The FBI called her a "Kidnapper" But her kids called her a Hero
Holly Collins and her children fled abuse and became the first American Family to be granted Asylum by the Government of the Netherlands.
The feature, No Way Out But One is currently in post-production. It tells the story of Holly Collins and her children, who fled a life of domestic violence and abuse to become the first American Family ever to be granted asylum by the government of the Netherlands.
In 1994, Holly Collins became an international fugitive wanted by the FBI for kidnapping her own children. Holly had been ordered by a Family Court to turn her two children over to live – full time – with the father who had been abusing them all. Even though medical records showed a history of broken bones. Even though the father had previously been under a restraining order because of domestic abuse. This just didn’t matter to the court.
Like other moms before her, Holly simply could not bear the thought that her children were being sentenced to a life of abuse. So, Holly made a choice. She became a kidnapper. She grabbed her children and left behind everything they owned and everyone they knew. Just so they could be safe.
Holly and her kids eventually made it to Amsterdam where they became the first Americans to ever be granted asylum by the government of the Netherlands. Their lawyer, the renowned Dutch lawyer, Els Lucas, called Holly "a lioness" when it came to protecting her children.
Sixteen years have now passed in exile. Holly’s daughter Jennifer is now 24 and has "aged out" of court jurisdiction and so can travel and speak for herself. In 2008, she returned to the US to plead her mother’s case. She was quite effective. Holly’s pro-bono lawyer, Alan Rosenfeld, persuaded the Minnesota courts to finally listen to the victims. The children. All the serious charges against Holly were dropped – kidnapping, flight to avoid prosecution, interference with parental custody – all of it – except for one charge of contempt of court.
Holly pleaded guilty. She does indeed have a well-founded contempt for a system that does not listen to the children it is charged with protecting.
It is one of the greatest shames of the American Justice System that the Family Court system can refuse to consider medical evidence, it does not have a rational system for vetting expert testimony and it allows ex-parte hearings that can warp the entire process in an instant. The system in a word, is broken. It hurts children. And it’s time to fix it.
No Way Out But One is the first documentary to explore in depth a case of international kidnapping, however wrong it may be legally, how should such an act ultimately be judged when it is done to save children from abuse.
This is a film that will make some people angry simply because it attempts to tell the truth. With luck, it may even make people angry enough to change the system.
And consider this a spoiler alert. Ultimately, the Holly Collins story has a happy ending. Today Holly’s children thrive. They are healthy, successful, poised, and gracious. They look forward to returning to the United States with their mother, the woman they call their hero.