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Delhi: Victims in over 40% kidnapping cases are 12-16 years old

delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2017 08:23 IST
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Shubhomoy Sikdar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In Delhi, children between the ages of 12 and 16 are most vulnerable to be abducted or kidnapped, according to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

In more than 40% of kidnapping and abduction cases in Delhi in 2016, the victims aged 12-16 years.

Waning parental influence to acute financial crunch forcing them to look for work or even love, the tendency of children of this age group made them more susceptible to leaving home and falling prey to abductors, according to investigators and experts.

As per the data, of the 6,982 persons who were allegedly abducted or kidnapped from the city, 3,002 (nearly 43%) were between the age of 12 and 16. Among them there were 1,752 girls and 1,250 were boys.

This is also the age group where more girls were abducted than boys. In cases of missing children aged between 6 and 12 and those younger than 6, boys were abducted/kidnapped more in comparison to girls — out of the 328 children below 6 years of age who went missing, 175 were boys and 158 were girls. Out of 994 missing children aged between 6 and 12 years, 353 were girls and 641 boys.

Amod Kanth, a former Delhi police officer who is now a child rights activist, said that at this age (12-16 years) a child is prone to sexual abuse which is why they can be kidnapped for trafficking. “A child at this age is also curious about sexuality and interacts with more people in his or her surrounding. So they come in contact with people who might abduct them. Also the parental influence is not as strong as for younger children,” said Kanth.

Delhi Police spokesperson Madhur Verma said that there are many cases where children run away from home because parents are not able to fulfil their basic needs. “So a child is forced to leave home and look for work, and sometimes, the workplace is away from home. Also in this category there are many cases of elopement where we have seen that a minor girl has either married an adult or someone her own age. So cases are registered but the issue becomes more complex,”said Verma.

He added that some cases are not actual abduction ones but the police had to register a case because the child was missing.

Asked if there were local factors involved in megacities like Delhi, Kanth said that transit was a big issue. Even young children have to travel a lot and hence are more likely to encounter strangers.

Rishi Kant from NGO Shakti Vahini, who has rescued hundreds of missing children, said that there have been many recent cases of young girls from Delhi who were trafficked to states like West Bengal to work in dance bars.

NCRB data for 2016 shows how Delhi continues to be the abduction Capital of the country with the city reporting the highest rate of this crime for the second consecutive year. However, the overall number of cases have come down by 1,000 than in 2015. Verma said that the Delhi Police and Union Home Ministry had, in the recent past, carried out awareness programmes in slums and vulnerable areas.

First Published: Dec 04, 2017 08:23 IST