BENGALURU: In an effort to rehabilitate missing children by March 2020, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) will release a standard operation procedure (SOP), detailing guidelines for all stakeholder departments and non-government organisations. In this regard, a missing children cell was formed two months ago. Initially, the cell was a result of a High Court direction to monitor an existing SOP, meant solely for police to handle missing complaints of children.
“However, after several discussions and meetings, we expanded the ambit of the cell this month. We realised that we need to monitor more than just the handling of police complaints. We need to create an SOP that would look into related aspects such as child sex abuse, trafficking, child labour, child marriage and more. For example, a child might have run away from home after being sexually abused by a parent or a family member. Merely reuniting found children with family would not be a solution in this case,” said Salma Sadhika, secretary, KSCPCR.
Missing, traced, and found cases of children are often linked to other issues. Such a child may have been trafficked or would have been exposed to the hazards of child labour, she explained. A mere police raid on a site where children are labourers would not suffice to rehabilitate the child.
Explaining this further she said, “Children may have run away from home to escape child marriage. In other cases, the marriage itself is a cover for child sex trafficking by the groom’s family. At times, the ‘found’ children are temporarily placed in government or NGO-run shelters. The cell will also study why we have not been able to curb child trafficking, why they have not been able to be repatriated, rehabilitated or reunited.”
The cell will monitor the existing SOP meant for police personnel when it comes to handling missing child cases. Preventive methods will also be studied by the cell, which consists of representatives from KSCPCR, Women and Child department, Child Welfare Committee, NGO BOSCO, NGO Justice and Care, police and the likes.