Delhi worst in India at finding its missing children, 6 out of 10 are never traced
Delhi’s record of tracing its missing children is the worst in the country, according to data tabled in Parliament. Across the country, 30% of the children remained untraceable in the last five years but in Delhi — the number was the highest — 63%.delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2017 10:55 IST
Delhi’s record of tracing its missing children is the worst in the country, according to data tabled in Parliament.
As per a reply submitted by the minister of state for ministry of women and child development Krishna Raj, out of 2,42,938 children reported missing across India between January 1, 2012, and March 20, 2017, only 1,70,173 could be traced. The details were also uploaded on TrackChild portal.
The data revealed that 26,761 children have gone missing in Delhi in the last five years and only 9,727 could be traced. Across the country, 30% of the children remained untraceable but in Delhi — the number was the highest — 63%.
“The ministry is implementing a centrally sponsored Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) for the improvement of the well-being of children in difficult circumstances. Under ICPS, financial assistance is provided to the states/UTs for, inter-alia, undertaking a situational analysis of children in difficult circumstances for setting up and maintenance of various types of homes including Children Homes and Specialised Adoption Agencies,” she said in the reply.
Some of the reasons behind cases of missing children could be kidnapping, abduction, trafficking, illegal adoption, runaway children, displacement in natural calamities, the minister said in her reply.
According to NGOs such as Bachpan Bachao Andolan, Delhi is fast emerging as the hub of children trafficking and gangs mostly target children from lower income groups as both parents go out to work, leaving the minors alone and vulnerable.
Activists say that most of the missing children are trafficked by organised gangs which push them into a life of bonded labour in big cities or in Gulf countries. Girls are mostly forced into prostitution, many of them sent to villages with poor sex ratio and married off to men twice their age.
According to Delhi Police, its priority is to trace the children who are aged below seven and after that, they move to looking for the higher age group.
“Every year, we launch a special drive to trace missing children. We put the children aged below seven years on a higher priority since they cannot identify the address or parents. Children above that age can tell others about the family and can be reunited,” Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said.
“Our recovery rate is higher if the children are younger but it decreases with age as many of them go out of Delhi on their own and do not want to return. We do make efforts to trace them and check from time to time whether any organised gang is operating in Delhi,” Verma added.
However, the data shows, the number of cases of human trafficking have gone down in the past three years but the conviction in child labour cases is also very less.
Police said that they have special units in every district and have anti-human trafficking unit (AHTU) under the crime branch.
The number of cases registered under human trafficking has gone down from 200 in 2014 to 177 in 2015 and then 71 in 2016. In case of child labour, total 211 inspections have been carried out in Delhi and only 312 prosecutions launched and only 94 could be convicted.
“Our team keeps a constant watch on red light areas and we focus a lot on public awareness. In this and child labour cases, we get a lot of help from NGOs,” Verma added.