India is paying little attention towards the security of children and this country cannot be considered safe for a child. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reports that every year, 7,058 children are reported missing in Delhi. Delhi ranks second after Kolkata in this case.
An alarming point is that a majority of children are girls between aging between 12-19 years and they come from the marginalised communities (80 per cent) living in slum areas, according to the report by the Institute of Social Sciences (ISS). The situation is same in other parts of the country as well. Mumbai reports around 4,000 missing children while Hyderabad accounts for about 6,000.
Police machinery claims that it has been doing its best, but the fact remains that they haven’t done anything substantial to bring down the rate of missing children. The India that is developing economically has lost about one million children (according to figures released by an NGO) who are most likely being sexually abused, de-humanised, killed, maimed, trafficked and having their body parts sold without any mercy and compassion.
Child trafficking has always been a problem. Children are trafficked for several reasons, including sexual exploitation, adoption, entertainment and sports (for example, acrobatics in circus, dance troupes, as camel jockeys), marriage, labour, begging, drug peddling and smuggling.
Despite having laws, we are not able to curb the menace of children being kidnapped in the country. We need to improve the system. Children are our assets and we only do lip service to tackle this menace. Even when a report of a missing child is lodged with the police, it is treated as a minor offense.
When the parents report to the police for an FIR, it is often not even entertained. This might be because they belong to economically and socially weaker sections. Even if the cases are registered, they remain within the file forever.
If we don’t stand up for our children, we don’t stand for anything. The Nithari incident is still very fresh in our minds and all efforts should be directed to prevent the recurrence of the same. The Nithari case shows the larger malaise and a failure of the system to respond. It happened because the police failed at the first point of delivery of justice, the administration failed to deliver a just response thereafter and because society as a whole proved to be insensitive.