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A breakthrough for child safety net in India


Missing Children:Who Cares?


CONTENTS Foreword

v

Message from Childline

vi

Message from the Parents of a Missing Child

vii

Acknowledgement

viii

List of Abbreviations

ix

Preamble

xi

Executive Summary

xiii

Part One – Conceptualization of Missing Children 1.

Defining a Missing Child

2

2.

Age of the Child in Indian Laws and Missing Child

4

3.

Nature and Extent of the Problem

6

3.1 Push Factors

6

3.2 Pull Factors

7

3.3 Reasons for Disappearance of Children

7

3.4 Data on Missing Children in India & Data Analysis

7

4.

Missing Child and Trafficking of Children

13

4.1 Different Forms and Purposes of Child Trafficking

14

4.2 Indian Penal Code, 1860, on Child Trafficking

15

4.3 Legal Provisions in the cases of Missed or Trafficked

16

4.4 Unresolved Issues

19

Part Two – International & National Protocol on Missing Children 5.

Guiding Principles regarding Missing Children

22

6.

International Mechanisms on Missing Children

23

6.1 Universal Declaration on Human Rights

23

6.2 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

23

6.3 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

23

Indian Court Judgements and Missing Children

25

7.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

8.

Missing Child and Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Model Juvenile Justice Rules, 2007

29

8.1 C  hild in Need of Care & Protection (CNCP) 8.1.1 Child Welfare Committee (CWC)

29 30

8.2 Juvenile in Conflict With the Law 8.2.1 Juvenile Justice Board (JJB)

33 33

8.3 Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU)

35

8.4 Procedure to be adopted in case of different categories of children

36

Part Three – Interventions on Missing Children 9.

10.

11.

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Interventions of the Government of India

40

9.1 Legislations

40

9.2 Judicial Interventions

40

9.3 Ministry of Home Affairs

41

9.4 Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)

41

9.5 Ministry of Labour and Employment

42

9.6 Department of Education

43

9.7 Ministry of Railways

44

9.8 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

44

9.9 Ministry of Rural Development

44

9.10 Ministry of Law and Justice

45

9.11 Ministry of Panchayati Raj

45

Interventions of State Government

46

10.1 Maharashtra

46

10.2 West Bengal

46

10.3 Madhya Pradesh

47

10.4 Delhi

47

10.5 Andhra Pradesh

48

10.6 Assam

49

10.7 Specific Interventions by State Governments

49

Initiatives of NGOs

52

11.1 Action against Trafficking & Sexual Exploitation of Children (ATSEC)

52

11.2 Bachpan Bachao Andolan

52


12.

11.3 Childline India Foundation

53

11.4 Don Bosco YaR Forum

53

11.5 Impluse NGO Network

54

11.6 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

54

11.7 Prerana

54

11.8 Save the Children India

55

11.9 Shakti Vahini

55

11.10 STOP

56

Critical Analysis of the Interventions

57

12.1 Limitations at National Level

57

12.2 Limitations at State Level

59

12.3 Gaps Experienced by NGOs

60

12.4 Recommendations

61

12.4.1 Recommendations to Government Bodies

61

12.4.1.1 Legislative Body

62

12.4.1.2 Ministry of Home Affairs

62

12.4.1.3 Ministry of Women and Children Development

63

12.4.1.4 Ministry of Labour and Employment

64

12.4.1.5 Department of Education

65

12.4.1.6 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

66

12.4.1.7 Ministry of Panchayati Raj

66

12.4.1.8 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

67

12.4.1.9 Ministry of Urban Development

68

12.4.1.10 Ministry of Rural Development

68

12.4.1.11 Ministry of Agriculture

68

12.4.1.12 Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution System

69

12.4.2 Recommendations to NGOs

69

Part Four – The Road Ahead 13.

Child Tracking System

72

14.

Imperative Stakeholders and their Functions

73

14.1 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

15.

16.

14.2 State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR)

74

14.3 Central Project Support Unit (CPSU)

74

14.4 State Project Support Unit (SPSU)

75

14.5 State Child Protection Society (SCPC)

75

14.6 District Child Protection Unit (DCPU)

75

14.7 District Child Protection Committee (DCPC)

76

14.8 CHILDLINE Services

76

14.9 Block Child Protection Committee (BCPC)

77

14.10 Village Child Protection Committee (VCPC)

77

14.11 Gram Panchayat

77

Prime Stakeholder: Family/Parents

79

15.1 Tips for Parents to help their Children Stay Safe

80

15.2 Rules for Younger Children

80

15.3 Rules for Older Children

81

Child Safety Net

83

16.1 Missing Child Bureau (MCB)

83

16.2 Caring Communities

87

17.

Safety Net for Children in India

89

17.1 National Task Force against Trafficked/Missed Children in India

90

17.2 Top-Down Approach

91

17.3 Bottom-Up Approach

91

Conclusion

Annexures

93

Annexure – I

Categories of Missing Children

95

Annexure – II

NCRB Data on Missing Children

97

Annexure – III

L.S.U.S.Q. No. 314 for 6.8.2013

102

Annexure – IV

Guiding Principles

108

Annexure – V

Homelink Network - Statistical Analysis

109

Annexure – VI

Advisory on missing children issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India dated 31.01.2012 111

Annexure – VII

Child Tracking System

116

Annexure – VIII NCPCR Letter to SCPCRs

117

Annexure – IX

121

iv

NHRC Committee’s recommendations/suggestions


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Missing Children:Who Cares?

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Message from the Parents of a Missing Child What do parents of a missing child go through? How do they cope? When Fr. Joe Prabu asked us* as parents of a missing child to pen our thoughts and feelings, we knew it would be very difficult, as we are constantly trying to subdue the anguished reality. On the morning of October 24th 2013, our 17 year old son, who had gone to the neighboring apartment block (which is a VVIP area in the heart of New Delhi), did not return. As he was not carrying his mobile, our initial reaction was that he may have got delayed and would get back home by the evening. Once, the FIR was filed late in the evening, our reaction was to check hospitals and for unidentified bodies, just in case ….. The Police investigation is lackadaisical and goes by the rule book. It hinges on the belief that all such cases will solve itself in three days or else latest by five days and News – good or bad will come to them. Good news is when, runaways return on their own or land up in the house of friends or relatives. If a child is kidnapped, there is of course a ransom call. And the bad news is the recovery of a body. The rest is what remains as “unsolved” statistics in their case files. More than five months later we have no clue about our son’s whereabouts. We do not know if he is alive or dead or in the hands of unscrupulous elements. Besides his circle of friends, ads in newspapers and wide publicity on the social media, we hacked our son’s email and facebook accounts and analyzed his mobile records, in the hope of finding some clue, but to no avail. Well-wishers came up with different suggestions including faith healers and mystics with paranormal powers. Horoscopes were also dug out. All predictions are vague but in retrospect have helped us pass our days in hope. Besides a very apathetic police, there is also no real system in the country to track down missing persons/children or to collate and cross check missing persons data in different police stations. The numbers are too huge for anyone to bother. The unsolved cases of 36,000 unidentified bodies a year from different parts of the country, quoted by the National Crime Records Bureau is a nightmare. When faced with problems that are beyond us, one turns to Prayer. It is said, that the ways of the Lord are mysterious. What He has in store for us, only time will tell.

*At the request of the parents this message is kept anonymous and with their permission it is published.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Acknowledgement This book that brings together in one handy manual a variety of resources and materials on the question of missing childrenin India and related issueswould not have been possible without the support of various Government Ministries and Departments and many committed NGOs who have contributed extremely useful and crucial materials.I acknowledge with gratitude their valuable support and contributions. I would like to particularly thank Mrs. Kushal Singh, the chairperson of NCPCR, for writing the foreword and Ms. Ingrid Srikanth, the Executive Director of Childline India Foundation, for her incisive message and the “anonymous parents” for scripting a painful but touching message that you will find at the beginning of this book. I am grateful to Ms. Momee Pegu, the National Coordinator of Homelink / Missing Child Search Network and Mr. Ayush Gupta, the intern from New Law College, Pune, who worked hard to collect a large amount of resource materials and compiled the first draft. Later Mr. Vipin Bhatt contributed further materials from various resources. I am indebted to Sr. Mary KD for compiling and collating additional materials from numerous internet sources. I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to Fr. Louis Kumpiluvelil SDB and Fr. Glenford Lowe SDB for their detailed editing and valuable contribution. Indeed I am grateful to Fr. Maria Charles SDB for his encouragement and guidance for the systematic layout of this book. I owe a word of ‘thanks’ to Fr. George Kollashany, who initiated Homelink Network for missing children search and Fr. Mathew Thomas for his support and leadership in YaR Forum India. With grateful hearts I express my gratitude to all YaR Forum Staff members. A number of people reviewed the draft document and sent in their profound comments and suggestions. I have considered their opinions constructively in this book. The Bosco Society for Printing and Graphic Training has been supportive to design the layout and print this book. I gratefully acknowledge their support.

