UK: Mum's daring mission to rescue her children after their refugee father took them to war-torn Iraq.
A courageous British mum risked her life to rescue her children after they were abducted and held in Iraq for over two years.
Kerrie Shaw, 30, went through “absolute hell” on a string of treacherous trips to the war-ravaged country.
She was kidnapped herself and held for a month but bravely returned one more time – finally snatching her kids back as their Iraqi father and his family slept.
Kerrie, who ran up a £10,000 debt to pay for the five nerve-jangling trips, had to act alone after UK authorities told her they were powerless to help.
Kerrie met the childrens' father Akor Arf when he was a refugee (Image: Stan Kujawa)
She says: “It’s a miracle I managed to get my children home. I count my blessings every day.
“I lived every parent’s worst nightmare. I’d wake in the night kicking and screaming because my children weren’t there and I felt like I had nowhere to turn.
“I went through absolute hell but I’d do it again in a heartbeat for my babies. Any mum would.”
Kerrie tells her story for the first time as we reveal her children Daniella, now 13, and Makor, 12, are among 1,000 British child victims of parental abduction abroad every year.
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Kerrie’s agony started in 2010 when the children’s dad Akor Arf, 37, whisked them to his native country as she worked a shift in a chicken factory.
She was only 12 when she had met refugee Arf on the streets of Chatham, Kent, in 2000.
He was in his late teens and Kerrie, vulnerable and from a broken home, fell for him.
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Akor snatched Makor and Daniella and whisked them away
She agreed to marry him days after she turned 17, they moved to Hampshire and she became a mum soon after.
Kerrie says she had to work 12-hour days in the chicken factory to support the family while Arf lived off her wages.
But her world imploded in July 2010 when she got home to find the door on the latch and the children, then five and six, gone.
She recalls: “I knew something was horribly wrong and before long I was hysterical.
“It wasn’t until they arrived in Iraq the next day that he called me to tell me what he’d done.
“I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. I felt like part of me had been snatched away. It didn’t seem real.”
Desperate Kerrie says she called police, social services and the British Embassy in Iraq, but no one could help find her children.
Then Arf made contact by phone and told her she could only speak to the children if she sent money – “so I sent him every spare penny I had”.
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