Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), unanimously passed H.R. 3212, Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act of 2013.  The bipartisan legislation, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), strengthens procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries.

Chairman Royce said:  Every year, more than one thousand American families are confronted with the nightmare of their child being abducted to a foreign country by one parent, in violation of legal custody and access rights, out of reach of U.S. courts and law enforcement.  This unilateral and illegal severing of the tie between the child and the left-behind American mother or father is a tragedy.  Today’s legislation strengthens the incentives and the tools that the Department of State has to address unresolved abduction cases.”

Smith said:  “Parental child abduction is child abuse.  These victims are American citizens who need the help of their government when normal legal processes are unavailable or fail.  Today is our chance to help.  H.R. 3212 backs with penalties our demands for adherence to international obligations and makes clear to friends and foes alike that our children are our top priority.”

A summary of the Committee action, including an adopted amendment, is available HERE.