Over 8,000 girls went missing in the state in 2011, and over 7,500 in 2010, on account of human trafficking, women legislators claimed in the legislative council on Wednesday.
They blamed faulty laws and lackadaisical attitude of the police for the alarming numbers.
In a question raised by BJP legislator and former minister Shobha Fadnavis in the legislative council, she said most of these girls are victims of trafficking.
“Around 350 girls are missing in Chandrapur alone. According to my information, there are agents who help kidnap these girls and sell them in states such as Haryana, MP and Rajasthan for Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 10,000,” she said.
Fadnavis said the main reason for this is that the law says any case related to a missing child can be registered only after 24 hours of the incident, and by the time the police investigate the case, the girls reach other states.
Minister of state for home Satej Patil admitted the situation was worrisome and said the 24-hour law will be changed to allow for immediate action in such cases.
“The groups involved in trafficking will be booked under the organised crime act if required. However, the police have been able to rescue at least 90% of these girls and have rehabilitated them,” he said.
NCP legislator Vidya Chavan said the police have a negative attitude in such cases.
“Parents are told that your daughter must have run away with someone, which is not a serious approach,” she said.
Shiv Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe pointed out the need for setting up special courts to hear human trafficking cases.
She added that the policemen, after receiving photographs of missing girls, should immediately send them to the nearest railway stations so that they can be tracked by the railway police.