Fr. Joe Prabu National Director Homelink / Missing Child Search Network Don Bosco YaR Forum New Delhi - 110045

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List of Abbreviations ACP

Assistant Commissioner of Police

BCPC

Block Child Protection Committee

BDO

Block Development Officer

CBI

Central Bureau of Investigation, Govt. of India

CBO

Community Based Organization

CNCP

Child in Need of Care and Protection

CPSU

Central Project Support Unit

CrPC

Criminal Procedure Code

CTS

Child Tracking System

CWC

Child Welfare Committee

DCP

District Commissioner of Police

DCPS

District Child Protection Society

DCRB

District Crime Records Bureau

DLSA

Delhi State Legal Services Authority

DTF

District Task Force

DWCD

Department of Women and Child Development

FIR

First Information Report

GNCTD

Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (India)

ICPS

Integrated Child Protection Scheme

IPC

Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act Indian Penal Code

JJB

Juvenile Justice Board

MEA

Ministry of External Affairs

MISS

Management Information System and Services

MPB

Missing Person Bureau

MWCD

Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of India

NALSA

National Legal Service Authority ix


Missing Children:Who Cares?

NCLP

National Child Labour Project

NCPCR

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights

NCRB

National Crime Records Bureau

NGOs

Non-Governmental Organizations

NHRC

National Human Rights Commission

NTF

National Task Force

PIL

Public Interest Litigation

PRI

Panchayati Raj Institution

RTI

Right to Information Act

SP

Superintendent of Police

SCPC

State Child Protection Society

SCPCR

State Commission for Protection of Child Rights

SCRB

State Crime Records Bureau

SHGs

Self-Help Groups

SJPU

Special Juvenile Police Unit

SPSU

State Project Support Unit

SSA

SarvaShikshaAbhiyan

STF

State Task Force

UNCRC

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child

UNODC

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

VCPC

Village Child Protection Committee

YaR

Young at Risk

x


Preamble What are we doing to our missing children? Why do we have so many children missing and why are they not found? Shocking statistics! Devastating stories! They are part of our shameful national secrets.

Normally parents experience feelings of helplessness, despair, fear and anxiety when a child disappears. On the other hand, a little girl is in dilemma, when her mother died due to natural calamities and her father remarried, her step-mother who did not want her, forces her father to abandon her. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in India, a child goes missing every8 minutes. While no exact figures are available, according to an English daily, the number ofrunaways alone is estimated to be one million in a year. In other words, in India every 30 seconds a child runs away from home. To this must be added the number of children who are missing/lost and abducted. These figures may help us to understand the enormity of the problem of missing children in India. Missing children is an issue that India has been trying to deal with for a long time. In 20052006, the nation was shocked and shamed by the most brutal serial killing of children in Nithari, Noida, not far from the national capital. Child after child went missing from the urban village of Nithari. According to reports, 21 children were kidnapped, raped and murdered over a period of two years in the house of a businessman. All these children were from poor families, mostly migrant workers. The perpetrators of these gruesome acts, the businessman and his domestic help, were arrested and tried in 2009. The domestic help was given five death sentences, while the businessman was sentenced to death in one case, but was exonerated by a higher court. While such ghastly incidents are not so frequent, the fact is that every day thousands of children are abused in India. The Palermo Protocol, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,especially Women and Children, was adopted by a UN resolution in 2000 and signed by India in 2002. The lack of a comprehensive legislation and policy in India has often been the reason for the lack of law enforcement and knowledge on the issue of trafficking/missing children. India finally ratified the UN protocol on human trafficking on 5 May 2011. The ratification of this convention means that it is now binding upon India to develop a law that conforms to the International Convention and its provisions. India has accepted and acknowledged the fact that trafficking is an organized crime. Thisorganized crime is the second largest money spinning illicit trade in the country. There is at work a wide network of traffickers across the country who procure women and children from deep rural areas where people suffer from low awareness and abject poverty. Many of the kidnappings and abductions end tragically in rape, assault and death. It is a simple equation: as long as there is a demand for children in cheap labour and sex marketing this trend will continue. Many of these victims will remain as numbers in the Crime Records Bureau Data. xi


Missing Children:Who Cares?

In spite of the Supreme Court order, in many cases of missing children FIR is not being registered.The real cases of trafficking of children are never tabulated or get reflected in the cognizableoffence section of the National Crime Records Data and Statistics. In cases of Preface missing children there is also a huge number of cases which never get reported as many parents and relatives fear to go to the Police Stations for reporting the case as traffickers by fraud and not reside institutions, even the Such state or largeare corporations. deception“Power obtain does the consent ofinthe parents ornot relatives. cases never reported as the It is located in the networks that structure society.” relatives or parents fear that they may be prosecuted. In the absence of a reliable system and Manuel Castells, 2004and Statistics mechanism in place, the State and the National Crime -Records Bureau Data become official– from the realm of the Internet to WTO, to anti-globalization protests, to terrorist record for reference. Hence, as part of this study, we have analysed the The term the ‘network’ recent data from 2010 to 2012 to comprehend the situation of missing children. movements, to social groupings, has become the latest buzzword and a part and parcel of routine life, all Many interventions and initiatives to deal with the issue of missing children have evolved over the world today. In this context, Homelink Network is towards creating a Child Carebeen &Tracking by Government Departments, International and National Commissions, and the civil society. System.To realize a step forward, in 2013,Homelink Network attained a deeper and significant meaning In this study, we highlight and examine their effectiveness in protecting and promoting the as it released Child MISS (1.0)(Management Information System &Services), a documentation web rights of children and also propose appropriate steps in the face of human rights violations. application tool for Child Care Institutes for effective data management, monitoring and reporting of

For those children, who have already become statistics in the long lists, the current measures care, protection development of Children. a short of two months, might not be ofand anyholistic help. Truth is the final casualtyWithin in many casesspan of missing children57 left organizations from 15 States havewe registered as network members. It serves asto a control tool for all unaddressed. But we can, and must, push for more concerted action andchildren’s eliminate the growing cannot allow thisof toinformation be swept under theChildren carpet. in Need of Care and homes for the menace; scope of we documenting all facet flow on Protection. Hence, Don Bosco YaR Forum’s Homelink Network initiated a comprehensive study tocollate and review the various source materials to draft this book, entitled as Missing Children: We heartly welcome other interested organizations to register in http://childmiss.net; and the present Who cares?. It symbolizes a breakthrough for child safety net in India and places the roles networking partners are requested to utilize this networking tool to establish a credible database of your and responsibilities of stakeholders to take forward the oncoming challenges of missing children. valuable services to vulnerable children and young at risk. This report covers snapshots of various

Ievents, training, awareness campaign, development of web application and its capacity building. There do hope that the principles and procedural guidelines elaborated in this report will find meaningful and relevant applications in preventing children the perpetration of these heinous crimes is a coverage on the interesting research study on missing carried out in this year. We present against children.We invite all stakeholders to form a network to address this urgent issue some sample case studies shared by our networking organizations and children. It highlights current, in a tangible manner.It will be of great assistance to every stakeholder to expedite their significant and collective statistics of Homelink Network as well. interventions and to explore further possibilities of strengthening their interventions. May the knowledge, experience and outcome of Homelink Network urge us to reach greater heights and This book, Missing Children: Who cares? is, therefore, dedicated to the victim children of explore uncharted Information Technology for the betterment of children. As network, it is of thecountry in thepaths hopein that it will provide a breakthrough for child safety neta in the lives Indian children. time again to renew our pursuit and commitment, to render our best to the least in the society.

