A deep net of organized crime being behind the tale of missing Indian children has been nixed by the Central Bureau of Investigation with identification of over 800 gangs engaged in trafficking of children.
Over 60,000 children went missing in India in 2009 as compared to 44,000 in 2004 as highlighted by Hindustan Times on February 21.
It was obvious when a girl went missing from Gaya in Bihar and was found six months later in a brothel in Pune. In another case, girls went missing from Sangam Vihar in south Delhi in 2009 to be found engaged in prostitution in Alwar, Rajasthan. A Sikh minor boy went missing from east Delhi to be found employed in a roadside eatery in Meerut.
The common link in all these cases was almost nil investigation by local police.
“In most cases investigation does not proceed much and most of the times parents have to find the kids themselves,” P M Nair, an Indian Police Service officer, said.
The involvement of gangs in abduction came on record when the Central Bureau of Investigation told Delhi high court in 2006 that there were 815 gangs comprising of 4289 members involved in kidnapping of children for prostitution, begging and ransom in India. This was despite several states failing to furnish information regarding involvement of such gangs in crime against children.
“It is just tip of an iceberg,” said Raj Mangal Prasad of NGO Pratidhi, which obtained this information through RTI.
This January, Delhi Police unearthed a racket of infants being sold for adoption in western suburb of Raghubir Nagar, over a year after local police was informed about the illegal trade by NGO organizations.
“The accused was called and let off. She kept quiet for six months and resumed selling of children for adoption,” said Rakesh Senger, secretary of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a NGO whose RTI applications revealed that 60,000 children went missing from India in 2009.
The BBA also found that there was huge discrepancy in crime against children revealed under the RTI and the data with the National Crime Records Bureau. For instance, in West Bengal, the NCRB reported 583 cases of crime against children in 2008 and 2009 whereas the information provided by the state police was of over 24,000 cases. Similar discord was reported from Maharashtra and Bihar.
Nair said there was total lack of seriousness in dealing with cases related to children. And, the reason according to Sathyarathi the reason was that most of the missing children are from the poorest strata of the society, whose parents have no political voice. “Unless the Supreme Court comes down heavily on the government the number of missing children in India will continue to increase,” Nair said.