Fifty per cent of rescued missing children are girls, points out field data of Childline, a helpline which works under the aegis of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
“In the past five years, the number of girl children who go missing and who are rescued have been increasing,” said Jennifer Y, Childline co-ordinator of Bosco - the nodal agency for the Karnataka Missing Child Bureau.
Going by the data from our rescue operations, 50 per cent of the rescued missing children are girls, she says.
Between June 2011 and May 2012, as many as 799 children were rescued from the Bangalore City Railway station and bus depots by BOSCO Childline alone. There are other NGOs also who are part of the Childline network. The missing children data from various sources are collated by the Karnataka Missing Child Bureau which had received 5,294 complaints in 2011 and 2,592 children were rescued. Nagamani, Childline co-ordinator from Child Rights Trust - the state nodal organisation for Childline, said most missing girls are trafficked for sex, begging, child marriage or domestic work.
The others run away from home due to poverty, irresponsible parents, migration and incestuous sex abuse at home.
Jennifer said that these young girls are not aware of the real dangers of the street. Some of them leave their homes to elope with their lovers, who use them and leave them on the streets or sell them into the sex trade. This is a story we repeatedly hear from rescued girls, she added.
Most girls untraced
As per the combined data from the Karnataka Police and Women and Child Welfare Department, at least 22 women and girls go missing daily in Karnataka. Since 2009, 22,410 girls and women have gone missing in the state and 99 per cent of them remain untraced.