BENGALURU: Alarming news comes from police records with 101 missing girls in Bengaluru remaining untraced since 2011.
Though Bengaluru girl Puujita who went missing was eventually found, her case brings sharp focus back on missing children.
As per the Bengaluru City Police records, 3,515 boys and 1,958 girls went missing from the city since 2011. Police have managed to trace 5,116 children of the total 5,473 missing cases but 356 children including 101 girls remain untraced since 2011.
However, the finding rate down the years shows some improvement. For instance, in 2011, 695 girls went missing, 655 were traced and 40 untraced while in 2014, 103 girls went missing, 90 were found and 13 untraced. In the previous years too, the numbers show a declining trend. In 2016 till August, however, 14 girls were reported missing, eight were found and six untraced.
Police records also show there is an overall decline in the number of missing children in the city — from 1,496 cases in 2011 to 576 in 2015. A senior police officer said this is because of awareness and enforcement. “Parents should also keep an eye on their children and also spend enough time with them. We are also taking steps to trace the remaining missing children,” he said.
Experts say peer pressure, elopement cases, academic pressure, losing their way, family circumstances and scolding by parents are the main reasons for runaway cases.
Matthew Thomas, executive director of Bangalore Oniyavara Seva Coota (BOSCO), said several missing cases go unreported. “Many affluent families still don’t register a police complaint for fear of social stigma. Family problems and inadequate time to spend with their children are the main reasons for children running away from houses,” he said.
BOSCO receives a majority of the runaway children in the city from Majestic (railway station and bus terminus), K R Market and other BMTC depots. Most of them come from poor families. Child trafficking continues to be prevalent in the city, said Thomas, adding, “Many of these racketeers promise these kids hefty salaries and a good life and make them work in hotels and small establishments.”