‘Missing children being exploited and trafficked’

Nearly 11 children go missing every hour in the country and majority of them are trafficked.

New Delhi: Nearly 11 children go missing
every hour in the country and majority of them are trafficked
for forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation, and drug
peddling, claims a new study by a rights NGO.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) said 1,17,480 children went
missing in 392 districts between January, 2008, to January,
2010, as per data collected from government agencies.

In its book `Missing Children of India`, the NGO said
it collected the data through RTI from 392 districts and said
these children are being trafficked and exploited.

"Police and law and enforcement agencies do not take such
cases seriously. There is dearth of agencies for collecting
and disseminating data on missing children," Sunil Krishna,
Director-General, National Human Rights Commission, said after
the study was released.

The BBA also launched a website where one can access
nationwide record and data about missing children.

In 2004-05, the NHRC reported that an estimated 44,000
children go missing every year with one-fourth of them
remaining untraced. The number has shown an increase of 32 per
cent over a period of seven years.

In 5 years, the number and the percentage of children who
missing and remain untraced shot up by more than 30 per cent,
the book said.

"If the average number of 150 reported missing children
per district (from available data) is extrapolated to all 640
districts in the country, the total number of missing children
in India every year would come to the tune of 96,000," the
report said.

According to the data obtained through RTI, 24,744
children have been reported missing from metros like New
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. Among the
Metros, Delhi tops the list with 12 per cent of total reported
missing children still untraced.

Each year 6,785 children disappear from Delhi with 850
remaining untraced. Out of the total untraced children from
these metro cities, Delhi and Kolkata alone constitute 89 per

Among 20 states and four Union Territories, Maharashtra
has highest number of children reported missing with 26,211,
followed by West Bengal (25,413), Delhi (13,570) and Madhya
Pradesh (12,777).

The report also highlights the plight of migrant families
residing in semi-urban areas, specially those close to the
state, district and international borders.

"Urban centres have high number of children reported
missing. Areas with better transport and communication
connectivity have high number of missing children. Also,
regions with migratory population like slums and families from
socially and economically poorer backgrounds form the majority
of victims," the report said.

The report has also laid down few guidelines and
recommendations to create awareness and find solutions to
increasing number of such cases.

P M Nair, ADG (Operations), CRPF said: "We are the part
of the system and need to take strong action collectively as
well as individually to solve the problem.

"It is the pull factor that is more potent in this
phenomena than the push factor. The children from poor
families are more vulnerable and need to be identified for

Justice Altamas Kabir, Supreme Court Judge and Executive
Chairperson of National Legal Services Authority said defining
the term `Missing Children` is difficult but not impossible.

"We propose a nationwide linkage of legal system to the
remotest part of the country in order to tackle the problem,"
he said and asked BBA to help solving the problem of missing


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