Fr. Joe Prabu SDB Joe Prabu National Director National Director Homelink/ Missing Child Search Network Homelink Network Don BoscoYaR Forum

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Don Bosco YaR Forum

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Executive Summary It is well known fact that around the globe a number of men, women and children disappear from their daily life into unknown destinations. Children form the largest group among these missing personnel. A large number of these children continue to remain missing. Apathy towards missing children by the concerned agencies, ignorance of laws and procedures by law enforcement bureaus, lack of evidence-based data and sub-standard central monitoring machinery in India make the situation all the more deplorable. The methods employed in finding these children are old and outdated, like flashing an advertisement in the national news channel or a hue and cry notice or sharing the information to the other districts offices or other very insignificant means. This lackadaisical approach makes the children victims of heinous crime like trafficking, rape, prostitution, labor, begging and other forms organized crime. National Crime Records Bureau data is the only source available in the country based on the complaint filed at the police station level to know about the status of the missing children. The data analysis reveals the hard core issues at hand. Filing a criminal case and registering a complaint in the police station is the prerogative of the police official, who always tries to show the missing child as a runaway child rather than a kidnapped or trafficked child. The harassment at the police station that the victim’s family experiences in filing a case is another disgusting part of the trauma. This harassment becomes even more hurting in the case of reporting ‘girl child missing’ as she is labeled a bad character girl who must have run away with her boyfriend. The whole issue of child protection, particularly of missing children, is a matter of growing concern among the child rights activists and policy makers. The lack of coordination among the different stakeholders and lack of knowledge of procedures and the insensitive handling of cases of missing children is another cause of concern. There is need for all stakeholders to understand their roles and responsibilities, powers and functions very precisely in order to protect and promote the rights of the children. Hence a collaborative effort has to be made in order to tackle the issue of missing children. This study report provides guidelines to different stakeholders dealing with Missing Children in India in a holistic manner. YaR Forum has taken this initiative to collate all the relevant laws, guidelines,court-rulings, initiatives and interventions of many stakeholders in order to help implementing agencies or other stakeholders in making the untraceable missing children to a traceable one. Though Child Protection is the primary responsibility of family, vulnerable situations and actions lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation and separation of children from families. The vision of a safe and secure environment for all children, as envisaged in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, is still a distant reality. If child safety net is the way forward for India, our society requires a convergence of multipronged efforts by the parents, community, civil society and government to make a safety net for children in India.

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Part One Conceptualization of Missing Children


Missing Children:Who Cares?

1. Defining a Missing Child A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and fate is not known1. According to 42 United States Code Services 5772 [Title 42. The Public Health and Welfare; Chapter 72, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Missing Children], - “missing child” means any individual less than 18 years of age whose whereabouts are unknown to such individual’s legal custodian2. The term missing children is defined as “children whose whereabouts are unknown to their parent, guardian, or legal custodian”3. National Household Surveys of Adult Caretakers and Youth NISMART–2 defined a missing child in two ways: First, in terms of those who were missing from their caretakers (“caretaker missing”); and second, in terms of those who were missing from their caretakers and reported to an agency for help locating them (“reported missing”)4. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has finally defined missing children as “a person below eighteen years of age, whose whereabouts are not known to the parents, legal guardians and any other person, who may be legally entrusted with the custody of the child, whatever may be the circumstances/causes of disappearance. The child will be considered missing and in need of care and protection within the meaning of the latter part of the Juvenile Justice Act 2000, until located and/or his/her safety/well-being is established5.” A missing child is a child found without any adult accompanying him/her or the child unable to express verbally or non-verbally that he/she is missing. A missing child is where the child cannot explain where she/he stays and the parents cannot be located. Such a child should be given immediate admission into Children’s Home that caters to children of her/his age6. Major Categories of Missing Children7 In general, the missing children have been categorised as children who have been taken and those who have left. Both these groups could be the victim of non-family abductions, family abductions, runaways, throwaways, and lost, injured, or otherwise missing. In Non-Family Abduction the offender is usually someone known to the victim. Teenagers and girls tend to be the most common victims of non-family abductions, but infants also can be at risk. These children are at the risk of being victims of further crimes like homicide, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, pornography, and prostitution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_person http://definitions.uslegal.com/m/missing-child/ 3 National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. (1985, March). Parental Kidnapping- How to Prevent an Abduction and What to Do If Your Child Is Abducted. Arlington, VA. 4 https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/196465.pdf 5 http://www.globalmarch.org 6 http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf 7 http://www.safetycops.com/missing_children.htm 1 2

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Conceptualization of Missing Children

In Family Abduction a child becomes a victim of a family member due to some dispute in the family. This type of abduction is usually due to dissatisfaction with a custody or visitation agreement or divorce. It is wrong to believe that a child is safe with the abducted parent or family member. Such children face significant emotional trauma. Runaways are often considered delinquents, rebels, and troublemakers. These children run away due to intolerable situations at home and surroundings or due to long-term physical, emotional and/ or sexual abuses Children who are classified as runaways could also be described more accurately as throwaways. Often due to low socio-economic situation, these children are abandoned, told to leave by a caregiver, or are not allowed to return home once they have left. Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing children are those who are hurt, lost, or confused and did not return home when they were expected to. They are not necessarily considered runaway, throwaways, or abduction cases. (Refer Annexure I)

A Young Life Devastated Kavita (name changed) is 14 years old. As she was abandoned by her parents, she was looked after by her grandparents and uncles. Unluckily for her, her own uncle betrayed his trust. One day when she was not well, her uncle took her out. He said that he was taking her to a dispensary. Her uncle and two other men gave her some drugs and abused her. When she woke up she found herself undressed. She was also in terrible pain. Under threats they forced her not to disclose the matter to anyone. For days and weeks they continued to abuse her forcefully and under threat of dire consequences. Unable to bear the pain and shame anymore, one day she decided to reveal the whole affair to her cousins. Her cousins accompanied her to the Police Commissioner’s Office in Coimbatore town and filed a case against their father and demanded justice for Kavita. The news was soon flashed in the media. The public felt outraged at this ghastly event. The police referred the young girl to Childline, Don Bosco AnbuIllam, Coimbatore. She was produced before the Child Welfare Committee who admitted her in the Girls’ Shelter Home. Due to security reasons, she was later shifted from there and placed under the direct custody of the CWC.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

2. Age of the Child in Indian Laws India has different laws which define the age of the child differently. It is important to know and understand these laws in order to apply them effectively. Once the question regarding the age of the child is clear then it is easier for the official to implement the law in the best interest of the child. The constitution of India gives the broad framework regarding the laws related with children and also defines the age of the child accordingly. Although these frameworks talk about the children in general but give the fundamental principles in drafting the law in the best interest of the children without any discrimination. According to ‘The Constitution of India’: Article 21 A: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years”. Article 24: “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.” The Indian Majority Act, 1875: Section 3 - Every person domiciled in India shall attain the age of majority on his completing the age of eighteen years and not before. The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006: “Child means a person who, if a male has not completed 21 years of age and, if a female, has not completed 18 years of age.” The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1966: “Child means a person who has not completed 14 years of age.” The Indian Contract Act, 1872: “A person below 18 years has no capacity to enter into a legal contract.” The Indian Majority Act, 1875: “Every person domiciled in India shall attain the age of majority on his completing the age of eighteen years and not before.” The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, as amended in 2006: Sec. 2(k) defines a child as a person who has not completed eighteenth year of age, i.e. a person below the age of 18 years.

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Conceptualization of Missing Children

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 Sec 2 (b) “Child” means any person below the age of eighteen years and includes any adopted, step or foster child; The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 Sec. 2(d) “child means any person below the age of 18 years” The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1986 Sec 2 (aa) “child” means a person who has not completed the age of sixteen years; Sec 2 (ca) “major” means a person who has completed the age of eighteen years; Sec 2 (cb) “minor” means a person who has completed the age of sixteen years but has not completed the age of eighteen years

Found the Lost one Hari Pavan is from Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh. On 22nd January, 2013 he was found in Trivandrum railway station. The staff brought him to Don Bosco Nivas, Trivandrum. He had been studying in Class IX at Narayana Techno School at Dharmavaram. His parents scolded him following the complaints received from teachers for his poor performance in the examination. He ran away from home on 20th January. After counselling he gave his father’s contact number and expressed his willingness to go back home. Homelink Hub office contacted his father. Meanwhile the parents had also launched a complaint to the local police station and searched in nearby areas. On 23rd January night his father and uncle came to Don Bosco Nivas with all documents and received him back. The family of Hari Pavan was extremely happy that they got back their lost child safe and sound. They expressed their gratitude and appreciation for the Homelink Network efforts to track and trace the missing children.

5


Missing Children:Who Cares?

