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The sharp rise in children snatched by a parent and taken to a foreign country is the result of relationships between two people from different countries breaking down, a charity chief told Daybreak.
Acting Reunite director Alison Shalaby explained: "When those relationships break down, one parent wants to return to their home country. So they are making that decision for themselves but also making the decision for the child as well."
Parents are urged to be vigilant of former partners who may snatch their children and take them across foreign borders with Christmas around the corner.
Head of the charity Reunite, which assists parents whose children have been taken by their other parent, warned Christmas could be "a particularly stressful time".
According to the Foreign Office the countries outside of the Hague Convention children are commonly taken to are:
- Pakistan 35 children
- Thailand 17
- India 16
- Japan 11
- Morocco 10
- Egypt 8
- United Arab Emirates 8
- Philippines 7
- Oman 5
- Afghanistan 5
The Hague Convention is an international agreement dealing with cross-border adoption, child trafficking and child laundering.
Top 10 Hague Convention countries snatched children have been taken to over the last year are:
- USA 32 children
- Poland 29
- Ireland 28
- Germany 18
- France 12
- Canada 11
- South Africa 10
- Spain 10
- Australia 9
- Turkey 8
The number of children snatched by a parent in the midst of a custody battle has more than doubled in the space of a decade, the Government has said.
Figures from the Foreign Office revealed they were now involved in 580 custody cases this year alone, where as they had 272 new potential child abductions in 2003/4.
Charity Reunite, which specialises in assisting parents whose children has taken, have dealt with 447 new cases involving 616 children this year.
Christmas 2012 and the end of the summer holidays saw their caseload surge, the charity revealed.