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International Parental Child Abduction
March 31, 2022

International parental child abduction is the removal or retention of a child from their country of habitual residence in breach of another parent’s or guardian’s custody rights.

The Office of Children’s Issues within the U.S. Department of State is a leader in U.S. government efforts to prevent international parental child abduction (both from the United States and to the United States), help children and families involved in abduction cases, and promote the objectives of the Hague Abduction Convention.

While the Philippines acceded to the Hague Abduction Convention in 2016, the treaty’s provisions have not yet been implemented by the Philippine government.  As a result, parents whose children have been abducted from the United States to the Philippines or wrongfully retained in the Philippines are unable to invoke the Convention to pursue their children’s return or to seek access to them. This doesn’t mean we can’t provide resources to assist you.  If your child has been abducted or wrongfully retained, contact the Office of Children’s Issues’ Prevention Team as soon also as possible so they can provide you information and resources.  You may reach them by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at 888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444 (outside the United States and Canada).  For non-emergency questions or assistance, send an email to PreventAbduction1@state.gov.

For more information, see the State Department’s country-specific page for the Philippines.

In February 2022, the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ) issued Department Circular no. 010 establishing Philippine government procedures to facilitate the prompt return of abducted or wrongfully retained children.  These procedures bring the Philippine government closer to full implementation of the Hague Abduction Convention.  The circular outlines the roles of various government agencies in locating children who are the victims of international parental child abduction and in facilitating mediation and voluntary returns to the child’s country of habitual residence.  Please visit the DOJ’s website to read more about the new procedures to be implemented under Department Circular No. 010.


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