3. Nature and Extent of the Problem The demographics of India are inclusive of the second most populous country in the world, with over 1.21 billion people (2011 census) of which nearly 42 per cent of its population below the age of 18. According census 2011 report, the total number of children in India is 164.5 millions, about 660 thousand more than the number recorded in 2001.8 India is divided into twenty-eight states and seven union territories (UTs). There are a total of 640 districts subdivided into about 638,000 villages (2011 census) and 1,652 languages and dialects spoken in India. Due to this large demographic situation, children’s missing is the major concern for both the implementing agencies at the ground level and the policy-making people at the higher levels. This issue needs systematic attention and concerted efforts. As per the State Police Records data, it has been estimated that every year more than 44,000 children are reported missing all over the country. Of these, around 11,000 children remain untraced. There is a fear that the number may go much higher as most of the time cases of missing children may never be reported due to various socio-economic factors and lack of knowledge. The NCRB Data shows that in the last three years (2010-2012) at all-India level the number of reported missing children has dropped down by 9.53 per cent. The number of reported missing children complaint was 68,227 (2009) whereas it is 65,038 (2012). (Refer Annexure II) The main problem of missing children is stemmed out from socio–economic and psycho-cultural related aspects. The root causes include extreme disparities of wealth, continuing and pervasive inequality due to class, caste and most importantly gender biases throughout the region, erosion of traditional family systems and values, iniquitous social conventions, lack of transparency in regulations governing labour migration (both domestic and cross border), poor enforcement of internationally agreed-upon human rights standards, and enormous profits ensured by the trafficking business to the traffickers. 3.1 Push Factors The economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, high inflation, low wages, migration, false promises and lure of job or marriage, improper implementation of government programmes and corruption, lack of monitoring and evaluation on programmes, lack of skills, etc. made poor people/family find the alternative solution as sustenance to their life by sending or selling children to the earning markets. The social structure is also responsible for the heinous act prevailing in the country such as high rate of dropouts in primary level, low standard of education system and low level of female education. Culture or tradition is sometimes poses as a block and lead to domestic violence, degradation of value system, low dignity of human lives, child marriage–trafficked in the name of the marriage, imbalance in sex ratio (states who have low Infant Mortality Rate or Child Mortality Rate are trafficking girls to balance the family system)9. Lack of health services, transport and communication facilities, entertainment facilities, seeking freedom, autonomy, etc. are push factors in rural and remote areas. In some parts of country, post calamities and disasters (manmade/natural) and consequences (loss of family support system and safe shelter), insurgency, naxalism and militarism have become causes for the trafficking of children. These are the main forces operating within the socio-economic system in the society. http://censusindia.gov.in/2011census/maps/administrative_maps/admmaps2011.html The Week, Vol. 32, Feb 2, 2014, The Republic’s Lost Children, p. 22

8 9

6


Conceptualization of Missing Children

3.2 Pull Factors The globalization process has made the business people in high demand to contact the trafficking agents to supply cheap labour for employers and enterprises. Competition in the production units also paved the way for trafficking children to work in these units with low wages. Migration of men to the industrial sector or business field enhanced their economic status, which motivated them to indulge in prostitution by buying girl children. The business people’s high earning in the flesh trade, has influenced politicians and youth to utilize this situation. Emergence of trafficking business made the agents to sell the human assets for procuring wealth to them. 3.3 Reasons for Disappearance of Children There are different reasons for people disappearing and there is no one way to explain the reasons behind this phenomenon. Internal armed conflicts are active in many states in India. India has also been hit by various natural disasters like Tsunami, floods or other calamities. Often people disappear to escape these disasters. People also disappear to avoid arrest in a crime by lawenforcement authorities and the police have a special department to trace the people who avoid these kinds of legal arrest. Some people disappear to join a cult or other religious organization and become lifelong members of these organisations. Some people sometimes get lost and sometimes die due to disease or accident when they are far from home. The common reason for children’s disappearance is to escape from child abuse—physical, sexual, emotional— in school, home, and community and institution. Sometimes children run away from home on the pretext of acting in movies. People also disappear when they become victims of kidnapping for ransom or enmity; sometime children are sold into sex-trade, slavery or the labour market. 3.4 Data on Missing Children in India As per government data10 available till 31st July 2013, in the year 2013 alone there were 5289 missing boys and 9841 girls, which amount to total of 15130 children missing. However, 6289 children were traced or came back to their homes. But, 3204 boys are still untraced and 5657 girls are still missing, which adds up to 8,861. As per year 2012 data, 10,274 boys are still untraced and 16622 girls are still untraced which adds up to 26,896. So, as per the statistics available till 31st July 2013, in the last one-and-a-half-years, there has been 35,757 children (both boys and girls) are still missing. As per NCRB data in 2010, 2011 and 2012, 38,440, 44,664 and 47,592 CASES were REGISTERED respectively, out of which in only 19,933, 22,818 and 25,639 cases charge sheets were filed during the same period. However during the same period in 3,870, 4,001 and 3,089 cases people were convicted and 8,708, 8,265 and 5,858 persons were convicted under various kidnapping and abduction of Indian penal laws. (Refer Annexure III)

www.ncrb.nic.in

10

7


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Data Analysis The data under study is drawn from the National Crime Record Bureau as country’s official record related to the missing, traced and untraced children. The data is studied in depth from the period of 2010 to 2012 to analyze the present trends. Based on the data and the number of children being lost, the states are categorized and ranked accordingly by taking the average for the 3 years. The same method was adopted for the ranking of traced and untraced situation. The data analysis is divided into Main States, Union Territories (UTs) and North Eastern (NE) states to understand the problem region wise. The data is analyzed in percentage in correspondence with the number. The following Table 1 shows missing, traced and untraced children data of NCRB* from 2010 to 2012: Table 1: Total data on Missing, Traced & Untraced Children (2010-2012) Category Missed Traced Untraced Missed Traced Untraced Missed Traced Untraced

2010 Number 77133 53897 23236 2011 59668 37020 22648 2012 65038 38142 26896

Gender % 70 30

Boys 30954 22688 8266

% 40 42 36

62 38

23151 14699 8452

39 40 37

59 41

25702 15428 10274

40 40 38

2010-2012 (Total) Missed Traced Untraced

201839 129059 72780

Girls 46179 31209 14970 Gender 36517 22321 14196 Gender 39336 22714 16622

% 60 58 64 61 60 63 60 60 62

Gender 64 36

79807 52815 26992

40 41 37

122032 76244 45788

60 59 63

*Source: www.ncrb.nic.in as on 31/09/2013

Is this Marriage or Marketing? Cheating in business is not uncommon. The same is true in the so called marriage market. A man had promised to pay Rs. 20,000/- to marry a girl. He paid an advance of Rs. 2,000/- to the parents and married the girl in a hurry. The next day, both of them were about to leave Alipur railway station. Homelink Networking Partner, Mr. Prabir Basu of SPAN, came to know of this incident from the parents of the girl. Prabir acted quickly and together they rushed to the station and rescued the girl. On making inquiries, they found out that the man was evidently a cheat and had no identity to show. The girl was restored to the parents. The man never returned to prove his identity. As expected, he just disappeared and never returned. 8


Conceptualization of Missing Children

According to the latest official data11, almost 35,000 children were reported missing in India in 2011 and over 11,000 of them were from West Bengal. West Bengal Police estimate that only about 30% of cases are actually reported As per the data available in National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) from 2010 to 2012 (for three years), a total number of 201,839 missing children were reported the country. Maharashtra has the highest number of cases of missing children i. e. 30,266 (only two years report is available) followed by West Bengal (11,109) and Madhya Pradesh (9,259 - only two years report is available) (see Table 2). A total of 129,059 (64 per cent) cases of children were reported as traced in the country during the same period. However, untraced children were reported as 72,780 (36 per cent). The total missing children from Major states are 192,090, North Eastern (NE) states covers 8,837 and from Union Territories (UTs) is 912. Gender wise data highlights that the trend of missing has increased among girls. The data from states points out that 115,857 girls were lost whereas number of boys were 76,233. Figure 1: Region-wise data on missing, traced and untraced children (2010-2012)

The above mentioned data are submitted by SCRB to NCRB from the concerned states. In the year 2010, the following are the states which did not report the cases to NCRB: Bihar, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Lakshadweep, Meghalaya and Mizoram, whereas in 2011, the

htpp:// www.unodc.org/southasia

11

9


Missing Children:Who Cares?

