When Hazel Chick’s Moroccan husband took their 18-month-old daughter Sanae to Morocco, the husband returned four weeks later and claimed that he had “given” the daughter away to his childless sister. Never did the husband talk to Hazel Chick nor did have a permission giving away their daughter to his sister. However, 50 years later, mother and daughter were reunited after Sanae found out the people who raised her were not her biological parents.
Hazel Chick lives in Birmingham, England, and suffers from Parkinson’s disease. The tormented mother said she cried for her daughter every night. But, as 50 years were such a long time ago, she didn’t disclose what legal recourse she took to get her daughter back.
Nevertheless, Sanae, who was snatched from her mother’s arms after her dad manipulated her mother into believing he was only taking her to Morocco to introduce their daughter to the rest of the family, led a very difficult life.
For 30 years, Sanae thought the people who were raising her were her parents. She was forced to leave School at the age of 11 and work at the home of the people she believed were her parents. Only at 19 years old, they married her off in an arranged marriage. However, even the arranged marriage was no refuge as Sanae found the man too controlling and worse, twice her age.
While Sanae and her mother finally reunited, the road to their reunion hasn’t been easy. Sanae remarried after divorcing her controlling ex-husband and moved to England with her family in search of her mother. However, she only discovered that her mother was English after a distant relative disclosed the secret. Thereafter she reached out to the British embassy in Rabat where they helped her trace her British birth certificate.
Recounting the horrible life she led in Morocco, Sanae said,
“I had a hard life in Morocco. My parents were very strict, especially my father. If you do something wrong, he’s going to beat you. I had to stay at home, doing the cleaning, the washing or sewing clothes.”
Despite regaining her British citizenship and moving back to England, it took Sanae 20 years of searching when she finally reunited with her mother with the help of Long-Lost Family, a British television series that helps reunite separated family members.
Though what happened to Sanae and her mother, Hazel Chick, is heart-wrenching, the case is similar to that of a Norwegian woman whose children were allegedly abducted by their Moroccan father.
In 2013, Khalid Skah, a Moroccan Olympic champion was arrested in Paris after a request by the Norwegian authorities who alleged that Khalid Skah abducted his children from their Norwegian mother.
Khalid Skah and his Norwegian ex-wife Anne Cecilie Hopstock were in a bitter custody battle when the children ran away and contacted the Norwegian Embassy for help. The Norwegian embassy smuggled the children out of the country with the help of off-duty Norwegian special forces commandos and reunited them with their mother.
Khalid Skah and his relatives protesting in front of the Norwegian embassy in Rabat
The actions of the Norwegian embassy officials escalated into a diplomatic row after the government of Morocco accused Norway of breaking the Vienna convention on diplomatic activity.
Like Sanae, Cecilie Hopstock’s children complained of not being allowed to live a normal life and go to school. It boggles the mind that husbands would abduct their children from their mothers and impose a life of pain and misery on them. I am glad that Hazel Chick won’t have to cry another night. At last, she is with her daughter and grandchildren.