‘A child goes missing in India every eight minutes’
eight minutes, a child goes missing in India. According to the annual National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) “Crime in India” 2019 report, a total of 73,138 children were reported missing last year. The report also states that the number of missing children has increased by 8.9% in 2019. In 2018, the number of missing children was 67,134. A total of 71,253 children were recovered.
It is frightening that these millions of missing children end up in forced labour, slavery and sex work and sadly, this has turned into a lucrative business.
According to the Delhi government’s missing child web portal, in the last one month, 328 children went missing, whereas 376 have been recovered by the police during the same period.
Earlier this year, to improve their missing child tracking record, Delhi Police had prepared a blueprint for giving rewards or promotions to policemen if they traced such children early. According to the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights’ Quarterly Performance Report, in the last three months, the Commission has issued notice to Delhi Police in 850 cases to trace these children on top priority.
Dr Eish Singhal, DCP, New Delhi, told The Sunday Guardian: “Our scheme of rewarding cops for tracking missing children is helpful. We also have prompt registration for such children just like in rape cases.”
The coronavirus pandemic has also worsened the situation. According to DCPCR, traffickers have been targeting poor families in states like Bihar and persuading family members to send their children on the pretext of giving employment. Amod K. Kanth, a social activist and founder of NGO Prayas, told The Sunday Guardian that due to this pandemic, the cases of missing children have drastically increased.