That works out to more than 40 children being taken each week.
As part of the Bi-National Project’s efforts, “Help! He took my child to Mexico!” is a 30-minute video that provides information on how to identify a potential abductor, preventative steps parents can take to protect their children, and advice on what to do if children are abducted. The DVD can be viewed online and TRLA has copies available in English and Spanish.
The Bi-National Project is headed by TRLA attorney Pamela Brown. Brown is joined in her efforts by attorney Mariano Nuñez Arreola. Because of their commitment and experience in the international abduction arena, the pair have been selected as delegates for the US-Mexico Bar Association at the 2011 Special Commission on the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction to be held next month.
TRLA’s Bi-National Project on Family Violence remains committed to educating parents about preventing child abduction and helping reunite families once an abduction has occurred. On National Missing Children’s Day 2011, we encourage all of our supporters to join us in this cause and the continued mission of fighting for access to justice for low-income Texans.