A total of 2,121 people (men and women) were kidnapped in the country in 2014, including 1,923 children below the age of 18. According to the national crime records bureau’s (NCRB) statistics released recently, 878 girls between 14 and 18 years of age were abducted, followed by 415 boys aged between 6 and 14 years.
The number of women kidnapped in the country last year (1,331) was significantly higher than the number of men (790). The Mumbai police said many are forced to beg or are forced into prostitution. Kidnapped children are often forced to work, the police said.
There are several such cases in the city. On January 16, 2014, a one-and-a-half-month-old girl was abducted from Girgaum Chowpatty, and a case of kidnapping was registered with the DB Marg police. The case, however, remains unsolved. The police said in some kidnapping cases, infants are sold to couples wishing to adopt.
Some racketeers do get caught. According to the police, in one of the recent cases, the Mumbai crime branch arrested four people, including a lawyer, for allegedly kidnapping two minor girls in 2013, from Vashi and Nerul. Officials said the accused planned to force the girls into prostitution once they grew up. Apart from these crimes, kidnapping also take place for extortion or to settle old disputes.
Former assistant commissioner of police Jaywant Hargude said prostitution cases were relatively less in Maharashtra, but more in states like West Bengal. He said sometimes, girls and boys below the age of 18 elope, and cases of kidnapping are registered by their parents.