Missing children in India
Some basic facts
|Average number of missing children(between 2011 and 2014)||1 lakh/year|
|Missing and untraced children||Increased by around 84 per cent between 2013 and 2015|
|Most cases recorded in||Delhi and Maharashtra|
|Daily average of missing children||180 children/day|
|Total number of untraced children (2013)||34,244
|Total number of untraced children (2015)||62,988|
|Total number of untraced children (Maharashtra)||9,414|
|Total number of untraced children (Delhi)||9,001|
|Sex ratio of missing children (Girls : boys)||Almost 2:1|
Reasons of rising numbers of missing children
- According to the UN office for Drugs and Crime, South Asia, with India at its centre, is the fastest growing region for human trafficking in the world.
- Of the atleast 67000 children, who went missing, between 2013 and 2014, 45 percent were minors, victims of trafficking for prostitution.
- Other purpose of trafficking, which has been found are:-
- o Forced marriage
- o Child labor
- o Procuration of minors as domestic help
- o Sexual exploitation
- In March 2016, a large number of minor girls were rescued from domestic servitude.
- In 2015, 147 minor girls were rescued from domestic servitude, with the largest number from Madhya Pradesh.
- Thriving numbers of trafficking syndicates in India.
Some of the challenges
Majority of trafficking victims are not included in missing cases nor is there any official record.
A study by BachpanBachaoAndolan has stated that the numbers of missing children are as much as 10 times more than what is stated in their findings and research.
Delays in reporting and investigation
In many cases parents resort to fact finding themselves and turn to police as the last resort.
Reasons behind majority of missing children are still unknown. Most predominant cause identified by NCRB for that was labelled as “other reasons”.
Causes behind missing children differs state to state, there is yet no studies on the state specific reasons.
Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016’
Its main purposes are to unify existing anti-trafficking laws
Main provisions of the bill are:-
- Bill makes clear the distinction between the ‘trafficker’ and the ‘trafficked’.
- It also envisages creation of a fund for rehabilitation of victims of trafficking.
- Anti-Trafficking bodies will be constituted at the district, state and central level.
- Protection homes in every district will provide immediate care and protection to victims, in the form of shelter, food and medical care.
- Scheme for the integration of the trafficked will be formulated by the government.
- The draft Bill has taken into account the various aspects of trafficking:-
- Penal provisions for the disclosure of identity of the victim of trafficking and witness
- Use of narcotic drug or psychotropic substance or alcohol for the purpose of trafficking
- Use of chemical substance or hormones for the purpose of exploitation
- Penalties have also been defined when the identity of a victim is disclosed by any print or audio-visual media, and protection and shelter homes are not registered.
- A special agency will be constituted for investigation of offences. A Session’s Court in each district will be specified as a Special Court.
- There is a proposal for new fund for the welfare and rehabilitation of victims .
Criticisms of the bill
- Bill was unclear about which authority will plan rehabilitation.
- Under the bill, victims will be only given tests for AIDS, STDs and a general health state, while according to some studies high proportion of victims suffer from dysthymia.
- Provision of after-care or assistance in integration into society only applies to victims in the shelter home, and does not mention the survivors who escape on their own.
- There is no clarity on the fund about what would be the amount, who will manage it.
- This issue has not received the deserved attention so this issue needs to be made a “priority issue” by all stakeholders, especially the law enforcement agencies.
- Building a Strong, well-coordinated platform for the rescue of missing children.
- Sound rehabilitation measures need to be in place as well for the well-being and protection of rescued children.
- Need more stringent provisions for the rescue of the missing children.
- More research is needed in the state specific causes.
- Problem of trafficking should be dealt strongly.
- A specialized agency should be created specifically for the cases of child trafficking.
- NCRB should establish a National Tracking System that would encompass the grass-root level in locating and tracing missing children.
- There is a need to establish a Child Helpline through NGOs/PRIs/other agencies with adequate support from Government in all the districts