The sad plight of India’s missing children…
Almost 60,000 children go missing every year in India and there are many factors at play for this dismal phenomenon. Many children flee from homes due to poverty or negligent and abusive parents, aggressive environment or physical abuse. Then there are kids who are abducted or trafficked to serve as live-in maids or as cheap labour in factories, shops and homes in India’s booming cities. Some children run away from homes after they are upset with their families, but on realising their mistake do not know as to how to get back home and end up getting into illegal activities.
The kids who land on the streets of cities, having no protection, are pushed into gang-run rackets like begging and thievery to survive. Others are subjected to sexual exploitation. Gradually the child gets addicted to street life with its freedom, non-supervision by elders, absence of studies etc. The longer a child stays on the street the greater will be the difficulty of rehabilitating him or her.
How can you help the missing kids or adults?
There are many ways in which each of us could help out in reuniting missing kids and adults with their families. As soon as you come to know of any missing person in your neighbourhood, you can help in getting the FIR registered with the nearest police station followed by submitting the photo and details of the missing person to the portals listed in Resources below.
On the other hand, when you encounter a runaway child at busy junctions, bus stops, markets, temples or under flyovers try to speak to the child to find out more about him or her. If the child is interested to return to the family, contact ChildLine helpline or local police who will help in repatriation of the child to the family. If the child is unable to recollect names of parents, hometown etc, the photo can be published in the portals like Khoya-Paya. If you do not wish to do this on your own, get in touch with child activists or organizations like Bachpan Bachao Andolan.