states which did not report were Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and Punjab but a progress was seen in 2012, except in Lakshadweep. No reports of missing children are available from Lakshadweep for 2010, 2011 and 2012. The following Table 2 highlights State-wise data* on high prevalence of the missing children problem in three years (2010-2012): Table 2: Foremost States for Missing Child threat Main States

Missing Children

Traced

Untraced

Maharashtra

15133

11521

3612

West Bengal

11109

3952

7156

Madhya Pradesh

9259

7706

1553

Delhi

5014

3148

1867

Andhra Pradesh

4848

2468

2380

Rajasthan

4034

3341

693

Orissa

3983

798

3185

Uttar Pradesh

3857

2305

1552

Chhattisgarh

3852

2828

1024

Gujarat

3798

3350

448

Prime Union Territories Chandigarh

176

105

71

Pondicherry

65

53

12

Major North Eastern States Assam

1777

917

860

Tripura

444

268

176

Nagaland

266

111

155

*Source: www.ncrb.nic.in as on 31/09/2013

Maharashtra had the highest number of missing children (30,266) during the year 2010 and 2012. In the period of 2010-2012, West Bengal recorded (11,109) the maximum number of children being missed followed by Madhya Pradesh (9,259 based on two years data available). Other states with high cases of missing children were Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat. The above mentioned are the top ten states in the lost children category from where more children went missing. The number of untraced children has also increased. In 2010, the untraced children were 30.12 per cent and in 2011 it has increased to 38 percent, whereas in 2012, it has become 41.35 per cent. It shows a regression in the efforts by the state and the central police force to trace the missing children.

10


Conceptualization of Missing Children

Figure 2: Prime States and Status of Missing Children (2010-2012)

16000 14000 12000 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0

MissingChildren Traced Untraced

 The facts related to North Eastern (NE) states are different from the rest of the states in the country. The North Eastern Region has long international boundaries connecting with other South East Asian countries such as Bhutan in North, Nepal in North West, Bangladesh in South and Myanmar in North East corner. Often, the traffickers take advantage of this geographical situation. The children went missing in 2012 (8,837) is higher than during 2010 and 2011. Among the NE states Assam, Tripura and Nagaland poses a threat to children. The percentage of girls among missed children is 63.86 per cent and untraced is 62 per cent. Assam is having highest number of missing children (1,777) followed by Tripura and Nagaland (Fig.3). Figure 3: Situation of Missing Children in North Eastern States (2010-2012) 2000 1800 1600 1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0

1777

MissingChildren

917 860

TracedChildren 444 268 266 176 155 111

Assam

UntracedChildren

Tripura Nagaland



11


Missing Children:Who Cares?

During the time period of 2010-12, there are total of 912 children missing from the UTs. Among them 531 were girls who comprise 58 per cent of total missing children. The study shows that among the Union Territories, Chandigarh and Pondicherry are posing threat to children (fig 4). During this period of time 176 children went missing from Chandigarh and 71 children are not traced yet. However the data for Pondicherry shows that 65 children went missing and 12 children are not traced. Figure 4: Status of Missing children in Union Territories (2010-12)

180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0

176

105 65

71

Chandigaarh

53

Pondicheerry 12

Missed Children

Traced Children

Untraced U C Children

 On the basis of gender, among the missing children complaints during the period of 2010-12, girls missing were 60.46 percent and boys were 39.54 per cent in the country. The increase in the number of “missing children� cases was actually a sign that the people were becoming more aware and were filing complaints in various police stations though it will be far from the actual cases of missing children. The mentioned figures are only the tip of the iceberg as the number of trafficked children has increased everywhere. The child trafficking in India depicts a nasty picture of the reality, which is explored in the next chapter. More government initiatives are required to prevent the problem by addressing the basic necessities of daily living of the people.

12


Conceptualization of Missing Children

4. Missing Children and Trafficking of Children The establishment of Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) in the states has shown results at the ground level of increase in number of missing/trafficked children cases registered, rescue operations and more convictions. Still, the provision for infrastructure mentioned in AHTU, as per the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is not up to the mark12/13. The malfunctioning is noted in a review commissioned by United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) with the title India country assessment report: Current status of victim service providers and criminal justice actors on Anti-HumanTrafficking 2013. In trying to present a good image in regard to child protection, some states have downplayed reporting such incidents. However, day-to-day realities broadcasted from different Media groups are shocking and alarming to us. For example, the media reports14 from Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and West Bengal area reveal alarming facts to anyone who is sensitive towards the young growing population of our country. As per the National Crime Records Bureau, the state of Jharkhand has not reported figures related to missing children since 2007. Whatever they have reported up to 2006 is very doubtful, as it is less than 350 children annually. Though the State Advisory Committee on trafficking was set up, the same has not been functioning in the state. The Jharkhand State has formulated a State Action Plan to combat trafficking but this has not been implemented so far. In the absence of data on missing children and rampant trafficking of victims being reported from Jharkhand, it is very difficult to assess the real situation of trafficked or missed children. In most of the above mentioned states, it is a common fact that the investigating officers do not follow proper investigation procedures. After he or she submits a charge sheet to the court, the investigating officer’s work seems complete. There is no further evidence gathering. Lack of awareness of the problem of trafficking, the legal procedures and lack of trust in police, prevent some parents of missing children from going to the police. In some cases the family or its relatives are closely related to migration of children away from family that they do not register with police when a child is missing. Trafficking is the third biggest illegal business in India after arms and drugs15. And a notable shift in child trafficking is a 12 per cent increase in demand for boys over the past few years. Again reports on children indicate that every day about 200 girls and women enter prostitution in India. 80 per cent of them are forced into it. India has about 3 million prostitutes and about 40 per cent are children. On an average, 350 children go missing in India every day16 (Nina P. Nayak, NCPCR). The same media reports that children under age of 8 are forced to beg, the older ones are pushed into labour or flesh trade. Organized gangs kidnap minors and transport them to other cities. TheWeek Magazine of January 2014, published an article entitled Childhood Lost. It cited that about $19 billion is generated worldwide through child trafficking annually. These are the facts in front of us today. It is both a shame and shock to India. India has now become a source, destination and transit country for child trafficking. wcd.nic.in/‎inititrafficking.doc http://www.scribd.com/doc/197023869/Meeting-Minutes-Central-Advisory-Committee sector news co.in /index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id 14 The Week, Vol. 32,Feb 2,2014, The Republic’s Lost Children, p. 16ff 15 Ibid 16 Ibid 12

13

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Three critical elements in a case of trafficking :17 Action - the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, procurement or receipt of persons Means - threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power enjoyed by the trafficker(s), abuse of the position of vulnerability of the victim, giving or receiving payments or benefits, some consideration. Purpose - exploitation, which includes exploitation of the prostitution of others, other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour, slavery or similar practices, servitude or removal of organs. Only when we find all three elements in the case, can we treat it as a case of ‘trafficking’. 4.1 Different Forms and Purposes of Child Trafficking  All Forms of Labour

 Children in Armed Conflicts  Illegal Activities • Begging • Organ trade • Drug peddling and smuggling 

For and through marriage

For and through adoption

Sexual exploitation

• Prostitution • Socially and religiously sanctified forms of prostitution • Sex tourism • Pornography  Entertainment and sports • Circus, dance troupes, etc. • Camel jockey

Child Trafficking- A User’s Handbook by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights

17

14


Conceptualization of Missing Children

It has been found that children who went missing get into the web of illegal activity such as trafficking of children. The recent amendment in the criminal law has defined the trafficking of person. 4.2 Indian Penal Code, 1860, on Child Trafficking Section 370 - Trafficking of Person: Whoever for the purpose of Exploitation - Recruits, Transports, Harbours, Transfers, Receives, by using, threats, force, any other form of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, by abuse of power, inducement – including the giving or receiving of payments or benefits, in order to achieve the consent of any person having control over the person – recruited, transported, harboured, transferred or received, commits the offence of trafficking. “Exploitation” means -

prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation,

-

forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the forced removal of organs.

Explanation - The consent of the victim is immaterial in a determination of the offences of trafficking. Rigorous imprisonment 7–10 years, and shall also be liable to fine. Employing of a trafficked person – 370 A Despite KNOWING / having REASON to believe a child has been trafficked, anyone employs such a child: Rigorous imprisonment 5-7 years with fine. U/S

Crime

Punishment

370 (3)

Trafficking of a minor.

10 years – Life imprisonment

370 (4)

Trafficking of more than one minor.

14 years – Life imprisonment

370 (5)

Public servant/a police officer involved in trafficking of minor.

