December 7, 2012
Dutch television is to air a show about international parental child abduction. Starting on December 16, commercial television network RTL4 is to air “Ontvoerd”, a series in which crime journalist John van den Heuvel tries to locate and reunite children with their legal custodial parents.
Van den Heuvel is known in the Netherlands as a reporter about high-profile crime cases, working for, among others, De Telegraaf and commercial television. It is the first time in the Netherlands a Dutch network is broadcasting a show entirely about international parental child abduction.
In a press release, RTL4 states that Van den Heuvel has made the “best interest of the child” has his top priority in the show. Therefore, in some cases, the actual reunion between parent and child will not be broadcast.
The first broadcast focuses on an 8-year old boy taken from his mother, the boy’s legal guardian, in the Netherlands. Van den Heuvel tracks him down in Bosnia, where he was taken to by his Bosnian father. The boy apparently lives in deplorable conditions. Van den Heuvel does not succeed in reuniting the boy with his mother.
However, following Dutch media reports about the boy, pressure has increased on Dutch politicians, including the minister of foreign affairs, to look into the matter.
Even before the first show in the series has been aired on Dutch tv, television network RTL4 has commissioned a second series on the same subject from Van den Heuvel, to be broadcast in the 2012-2013 season.
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