International Social Services
International Social Service or ISS is an international charitable
Charitable organization
A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization . It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A charitable organization is a type of non-profit organization (NPO). It differs from other types of NPOs in that it centers on philanthropic goals A...

, non-governmental organisation. It provides assistance in cases of family breakdowns with an international aspect, for example ascertaining a child's best interest where divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

d parents live in different countries. It was founded in 1924, and was originally called International Migration Service, changing to its present name in 1946. According to its website, International Social Service (ISS) helps individuals, children and families confronted with social problems involving two, or more, countries as a consequence of international migration or displacement. As an international not-for-profit organisation, it is active in around 140 countries through a network of national branches, affiliated bureaus and correspondents. Each year, it provides services to more than 50,000 people throughout the world. It deals with issues related to voluntary or forced movement across borders, international family conflicts, family separation prevention, issues concerning child protection in family separation (Custody / visiting rights and maintenance payments, etc.), child abduction, alternative care, foster care, national and intercountry adoption, search of origin, voluntary or forced migrations and protection and care of unaccompanied or separated minors in the countries of origin and receiving countries. It provides intercountry social and legal casework, counselling for individuals and professionals, research and analysis, project management, information diffusion and advocacy.

Successful Actions

The parents of Budi separated one year after he was born. The father left the area and the mother was not able to care for her son so she asked his grandmother to look after him until she could find work. During the years that followed the boy did not hear anything from his father and the mother had very irregular contact with her own mother and son. Eventually the grandmother remarried and moved with her new husband and Budi to live in Spain. The child integrated well, attended school and learnt the language. When the boy was 12 years old the grandmother applied to the Spanish authorities to formalise her guardianship of Budi. The Spanish social services found that the child lived in a secure and loving environment. ISS were asked to help locate the parents and inform them of the application for the transfer of custody, counsel them on their rights and, if appropriate, obtain their consent to this process. The colleagues in Singapore managed to locate the mother and she gave her written consent. The father could not be found. Custody of Budi was transferred to the grandmother by the Spanish authorities.

Unsuccessful Actions

In 2006, Martin Boyle, the father of Rebeca Rezende Boyle, a child living in Brazil with her Brazilian mother, Mara Silvia Oliveira Rezende, approached ISS UK for assistance in locating her. Many years before, Rebeca's mother had disappeared with Rebeca and had refused to respond to her former husband's requests for information and contact and refused to acknowledge the receipt of any money that he sent. Martin had been to Brazil and had tried using lawyers, the British Consul General in Sao Paulo, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

, his local MP and the Office of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Office of the Official Solicitor
Official Solicitor
The Office of the Official Solicitor is a part of the Ministry of Justice of the Government of the United Kingdom. The Official Solicitor acts for people who, because they lack mental capacity and cannot properly manage their own affairs, are unable to represent themselves and no other suitable...

, the Brazilian Special Secretariat for Human Rights
Special Secretariat for Human Rights
-Background:The Special Secretariat for Human Rights is an office attached to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil. Its purpose is to implement, promote, and protect human rights, civic rights, and the rights of children, adoloscents, the elderly, and the disabled...

 and attempted to make a request under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted from one member nation to...

 all to no avail. Rebeca's mother, with the connivance of her parents, Maria Jose Oliveira Rezende and Milton Pessoa Rezende, Sales Director of the L. S. Starrett Company
L. S. Starrett Company
L. S. Starrett Company is an American manufacturer of tools and instruments. Its products are well known among machinists and tool and die makers. The company was founded when businessman and inventor Laroy Sunderland Starrett , who was born in China, Maine, bought the Athol Machine Company in 1905...

, refused to respond to him or to say where she was. ISS UK contacted Susanna Malinski of the Industrial Social Services
Industrial Social Services
The Brazilian Industrial Social Services is a private Brazilian not-for-profit institution that operates throughout the country...

 or Serviço Social da Indústria SESIRS, their correspondent in Brazil, who attempted to contact Rebeca's mother through local social services in Itu
Itu is an old and historic municipality in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. The population in 2009 was 157,384 and the area is 641.68 km². The elevation is 583 m. This place name comes from the Tupi language, meaning big waterfall. Itu is linked with the highway numbered the SP-75 and are flowed...

 in the state of Sao Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

. For over six months in 2007, Itu Social Services kept trying to approach Rebeca's grandparents at their address in an enclosed and guarded condominium in the town and were repeatedly turned away by armed guards. After six months, Rebeca's mother arranged a meeting with Itu Social Services, but failed to keep the appointment. After seven months, she contacted Itu Social Services posing as a lawyer, Araci Ferreira Alves Lopes de Oliveira, of São José dos Campos
São José dos Campos
São José dos Campos is a municipality and a major city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil and one of the most important industrial and research centers in Latin America. It is located in the Paraíba Valley, between the two most active production and consumption regions in the country, São Paulo ...

 in the state of Sao Paulo and told them, falsely, that Boyle was legally forbidden from entering Brazil and that any request for information needed to go through her, the lawyer. In May 2008, Martin received a response in the form of an official report from Itu Social Services relating the attempts they had made to locate Rebeca and what her parents and grandparents had told them. At the same time, Itu Social Services, in full knowledge of the background of Martin's desperate attempts to contact his daughter, stated in the report that Rebeca's mother had stated that Rebeca was happy with her new family andnew little brother, who she loved very much.When Martin contacted the lawyer named in the report, she denied all knowledge of Rebeca's mother, but said that a woman had approached her office several weeks earlier and had taken her card. The report was transmitted back to Martin through SESIRS and ISS UK. When ISS UK attempted to contact their correspondent in Brazil for further clarification, they were met with silence. Desperate, Martin flew to Brazil himself and was arrested at Guarulhos International Airport on a false charge of non-payment of child support and held in a 3m X 4m cell with 20 men for 15 days. While in prison, he was told that Rebeca had been fraudulently adopted by her stepfather Jose Augusto dos Santos Sa, of Sao Jose dos Campos, and that her birth certificate had been altered and his name removed. This was done on perjured evidence stating that Martin had disappeared and could not be found. When Martin finally returned to the UK, still with no idea where his daughter was because her mother and stepfather had been moving from address to address to avoid being located, he attempted to get ISS UK to report the matter to the Secretariat in Geneva, he was told that his case worker had left. As of June 2010, Martin has still been unable to locate or speak to his daughter, who has been told that he has disappeared and does not want to know her. All of his attempts to contact Rebeca's family go unanswered and ignored and his lawyer's attempts to have Mara Silvia Oliveira Rezende and Jose Augusto Dos Santos Sa summonsed for child abduction and fraudulent adoption have failed because of the connivance of Rebeca's grandparents and the Brazilian jeitinho
Jeitinho is an expression for the way of doing things by circumventing rules and social conventions. It is a typically Brazilian method of social navigation where an individual can use emotional resources , blackmail, family ties, promises, rewards or money to obtain favors or to get an...

. ISS UK claim to have been powerless to do anything, but at the same abandoned all sense of urgency and determination when it became clear that the Brazilian correspondent was unwilling to pursue the matter.
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