With the identification of over 800 gangs engaged in child trafficking, a nexus of organised crime has been unearthed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Over 60,000 children went missing in India in 2009 compared to 44,000 in 2004, as highlighted by HT on February 21.
A number of such cases have come to light.
A girl, who went missing from Gaya in Bihar, was traced six months later to a brothel in Pune.
In another case, girls went missing from Sangam Vihar in south Delhi in 2009 were later found engaged in prostitution at Alwar, in Rajasthan.
A Sikh minor boy went missing from east Delhi was found employed at a roadside eatery in Meerut.
The common link in all these cases was nil investigation by the local police.
"In most cases, investigation does not proceed much and most of the times parents have to find the kids themselves," PM Nair, an Indian Police Service officer, said.
The involvement of gangs in abduction of children came on record when the CBI told the Delhi high court in 2006 that there were 815 gangs comprising 4,289 members involved in kidnapping of children for prostitution, begging and ransom in India.
This was despite several states failing to furnish information regarding involvement of such gangs in crime against children.
"It is just tip of an iceberg," said Raj Mangal Prasad of NGO Pratidhi, which obtained this information through RTI.
This January, the Delhi Police unearthed a racket of infants being sold for adoption in western suburb of Raghubir Nagar, over a year after the local police was informed about the illegal trade by NGOs.
"The accused was called and let off. She kept quiet for six months and resumed selling of children for adoption," said Rakesh Senger, secretary of Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), a NGO whose RTI applications revealed that 60,000 children went missing from India in 2009.
The BBA also found there was huge discrepancy in crime against children, as revealed under the RTI and the data with the National Crime Records Bureau.
For instance, in West Bengal, the NCRB reported 583 cases of crime against children in 2008 and 2009 whereas the information provided by the state police was of over 24,000 cases.
Similar discord was reported from Maharashtra and Bihar.