With Faridabad topping the list of districts with 65 missing children, Gurgaon is second and Sonipat is third with 34 children disappearing since January 2012. Another cause for concern is that the maximum number of missing children are in the age group of 13-16 years. A senior police officer said that out of the missing children, 21 are boys and the rest are girls. Most of them are from poor families. “Though the number of missing children is less as compared to the previous year, it is still alarming and the possibilities of trafficking cannot be ruled out,” he said.
Police sources admit that the city’s proximity to Delhi and Rajasthan borders makes it an ideal spot for trafficking of children. Sources also said that a few children have been recovered from adjoining districts or have returned by themselves.
“In Haryana, police do not file an FIR and at the same time many families, especially in the case of girls, do not report the matter to avoid social stigma associated with elopement of females,” said Rishi Kant, spokesperson of NGO Shakti Vahini, which runs Childline in Gurgaon. He also said after their campaigns Gurgaon police have started filing FIRs in child-related cases but there is still need for more awareness and sensitivity among cops. “There is immediate need for the police department and social organizations to strengthen their setups and work in convergence to curb the menace,” he said.
According to recent guidelines of the ministry of home affairs (MHA), cops should immediately file an FIR in the case of missing children and the matter should be taken on top priority. Apart from this, there is need to check illegal placement agencies which are rampant in Gurgaon as they lure poor families. Another social activist said, on condition of anonymity, that child trafficking cases were on the rise where minor victims were forced to work as domestic helps, labourers or sex workers and sometimes even forced into marriage. He said female foeticide and atrocities on women were the main causes for such a trend.