Child Trafficking Report 2016
In 2015, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recorded 7,928 children as missing in Delhi i.e. an average of 22 children per day. The database reflected that boys in the age bracket of 0-12 years and girls in the age bracket of 12-18 years dominated these missing children. Activists suggested that the most prevalent practice was to employ boys as child labourers in big cities while girls were forced into domestic work or the sex trade. In certain cases, girls were even sent to villages with poor sex ratios and forced to marry men twice their age.
In early 2016, the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi (DDC) conducted a detailed study of the existing approach of the Government agencies in dealing with the issue of child trafficking in Delhi. For primary research, in-depth interviews with the parents of several missing children were conducted. A visit to the juvenile home located in Alipur district was also organised to observe and connect with the resident children and the superintendent-in-charge. Discussions with Mr Arun Mathur (Chairperson, DCPCR), Mr Shashank Shekhar (Ex-Member, DCPCR), Mr Faizan Haider (Reporter, Hindustan Times) and representatives from 'Bachapan Bachao Andolan' were also conducted for further information. For secondary research, data collected from the NCRB, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights ('DCPCR') and several published news articles were analysed.
The key findings of the extensive primary and secondary research were as follows:
- A majority of the children who went missing belong to economically weaker sections of society.
- Among the underdeveloped areas, outer districts of the National Capital Territory reported a higher number of missing children.
- The first few hours after the child goes missing remain the most crucial, especially in a city like Delhi with porous borders.
- Despite having dedicated personnel at the police station, parents are often asked to return after 12 hours in case the child continues to be missing.
- Parents have to incur huge costs of advertisements in order to seek information for their missing children which becomes unsustainable after a point of time.
- The investigation undertaken by the Delhi Police for locating the missing children appears to be insufficient in most cases. Moreover, as most of the children belong to weaker and uneducated sections of society, much attention and interest are not shown by the Police.
- The helpline numbers are not publicised enough to catch the attention of the public/parents for using the same in an incident of a missing child.
- Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) do not take adequate steps to send missing children back to their homes.
On the basis of the above learnings, DDC made the following recommendations to the Department of Women and Child Development, GNCTD in June 2016:
- Quick Response Team: GNCTD may constitute a Quick Response Team which is available 24X7 so that parents of missing children may contact the concerned team immediately for better support.
- Dedicated Call Centers: The call centres may support the Quick Response Team with missing complaints and prompt relay of important information.
- Awareness & Publicity Drives: This would help take preventive action at the primary level itself to curb child trafficking in Delhi.
- Electronic Hoardings at Key Spots: Such hoardings could constantly publicise relevant details about the missing children so that parents don't have to bear advertisement costs to search for their missing children.
- Funding Advertising Costs relating to Missing Child: As the majority of the affected families belong to the economically weaker sections of society, this step would support the parents.
- Day Care Centers in High-Risk Areas and Construction Sites: Parents will be able to leave their children in such safe havens while at work.
- Installation of CCTV Cameras: CCTV Cameras would provide it with information for curbing and eliminating child trafficking in Delhi.
- Online Database of Juvenile Homes: Such a database will help send back children to their homes through better mapping.
- Improved Coordination between Inter-State Governmental Agencies
- Rehabilitation of Children found at Traffic Junctions and Other Places
- Better Coordination between CWCs and other sister agencies
- Evaluation of all functioning CWCs