Several hundred children are kidnapped by a parent in violation of law and brought to, or taken from, the United States every year. United States criminal law now makes parental child abduction a criminal offense in each of the 50 states.
In the past, extradition treaties listed one of the extraditable crimes to be “kidnapping.” However, parental abduction was never considered kidnapping. Today, most extradition treaties include dual criminality provisions which provide for extradition when both parties consider an offense a felony. As a result, the United States included parental abduction in the treaty if the foreign country did so.
In response to these findings, the Extradition Treaties Interpretation Act was passed. By authorizing the interpretation of the term “kidnapping” to include parental kidnapping, Congress allowed for a clearer interpretation of extradition law. The Act aimed to rectify extradition law to protect the interests of American children and their parents.