Danes slammed with smuggling charges after giving migrants a lift to Sweden
Apr 28, 2016 02:32 AM EDT
Denmark's humanitarian credentials are once again being questioned after pressing smuggling charges for the people who gave migrants a ride to its neighboring country, Sweden. The former country has already been under fire for ordering the police to seize jewelry from asylum-seekers.
According to Associated Press, Denmark's public prosecutor's office has filed charges against 230 people for helping people to transit through the country illegally at the peak of Europe crisis last fall. Prosecutors indicated that the Danish trafficking laws do not distinguish smuggling people for financial gain and humanitarian aspect.
However, critics of the law said going after the Danes who were touched by the image of exhausted migrants walking along Danish highways is shameful. Calle Vangstrup, who helped 20 Syrians pass between Denmark and Sweden said "This is far away from the idea I had of our society, a humane society where we care about others."
Yahoo reported that under European Union border agreements, Danish authorities were supposed to stop the migrants at the southern border with Germany and ask them to seek asylum in Denmark or turn back. The Danish police tried to do that but as they increase in number, they later on decided to let them travel to Sweden. Now, many of the volunteers who offered migrants a ride by car or boat feel it's unfair that they are being punished since the railroad company also did the same.
ABC News said that Denmark's justice and integration ministers didn't respond for requests of their comments. Michela Bendixen, head of Refugees Welcome volunteer group, expressed that she was stunned by the Denmark's pursuit to those who gave them a lift.
She said "I find authorities have taken a very stringent and much harsher approach than I ever could have imagined. We are not talking about people-smugglers who do it to make money but private people who act for humanitarian reasons."
Earlier this year, Denmark has notably made it into international headlines after they required asylum-seekers to hand over valuables worth more than 10,000 kroner or $1,500 to help cover housing and food costs. Though the government defended the law they've passed, critics see it as something degrading and inhumane.