Life Imprisonment (remainder person’s natural life).

370 (6)

Person convicted of offence of trafficking of minor on more than one occasion.

Life Imprisonment (remainder person’s natural life).

370 A (1)

Employing of a trafficked child.

5 - 7 years and with fine.

As per the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, where a child, being a minor, is taken or enticed out of the keeping of the lawful guardian, by force compelled, or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place, is sold for the purpose of marriage; and made to go through a form of marriage or if the minor is married after which the minor is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes, such marriage shall be null and void. 15


Missing Children:Who Cares?

As per section 5 of Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 – Procuring, including or taking a person for the sake of prostitution - Any person who procures or attempts to procure a person, whether with or without his consent, for the purpose of prostitution; or induces a person to go from any place, with the intent that he may, for the purpose of prostitution, become the inmate of or frequent a brothel; or takes or attempts to take a person, or causes a person to be taken, from one place to another with a view to his carrying on or being brought up to carry on prostitution; or causes or induces a person to carry on prostitution. 4.3 Legal Provisions in the cases of Missed or Trafficked Child 18 Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR CHILD LABOUR  Relevant provisions under Indian Penal Code: • Habitual dealing in slaves (Section 371) • Unlawful compulsory labour (Section 374)  Section 26 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protections of Children) Act, 2000  Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 • According to Section 14 of the act the penalty is 3 months to 1 year and the amount is Rs. 10,000 to 20,000 and the punishment is 6 months to 2 years (for Repeaters). • As per section 16 of the act any person, police officer or inspector may file a complaint of commission of an offence under this Act in any court of competent jurisdiction. Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR AND THROUGH MARRIAGE  THE PROHIBITION OF CHILD MARRIAGE ACT, 2006 prohibits the solemnisation of child marriages by laying down the minimum age of marriage for both boys and girls. 

Where a child, being a minor• (a) is taken or enticed out of the keeping of the lawful guardian; • (b) by force compelled, or by any deceitful means induced to go from any place; • (c) is sold for the purpose of marriage; and made to go through a form of marriage •  or if the minor is married after which the minor is sold or trafficked or used for immoral purposes, such marriage shall be null and void. • All offences have been made cognizable and non-bailable.

 Relevant provisions under IPC • Kidnapping, abducting or inducing or compelling a woman into marriage (Sec- 366) • Fraudulent marriage (Section 496). Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR AND THROUGH ADOPTION  Criminal offences under the kidnapping and abduction sections of the IPC. www.haqcrc.org

18

16


Conceptualization of Missing Children

Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION  The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (ITPA) • Running or managing of a brothel or the allowing of premises to be used as a brothel, • Living on the earnings of the prostitution of others, • Procuring, inducing or taking a person for the purpose of prostitution, • Detaining a person in a brothel, • Seducing or soliciting for the purpose of prostitution. Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES SUCH AS PORNOGRAPHY Y  oung Persons Harmful Publications Act, 1956 prevents the dissemination of certain publications that are harmful to young persons.  The Information Technology Act, 2000 amongst other things stipulates that publishing, or transmitting, or causing to be published, pornographic material in electronic form shall be punishable (Section 67). Missing Child and Trafficking - FOR ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES SUCH AS DRUG SMUGGLING  The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 • This law declares illegal the production, possession, transportation, purchase and sale of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance and makes the person, addict / trafficker liable for punishment. • Use or threat of use of violence or arms by the offender, use of minors for the commission of offence, commission of the offence in an educational institution or social service facility are some of the grounds for higher punishment. 

The Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988 • Under this law, people who use children for drug trafficking can be booked as abettors or conspirators to the act. The sections on kidnapping and abduction in the IPC can always be used to book a case where children have been enticed or kidnapped to consume, sell or smuggle drugs. Missing Child andTrafficking- FOR ORGAN TRANSPLANT OR ORGAN TRADE

  The Transplantation of Human Organ Act, 1994 makes removal of human organs without authority and commercial dealing in human organs criminally liable. • Simple and grievous hurt (Sections 319 to 329)

17


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Missing Child and Trafficking- FOR BEGGING Relevant provisions in the IPC

• Kidnapping or maiming a minor for begging (Section 363A) Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000

• Employment of or using a juvenile or child for begging (Section 24)  IPC and trafficking of children for circus or camel jockeying • Kidnapping/abduction for slavery or to subject a person to grievous injury such as in camel racing (Section 367) • Habitual dealing in slaves (Section 371) The Protection of Children against Sexual offence Act, 2012 Section 3 - penetrative sexual assault Section 5 - Aggravated penetrative sexual assault Section 7 - Sexual assault Section 8 - Aggravated sexual assault Section 13 - Sexual Harassment Section 15 - Pornographic Purposes

Nailing the Traffickers A girl of 15 from Chanpu, a village near Meerut, was taken to Delhi for domestic labour. After three or four months, the mother of the girl received the news that the girl met with an accident and had died. The disconsolate mother tried to trace her daughter, dead or alive. As there was no trace of her daughter, the mother filed an FIR in the local police station. At first the police did not register any case. Through the intervention of the Homelink Networking Partner Sankalp Foundation, Meerut, a case was registered and the traffickers were pinned down and put behind bars. The girl was restored alive to the parents.

18


Conceptualization of Missing Children

4.4 Unresolved Issues States where there are more tribes residing, the picture of trafficking of children, minor girls and women are eye opener to the nation. The reasons for trafficking and missing are not seen as an isolated but it is an interplay with socio, economic, psychological, political and cultural aspects of the region and the families. There are those source regions struck by poverty, natural calamities, lack of employment and education where parents are willing to let go of their children in the hope that their child will live a better life in the city and send back some money so that those back home can enjoy at least two meals a day. Families never complain of their daughters go missing as they think that the police would prosecute them for sending their children through agents. In such circumstances, it is very easy to entice tribal families to send their daughters with agents just by offering a very small amount of money. It is only after several months that the families realize that their daughters were sold. Placement agencies are very active in certain regions and they are mostly catering to the labour demand in Northern India. These placement agencies indulge in trafficking as there are high profits involved. They never take the responsibility of welfare of the placed persons. Many children are also brought from the remote states/regions to work in Delhi. In some states and districts, with no proper Child Welfare Committee and no institutional protection measures for women and children, the situation of women and children continue to remain vulnerable. This is more serious in Chhattisgarh as it is a high trafficking source area. The trafficking situation in Delhi has worsened as the trafficking rackets have expanded their operations in the guise of beauty parlours, friendship clubs, spas, massage parlours and escort services. The traffickers have become organized considering the fact that the profits are very high. Though concerted efforts of law enforcement agencies and organizations are being carried out, the traffickers have somehow managed to expand their trade by moving the area of operation to various towns in Delhi. The information provided therein remains largely incomplete and does not have adequate attention in the investigation and tracing of missing children. The measures and interest taken by the different states are neither in uniformity nor mandatory. In addition to this, there are a host of other factors such as absence of effective supervision and follow-up, lack of interest on account of low priority accorded to the problem of missing children, lack of resources, lack of coordination, lack of national strategy to deal with the challenges, etc. In Jharkhand it is reported by parents that Police Thanas (stations) showed reluctance to register FIRs when

19


Missing Children:Who Cares?

villagers reported the cases of missing children. In many cases, parents from rural alleged that the local police did not take their complaints seriously19. Right now, we have NCRB data on missing children and the data of missing children in the website of Ministry of Women and Child Development 20. There is lack of clarity and coherence on the correctness of data in these sites. It is difficult to qualify the quantity of data and draw a conclusion about the issue of missing children. Due to the above, cases of missing children do not receive the desired attention that they really deserve. With the passage of time, routine efforts to locate missing children have also been abandoned. As a result, a large number of missing children remain untraced. Constant efforts to locate the missing children are rare. There are some states that do not want to depict themselves as an unsafe place for children. They want to highlight a beautiful picture along with the reputation achieved in the arenas of socio and economic progress. The figure related to the missing and trafficked children is always different from one another in the documents. The NCBR data also do not present a hard reality of the missing children in our country at this point of time. For example, the trend is supported by the missing children and women data of Gujarat which reports a sizeable number of missing women and children. Regarding Haryana, though trafficking of women and girls have become a lucrative and expanding trade in this region, it routinely escapes effective administrative and social sanctions and the general response is to deny the existence of any such problem. Sex ratio continuously remains decreasing in this state. It is again another manipulation of data with the state of Jharkhand. Despite the huge amount of trafficking and missing children reported in the region, this continues to be treated as a migration problem and not as an organized crime. Madhya Pradesh mainly remains the source and destination state for trafficking. All the northern states especially the BIMARU states in our country, the safety of children and minors is dubious and debatable on grounds. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh are pointed out as critical states based on the data received from NCRB in terms of missing children. These states during the period of 2010-2012 have the highest number of missing children in the country. The analysis of data on missing children in the following pages mainly focuses on the above mentioned critical states and also the state of Assam in the North Eastern parts.

