‘A child goes miss­ing in In­dia ev­ery eight min­utes’

The Sunday Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - SUSHMITA PANDA NEW DELHI

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.

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