Monday, July 18, 2011

164 children go missing every day in India; activists blame government

New Delhi, Apr 1 : At least 164 children go missing every day in the country and are allegedly forced into various kinds of exploitation but the political will, needed to curb the menace, is missing, human rights activist Kailash Satyarthi said today.

"Parliament has brought a halt to various social ills but the matter of these 'nowhere children' is missing from the discussions.

Why don't Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj raise their voice against this?" Mr Satyarthi asked.

He added that though political leaders, including the Prime Minister, claimed to be concerned about these children, "their statements never translated into action".

"According to government figures, 60,000 children are reported missing annually with over 21,000 remaining untraced and the number is only rising. More than five children go missing from one area itself. What action has been taken in this regard?" Mr Satyarthi, also the founder of child rights NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), told UNI.

Referring to the situation in the national capital, the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children -- Global March Against Child Labour -- said more than 463 cases of missing children have so far been reported in just the first three months of 2011.

"These children have been kidnapped, lured, enticed and trafficked for the purpose of forced labour like child labour, bonded labour, forced begging, child prostitution, drug peddling and others," he said.

Under his leadership, the BBA along with a number of such parents who have been searching for their missing children for long, today held a march from Jantar Mantar to Parliament and submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Devisingh Patil for strict policy and action to protest and get back such children.

Mr Satrayarthi said a national task force must be established that could look into finding these children and punishing the culprits.

"Significant and 'clean' people from the judiciary, CBI and police should form a part of it," he added.

He said the existing anti-trafficking legislation in the country should be amended and all the cases of missing children must be registered and investigated.


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