Around this time in 2012, the issue of child trafficking was in limelight due to the case of the battered child and her 14-year-old ‘guardian’. The teen was treated as a victim when it came to light that she was raped and her father used to beat her up. A year on, various gangs continue to smuggle in young girls to the Capital and force them to work for various placement agencies. “The case was an eye-opener. The chain of events that had led to the incident was shocking. Along with the 14-year-old girl, the mother of the baby too was a victim of trafficking,” a child right activist said.
Following the incident, the Delhi Police launched a massive crackdown on placement agencies and trafficking gangs. Over 1,000 children were rescued in 2012 and action was taken against more than 150 placement agencies. The rescued children were usually employed as workers in factories or as domestic helps in homes.
“On an average, 14 children go missing in Delhi every day. Many of them end up in traffickers’ hands. Children below eight years are forced into begging. The older ones are pushed into child labour. Organised gangs kidnap minors and transport them to other cities,” said Rakesh Senger, national secretary of Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO.
Sources in Delhi Police said special measures were being taken to curb the problem. “We have identified the areas from where children go missing. We will soon launch an awareness programme to educate parents about safeguarding their children. We take missing persons’ complaints very seriously now,” said a senior police officer.
Rishikant, executive director of NGO Shakti Vahini, said strict laws against trafficking could act as a deterrent.