There has been a gradual decline in the number of missing children traced by the police every year.
In 2008, the percentage of children who were found stood at 93% with 7% remaining untraced.
In 20102, the Delhi police managed to trace only 77% missing children; 23% remained untraced.
This year, 386 children have gone missing but most of them have remained untraced so far.
Data accessed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan from Delhi Police reveals that most of the children who remain untraced are from South, South-east and South-west Delhi. Of the total number of children missing, 215 are girls and 171 are boys.
“The data is quite shocking as on an average, 3 to 4 children remained untraced every day till last year. This year, the number of untraced children per day has gone up to six. Delhi Police need to look into these cases and investigate them thoroughly,” said Rakesh Sengar of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
“A number of these children might have been roped in by placement agencies for illegal employment. The labour department had refused to incorporate the provision for trafficking under the Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill, 2012, which would have taken care of this,” he added.
South-east Delhi has recorded the highest number of untraced children. The zone includes areas such as Sangam Vihar, Govindpuri, Badarpur, Madangir.
According to NGOs working for child rights, a number of these children whom the police failed to trace fall prey to traffickers.
A total of 62 children have remained untraced in southeast Delhi alone this year so far, followed by 58 children in Outer Delhi.
“We have a standard operating procedure in place in case a minor goes missing. We make all efforts to ensure the child is traced and so far we have not come across any organised gang,” said Rajan Bhagat, spokesperson of Delhi police.
“Police need to be more cautious when dealing with such issues as their small initiatives can save several children. At the same time, the community also needs to play an active role,” Rishikant of Shakti Vahini NGO said.
Delhi police have launched several initiatives to maintain a database of children residing in slums, resettlement colonies, and those belonging to BPL families.
One such scheme called ‘Pehchaan: Safeguarding the Childhood’ was launched a few years ago.