Denmark: Kids abducted

With the summer almost over, classroom across the country will soon be filled again with children. But some students never show up after vacation. There are abducted to a land far away from Denmark or foced to be "re-educated" in the parents' homeland.

According to the Citizen's Service at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 54 children are currently abroad against their will. 42 of them had been abducted by one of their parents. This year 7 children had been abducted from Denmark.

12 children are thought to be sent to their parent's homeland to go to school or live by the family as a way of re-educating the children. There are cases that the Danish authorities are not aware of. The Citizen's Service first hears of children when the parents of the abducted kids ask for help to get their son or daughter back home. Or when the social authorities notice that the kids don't show up at school after the summer holiday. It also happens that the children themselves manage to contact the Danish embassy abroad.

Turkey is among the countries that has both abducted children and children who have been taken out of Danish schools in order to be re-educated at Turkish ones.

According to ambassador Kim Jørgensen there has been an increase in the number of hard consular cases, for instance child abductions, spouse dumping, forced marriages or re-education tours. There are 10-15 cases of this type a year, with child abductions being high on the list.

The increase, together with an increase in the total number of Danish tourists to Turkey means that the Danish embassy in Ankara has been assigned an extra worker.

Jørgensen doesn't know whether there really is an increase in the number of such cases, or is people are now more aware that the embassy can help them.

Most of the children who are abducted from Denmark, get to Turkey, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon or Somalia.

For example, a 45 year old father from Vollsmose traveled in mid-July to Syria with his two sons of 3 and 1.3 years.

The citizen's service helps first and foremost with finding the children, but also with getting a lawyer, managing with the authorities in the country in question, mediating between the parents and finally taking care of bring the children home.

But according to Uffe Wolffhechel of the Citizens' Service, many of these cases take a long time, and some do not get close to being solved before the child gets to the age of majority.

Source: Politiken (Danish)

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