An estimated 100,000 children go missing in the country every year, a vast majority of whom are sexually abused, which is one of the main reasons behind the pervasiveness of the “rape culture”, the Justice Verma panel has concluded.
The panel based its estimate on figures provided by the National Crime Records Bureau and NGOs. It pointed out that missing children become victims of human trafficking and sexual violence, often with police connivance.
It has recommended that the government conduct a census of missing children in all 629 districts of the country and added that it should be made mandatory for police to file an FIR when it receives any complaints about missing children.
Among examples cited by the panel is a case of Ganga (name changed), a minor girl, who was picked up from northeast.
Ganga was then trafficked to the Capital. “She was raped and sexually abused. Then, she was forced to do unpaid work as a maid and transported between Gurgaon, Delhi and Jalandhar since 2008,” the panel stated.
Ganga was among many minors who narrated their horrific tales of torture by organised gangs, placement agencies and even relatives prior to being rescued by women groups and NGOs.
The panel said the cases were alarming despite the fact that big states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar, along with Punjab and Jharkhand, did not provide the data for missing children.