SahuliyarArti. S, “State police hook on to national portal to curb trafficking� in The Telegraph, March 17, 2013. 20 www.trackthemisingchild.gov.in (dated March 12, 2014)

19

20


Part Two International & National Protocol on Missing Children


Missing Children:Who Cares?

5. Guiding Principles regarding Missing Children Missing children are most likely to have their basic rights violated and risk being abused, exploited or discriminated against or subjected to other forms of organized crime. The protection and care of all children have been given in the national legislation like Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Some particular issues which are relevant and important to consider in the matter related to missing children are 21: • the right to a name, legal identity and birth registration; • the right to physical and legal protection; • the right not to be separated from their parents; • the right to provisions for their basic subsistence; • the right to care and assistance appropriate to their age and developmental needs; • the right to participate in decisions about their future. The responsibility for the safety of the children lies with parents, family, community and national authorities. So reuniting the missing children with their parents or primary legal or customary caregivers as quickly as possible should be the priority. Due to certain calamities or emergency circumstances, if large numbers of children are separated from their parents or other relatives, utmost attention should be given to the unaccompanied who are likely to be more vulnerable. The principle of family unity, a right to have a family, considering the best interests of the child, listening to his/her opinion, and non-discrimination are the major principles in relation with the missing child. All the four Geneva Conventions (1949) and their two Additional Protocols (1977) provide that the “specific categories of person they protect must be treated humanely without adverse distinction founded on sex...” The special needs of girls must be taken into account in any deciding case. (Refer Annexure IV)

Friends in Need Vishal is a 12-year-old domestic worker. The family for whom he worked physically tortured him almost every day. He also did not receive payment for all the work he had been doing. One day Manish, his friend, took him to the police. The police acted on the complaint and filed an F.I.R. (D.D.No. 27 dt.14.01.2012) at Vasant Kunj Police Station, North Delhi. They also produced him before the Lajpat Nagar Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The CWC sent Vishal to the Don Bosco Shelter Home at Okhla for temporary shelter. The boy was treated at Safdarjung Hospital for injuries he had received at his work place. Finally the employer settled all matters including the remuneration for his work. His mother was traced at Nagar on 14th May 2012. Soon he was reunited with her by the order of same Lajpat Nagar CWC.

http://www.unicef.org/violencestudy/pdf/IAG_UASCs.pdf

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International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

6. International Mechanisms and Missing Children Some of the international conventions and their documents make reference to children in the following manner: 6.1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. 6.2 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Article 9: The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance. Article 10: The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize that: (3). Special measures of protection and assistance should be taken on behalf of all children and young persons without any discrimination for reasons of parentage or other conditions. Children and young persons should be protected from economic and social exploitation. Their employment in work harmful to their morals or health or dangerous to life or likely to hamper their normal development should be punishable by law. States should also set age limits below which the paid employment of child labour should be prohibited and punishable by law. 6.3 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 1: For the purposes of the present Convention, a child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child majority is attained earlier. Article 9:(1) States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child. Such determination may be necessary in a particular case such as one involving abuse or neglect of the child by the parents, or one where the parents are living separately and a decision must be made as to the child’s place of residence. (2) In any proceedings pursuant to paragraph 1 of the present article, all interested parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the proceedings and make their views known. (3) States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests. Article 11:(1) States Parties shall take measures to combat the illicit transfer and non-return of children abroad. (2): To this end, States Parties shall promote the conclusion of bilateral or multilateral agreements or accession to existing agreements. Article 19:(1) States Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Article 20:(1) A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State. Article 26:(1) States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law. (2) The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or on behalf of the child. Article 32:(1) States Parties recognize the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. (2) States Parties shall take legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to ensure the implementation of the present article. To this end, and having regard to the relevant provisions of other international instruments, States Parties shall in particular: (a) Provide for a minimum age or minimum ages for admission to employment; (b) Provide for appropriate regulation of the hours and conditions of employment; (c) Provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure the effective enforcement of the present article. Article 34: States Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. For these purposes, States Parties shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent: (a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; (b) The exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; (c) The exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials. Article 35: States Parties shall take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent the abduction of, the sale of or traffic in children for any purpose or in any form. Article 39: States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict Article 1: States Parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities. 24


International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

7. Indian Court Judgements and Missing Children The Supreme Court and High Courts have played a vital role on issuing legal orders concerning missing children. As a corollary, preventing human trafficking is a constitutional obligation for all of us, the law enforcement agencies have played a vibrant and unparalleled part in it. Bachpan Bachao Andolan Vs Union of India & Ors 22 - I n case a complaint with regard to any missing children was made in a police station, the same should be reduced into a First Information Report. - A  ppropriate steps should be taken to see that follow-up investigation was taken up immediately thereafter. - I n case of every missing child reported, there will be an initial presumption of either abduction or trafficking, unless, in the investigation, the same is proved otherwise. Accordingly, whenever any complaint is filed before the police authorities regarding a missing child, the same must be entertained under Section 154 Cr. P. C. - I n respect of complaints made otherwise with regard to a child, which may come within the scope of Section 155 Cr. P. C., upon making an entry in the Book to be maintained for the purposes of Section 155 Cr. P. C., and after referring the information to the Magistrate concerned, continue with the inquiry into the complaint. The Magistrate, upon receipt of the information recorded under Section 155 Cr. P. C., shall proceed, in the meantime, to take appropriate action under sub-section (2), especially, if the complaint relates to a child and, in particular, a girl child. - T  hat each police station should have, at least, one Police Officer, especially instructed and trained and designated as a Juvenile Welfare Officer in terms of Section 63 of the Juvenile Act. - H  ence there should be, in shifts, a Special Juvenile Officer on duty in the police station to ensure that the directions contained in this Order are duly implemented. - T  he para-legal volunteers, who have been recruited by the Legal Services Authorities, should be utilized, so that there is, at least, one para-legal volunteer, in shifts, in the police station to keep a watch over the manner in which the complaints regarding missing children and other offences against children are dealt with. - A  computerized programme, which would create a network between the Central Child Protection Unit as the Head of the Organization and all State Child Protection Units, District Child Protection Units, City Child Protection Units, Block Level Child Protection Units, all Special Juvenile Police Units, all Police stations, all Juvenile Justice Boards and all Child Welfare Committees. - T  he State Legal Services Authorities should also work out a network of NGOs, whose services could also be availed of at all levels for the purpose of tracing and re-integrating missing children with their families which, in fact, should be the prime object, when a missing child is recovered. Writ Petition (C) No.75 of 2012

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

- I nstallation of computerized cameras, which can also be considered by all the concerned authorities. - E  very found/recovered child must be immediately photographed by the police for purposes of advertisement and to make people aware of the missing child. Photographs of the recovered child should be published on the website and through the newspapers and even on the T.V. so that the parents of the missing child could locate their missing child and recover him or her from the custody of the police. The Ministry of Home Affairs shall provide whatever additional support by way of costs that may be necessary for the purpose of installing such photographic material and equipment in the police stations. - A  child to be sent to a Home and for taking photographs and publishing the same so that recovery could be effected as early as possible. - S  tandard Operating Procedure must be developed to handle the cases of missing children and to invoke appropriate provisions of law where trafficking, child labour, abduction, exploitation and similar issues are disclosed during investigation or after the recovery of the child, when the information suggests the commission of such offences. - T  he State authorities shall arrange for adequate Shelter Homes to be provided for missing children, who are recovered and do not have any place to go to. Such Shelter Homes or After-care Homes will have to be set up by the State Government concerned and funds to run the same will also have to be provided by the State Government together with proper infrastructure. Such Homes should be put in place within three months, at the latest. Any private Home, being run for the purpose of sheltering children, shall not be entitled to receive a child, unless forwarded by the Child Welfare Committee and unless they comply with all the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, including registration. Horilal Vs. Commissioner of Police, Delhi & Others 23 For effective search of kidnapped minor girls, the following steps shall be taken by the Investigation Officer in all the States: - P  ublish photographs of the missing persons in the newspaper, telecast them on Television promptly, and in any case, not later than one week of the receipt of the complaint. - P  hotographs of a missing person shall be given wide publicity at all the prominent outlets of the city/town/village concerned that is at the railway stations, Interstate bus stands, airport, regional passport office and through law enforcement personnel at border checkpoints. This should be done promptly and, in any case, not later than one week of the receipt of the complaint. But in case of a minor/major girl such photographs shall not be published without the written consent of the parents/guardians. - M  ake inquiries in the neighborhood, the place of work/study of the missing girl from friends, colleagues, acquaintance, relatives etc. immediately. Equally all the clues from the papers and belongings of the missing person should be promptly investigated. - C  ontact the principal, class teacher and students at the missing person’s most recent school/ educational institutions. Writ Petition (Cri.) No 610 of 1996

