Cops yet to trace 38 chil­dren who went miss­ing last year

Out of 314 chil­dren, who went miss­ing from the city last year, 276 were found

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUM­BAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­

NAVI MUM­BAI: The city po­lice are clue­less around 38 chil­dren who went miss­ing from the city in 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources from the Navi Mum­bai crime branch, as many as 314 chil­dren went miss­ing from the city last year.

The po­lice traced 276 chil­dren. The par­ents of the re­main­ing 38 kids are still wait­ing for good news from the po­lice.

In 2014, a to­tal of 469 chil­dren went miss­ing from the satel­lite city, of which, 406 were traced ei­ther by the po­lice or their par­ents.

“The is­sue of miss­ing chil­dren in Navi Mum­bai has been a se­ri­ous one. Last year, two chil­dren from the city were kid­napped and mur­dered ei­ther by their rel­a­tives or fam­ily friends. The pro­tec­tion of chil­dren has been a huge chal­lenge for ev­ery­one,” said Ma­hesh Shinde, 41, an ac­tivist from San­pada.

“Girls from var­i­ous places are taken to the big­ger cities and pushed into flesh trade. The pos­si­bil­ity can­not be ruled out that the teenage girls who go miss­ing from the city and be­ing forced into pros­ti­tu­tion at some other places,” he added.

He­mant Sharma, 45, so­cial le­gal head of Sa­hayak NGO cited a case in which chil­dren were kid­napped for child­less cou­ple.

“In Jan­uary last year, the Mum­bai crime branch res­cued two girls from Uran who had been kid­napped from Vashi and Nerul in 2013 by three peo­ple at the be­hest of a cou­ple who did not have any kids. The ac­cused had got Rs2 lakh for kid­nap­ping the girls and they were ar­rested,” Sharma said.

“We have come across sev­eral cases in which kids were kid­napped and sent to other cities to work as do­mes­tic help. The po­lice should try to find out if miss­ing chil­dren are fall­ing prey to some beg­ging rack­ets,” he added.

The po­lice, how­ever, said that they are tak­ing ev­ery pos­si­ble step to trace as many miss­ing chil­dren as pos­si­ble.

“We are tak­ing dif­fer­ent ini­tia­tives for trac­ing the miss­ing kids. Un­der Oper­a­tion Smile 1 in June last year, we res­cued around 46 chil­dren (18 boys and 28 girls) from dif­fer­ent places of the state. Like­wise un­der Oper­a­tion Smile 2 in Jan­uary, we res­cued 39 chil­dren (12 boys and 39 girls),” said Dilip Sawant, deputy com­mis­sioner of po­lice.

He said that the po­lice would step up ef­forts so that par­ents get back the miss­ing chil­dren.

“Our of­fi­cials from an­ti­hu­man traf­fick­ing cell are also reg­u­larly vis­it­ing the or­phan­ages, chil­dren homes and ashrams where they may find clues of miss­ing chil­dren,” he added.

Asked about the beg­ging rack­ets in the city, an­other se­nior of­fi­cer said, “We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter and if ev­i­dences are found, we will take strict ac­tion against the cul­prits.”

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