Section 215a was added to the Criminal Code in 2018 to criminalise the sending of children abroad in circumstances that put the child’s health or development at serious risk.
The first criminal case for violating the provision was brought by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Copenhagen Police at the Court of Glostrup. Here sat a 42-year-old woman and the guardian of a 15-year-old girl accused of leaving the girl with family in Uganda during a trip in September 2019.
The girl is a Danish citizen, grew up in Denmark, went to primary school and did not know herself that she was going to stay in Uganda. She was stripped of her passport and mobile phone and left without money or clothes by a family who could not support her, pay for her schooling and had difficulty talking to her.
Action by authorities
When the guardian returned home nine days after leaving home alone, Danish authorities became aware that the girl had been left behind in Uganda. With the help of the family in Uganda, a cross-cutting government effort with the municipality, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Copenhagen’s Vestegns Police sent the girl home to Denmark after a month.
Subsequent investigation led to further charges against the 42-year-old guardian for a year-long and regular violent abuse of the girl, which was among other things beaten with wires. The 42-year-old woman was also charged with beating her own three children for years.
In addition to the woman, the court convicted her 44-year-old husband of passively allowing the year-long mistreatment of the girl. He was also unpunished before, and was given six months of unconditional imprisonment and a two-year probation warning for deportation from Denmark. He was acquitted of contributing to Section 215a.
Source: “Danish” Police