Bengaluru: The International Missing Children’s Day is observed on May 25 to encourage everyone to think about children who remain missing and to spread the message of hope. But the situation still remains disconcerting as the number of children who go missing keeps increasing.
The data from the Ministry of Home Affairs reveals that the number of untraced children increased by a shocking 84% in the last three years from 2013 to 2015. The total number of untraced children in 2015 was 62,988 as against 34,244 in 2013. According to estimates, 180 children go missing on an average every day. What is also alarming is that the number of untraced children keeps increasing every year.
“The reasons for so many children remaining untraced are many and need to be viewed with different perspectives,” said Ms Komal Ganotra, Director, Policy and Advocacy, CRY. “While we know missing children are often led to be a part of organised crimes, illegal child labour and trafficking, there needs to be a differential structure of investigation to track these children. A robust investigation mechanism with inter-state and inter-departmental coordination remains imperative,” she said.
She pointed out that a comprehensive database on missing children is yet to see the light of day. “Multiple delays at the level of reporting as well as investigation are the primary factors that weaken the chances of finding the lost child. In many cases, parents resort to finding the children themselves and turn to the police as the last resort. Apprehension over police reaction and fear of stigma often delay the filing of report, weakening chances of tracking missing children. In many instances, the police delay filing the FIR, affecting the investigation of cases,” she said.
“Prevention of these crimes needs as much investment as the investigation thereafter. Community-based child protection systems have to be in place to ensure prevention of such crimes. Village Protection Committees and panchayats can keep track of all children who leave villages for better prospects. At the urban level, the state should ensure sufficient daycare services for children with both parents working,” she said....