While the number of children that go missing in the city each year in Delhi has been reducing, the capital still has the highest number of children that remain untraced.
According to a report released by the Alliance for People’s Rights (APR) and Child Rights and You (CRY), 17 children went missing every day in Delhi in 2017. The report also states that of the 26,761 children that went missing from Delhi between January 2012 and March 2017, 63.65% have still not been traced.
As compared to the four other states where the number of children that go missing is the highest, Delhi fares the worst in terms of tracing them. In West Bengal 15.03% remain untraced; 23.4% in Madhya Pradesh; 45.20% in Uttar Pradesh and 42.72% in Gujarat. The report, called ‘Missing Children In Delhi 2018’, has been compiled using data from NCRB reports and that from RTIs. According to the data, the number of children that go missing from the city has been reducing since 2013. In 2016, an average of 19 children were reported missing every day. This figure was 22 in 2015.
Of the missing children, girls outnumber boys significantly. In 2017, 3,915 girls went missing, while 2,435 boys were reported missing the same year. The gender disparity is especially stark in the 12 to 18 age group, where 1,665 boys and 3,536 girls were reported missing.
According to the report, the data points “towards the trafficking of minor girls due to various reasons. Also, the phenomenon of elopement cannot be ignored but there is no record available… to establish any argument with missing girls and elopement. On the contradictory… there are very few cases of child marriage registered in Delhi.”
The report also criticises the Delhi Police for “apathy” and inaction in a number of cases. “There is no wide-scale research or comprehensive analysis of missing children with an aim to tackle and deal with the problem in Delhi,” the report states.
At a panel discussion where the report was discussed, DCP (Crime Branch), Joy Tirkey, said that the soon-to-be-launched facial recognition system will go a long way in tracing missing children.