GOLD Coast father George Obiso is one of hundreds of Australians left suffering from a silent epidemic called parental abduction.
In the past few years, almost 1000 children have been kidnapped by their mothers or fathers, many of whom disappear overseas.
Australia now has the world's highest rate of these heart-wrenching abductions.
Six months ago, Mr Obiso's sons were taken by their mother and moved to a secret location in Japan.
Every day the 39-year-old IT expert contacts the Australian Federal Police and legal experts in a desperate bid to find his boys.
He's spent $50,000 trying to locate his children Anthony, 8, and Jorge, 5, but his story hasn't appeared on the news or sparked a national alert.
"The boy's mother stole them and took them out of the country," Mr Obiso said.
"She kidnapped them and disappeared in Japan but no one wants to know. I'm living in hell because I can't find my boys and even the police can't help me."
Mr Obiso is one of hundreds of Australians who lose their children to parental abductions every year.
Family Court of Australia figures show at least 905 have been kidnapped since January 2001.
In 2003-2004 more than 285 children were taken in Australia.
Some parents simply take their children and disappear. Many head to countries where child abduction laws are sketchy or non-existent.
Parents left in Australia endure months of legal action. Then, after weeks without their children, they are handed a Recovery Order giving them the right to retrieve their children, and are left to sort it out.
"I cry every day but struggle to keep working so I can fund the search for my sons," Mr Obiso said.
"I am going out of my mind with worry and sadness but all I have is a piece of paper that says if I find my kids I can bring them home."
Mr Obiso said the phone numbers his ex-wife Sachi Shimada provided have been disconnected.
He said relatives in Yokohama, where Ms Shimada took the boys to attend a wedding, no longer answer Mr Obiso's calls.
He hasn't heard a thing since his lawyer contacted Ms Shimada on February 13.
There have been no attempts to reclaim the $20,000 and a 2001 Toyota Corolla she left with the Brisbane Family Court as a bond.
"I told them she wouldn't come back and begged them to let her take just one of the boys so she would have to return," Mr Obiso said.
"But she left the car and some money and was allowed to go.
"So it doesn't cost much to buy two children these days."
Founder of Hug Ur (pronounced "your") Kids Organisation Geoff Day said hundreds of parents a year found themselves powerless to retrieve abducted children.
In the last year alone Mr Day, who hires investigators to retrieve children, has received more than 300 calls from Australians who believe their offspring have been taken interstate or overseas.
The 39-year-old former nurse, who created Hug Ur after his ex-wife's children from another marriage were kidnapped and taken to Malaysia, said it cost parents $50,000 to $200,000 to retrieve their children.
An Australian Federal Police spokesman said officers worked with family law courts and state police to try to find missing children.
"The AFP investigates matters that are subject to the Family Court Recovery Orders," the spokesman said.
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