ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Missing Children

The government does not have either a central or accurate database on missing children.

For several weeks, the media has relentlessly pursued the horrifying story of the battered two-year old Falak, who has suffered 50% brain damage and is fighting for her life in a Delhi hospital. The really scandalous aspect of this story is that Falak is just one of millions of Indian children who are officially “missing” but are in fact part of the well-oiled network of child trafficking.

The data on missing children varies with the source. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 10,760 children were kidnapped or abducted in 2010. However, the National Human Rights Commission estimates that over 44,000 children go missing every year. And the National Centre for Missing Children, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that has doggedly tracked information about these children from the authorities, puts the figure at 10 lakhs annually. The report Missing Children in India by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) covering just 392 districts found that 1,17,480 children were missing between January 2008 and January 2010. In fact, some of these voluntary bodies filed RTI applications with each police station in a district and found that the figure of the total number of missing children was substantially higher than that provided by the zonal police network. In 2006, the Delhi High Court was informed by the Central Bureau of Investigation that there were 815 gangs which abducted children and forced them into begging and prostitution. This figure, however, did not encompass the entire country since many states failed to provide information.

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