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International & National Protocol on Missing Children

- I f the missing girl or woman is employed somewhere, then to contact the most recent employer and her colleagues at the place of employment. - C  onduct an inquiry into the whereabouts from the extended family of relatives, neighbours, school teachers, including school friends of the missing girl or woman. - M  ake necessary inquiries whether there have been past incidents or reports of violence in the family. Role of investigation officer/agency: - D  iligently follow up to ensure that the records requested from the parents are obtained and examine them for clues. - H  ospitals and Mortuaries to be searched immediately after receiving the complaint (c) The reward for furnishing clues about missing person should be announced within a month of her disappearance. - Equally Hue and Cry notices shall be given within a month. - The investigation should be made through women police officers as far as possible. - T  he concerned police commissioner or the DIG/IG of the state police would find out the feasibility of establishing a multitask force for locating girl children and women. - F  urther, in the metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai the Investigating Officer should immediately verify the red light areas and try to find out the minor girls. If any minor girl (may or may not be recently brought there) is found, her permission be taken and she may be taken to the children’s home (Sec 34 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of the Children) Act 2000, and the I.O. to take appropriate steps that all medical /other facilities are provided to her. High Courtof Delhi Court on its Own Motion Vs State 24 - T  he children as directed on earlier occasion shall be produced on regular basis before the Member Secretary or the Officer on Special Duty or any other officer nominated by the Member Secretary including the empanelled lawyer. - T  he Member Secretary or the Officer on Special Duty or the nominated officer shall oversee the examination of young children and try to find out the cause for missing. - T  he Secretary, Social Welfare Department, in consultation with the Member Secretary DLSA and the Joint Commissioner of Police, the Nodal Officer for this purpose, shall constitute a Committee of counsellors who shall counsel the parents so that they shall not aggravate the trauma suffered by the children after their recovery.

24

W.P. (CRL) 249/2009 order dated 16/9/2009

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

- T  he Commissioner of Police shall issue instructions forthwith to the Investigating Officers, who shall keep track of the parents so that at the relevant time they can be produced before the NALSA or any other authority, which shall be giving the direction on future occasion so that the real reason for “missing� children can be known and the problem can be adequately addressed. - T  he Commissioner of Police shall select a team of officers who can sensitize the ground level police officers to deal with this kind of cases so that they would show their requisite sensitivity to the problem in issue and not show any indifferent or unconcerned attitude either to the parents or to the children. - T  he Secretary Education, GNCTD shall issue a circular to all the schools situated within the territory of Delhi that children facing this kind of problem, as it is not in their hands, are treated with utmost sensibility so that they do not abandon education. - N  o school without appropriate, adequate and substantial reason would strike off the name of a student knowing fully well that the student is missing without prior approval of the Secretary, Department of Education, GNCTD because we have directed that a circular has to be issued protecting the interest of the children and also for parental guidance. - T  he Nodal Officer shall see to it that the children belonging to various age groups and with different backgrounds shall be produced before the authorities of DLSA so that a comprehensive view can be projected before this Court. - The Commissioner of Police shall constitute a task force for proper investigation. - T  he Deputy Commissioner of Police shall oversee all investigations relating to missing children as it is stated before us that the children from the age of 3 to 8 are abducted and the sole purpose is trafficking. - T  he Commissioner of Police shall scrutinize the same and make an endeavour to engage more officers/ officials so that the children are rescued. If a child, who is missing, is not rescued or found for a period of six months, the case should be handed over to the Anti-Kidnapping Cell for effective investigation. - T  he Commissioner of Police shall evolve a standard operating procedure especially meant for missing children when a report is received in the police station or in the Police Control Room about the missing children. The said policy shall be produced before this Court on the next date of hearing.

Youth Group to the Rescue of Children in Distress Sanjay and Jayasurya are two minor boys aged 12 and 14 respectively. They were reported to have been sexually abused by a tea shop owner at Puliakulam area in Coimbatore. Some youth group members came to know about it and informed the local police. They filed an FIR with the police against the abuser. The police arrested the man. On 12th June 2012, on receiving a phone call about the children, the staff of Don Bosco AnbuIllam, a Homelink partner organization, along with the Childline staff, received the children from the police. The children were emotionally disturbed and were counselled by Don Bosco AnbuIllam staff. Later they were handed over to their parents. 28


International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

8. Missing Child and Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and Model Juvenile Justice Rules, 2007 The law of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 200025 as amended in 2006 is based on the several provisions of Constitution of India, including clause (3) of article 15, article 21, article 21A, clauses (1) and (2) of article 22, articles 23 and 24, clauses (e) and (f) of article 39, article 39 A, articles 45, 47 and 51 A (k), which oblige State as a primary duty bearer and is to ensure fulfill the needs of children and protecting their human rights. This act is also based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the 20th November, 1989 and ratified by India on 11th December 1992 which stress on overall development on the rights of the children including reintegration of children in the mainstream of the society within the overall umbrella of their right to survival, development, protection and participation. This act further guided by the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice, 1985 (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines), the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (1990) and all other international instruments that focus on child protection to set the minimum standard for administration of juvenile justice. 8.1 Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) •

 Child who is found without any home or settled place or abode and without any A ostensible means of subsistence;

 ho resides with a person who has threatened to kill or injure the child and there is a w reasonable likelihood of the threat being carried out;

 ho resides with a person who has killed, abused or neglected some other child or w children and there is a reasonable likelihood of the child in question being killed, abused or neglected by that person;

• •

 ho is mentally or physically challenged or ill children or children suffering from terminal w diseases or incurable diseases having no one to support or look after; who has a parent or guardian and such parent or guardian is unfit or incapacitated to exercise control over the child; who does not have parent and no one is willing to take care of; whose parents have abandoned him or who is missing and run away child and whose parents cannot be found after reasonable injury; who is being or is likely to be grossly abused, tortured or exploited for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts; who is found vulnerable and is likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking; who is being or is likely to be abused for unconscionable gains;

who is a victim of any armed conflict, civil commotion or natural calamity;

• • • •

www.wcd.nic.in/childprot/jjact2000.pdf

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

8.1.1 Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Child Welfare Committee is a group of members in each district for exercising the powers and discharges the duties given in relation to Child in Need of Care and Protection. Members of CWC The Committee shall consist of - a Chairperson - f our other members of whom at least one shall be a woman and another, an expert on matters concerning children as the State Government may think fit to appoint. Functioning of CWC •

The Committee shall function as a bench of Magistrates.

 WC shall have the powers conferred by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 on a C Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class.

Powers of Committee •

 he Committee shall have the final authority to dispose of cases for the care, protection, T treatment, development and rehabilitation of the children as well as to provide for their basic needs and protection of human rights.

Production of a Child before Committee by: • Any police officer • Special Juvenile Police Unit • A designated police officer • Any public servant • Childline, a registered voluntary organization • Any voluntary organization • An agency as may be recognized by the State Government • Any social worker • Public spirited citizen •

By the child himself

The child has to be produced before the committee within 24 hours without loss of time excluding the time necessary for the journey. Process of Inquiry:

30

The committee may pass an order to send the child to the children’s home for speedy inquiry by a social worker or child welfare officer.

The inquiry shall be completed within Four months.

 he time for the submission of the inquiry report may be extended by such period as the T Committee may consider suitable, having regard to the circumstances and for the reasons recorded in writing.


International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

After the completion of the inquiry, if the Committee is of the opinion that the said child has no family or ostensible support, it may allow the child to remain in the children’s home or shelter home till suitable rehabilitation is found for him or till he attains the age of eighteen years.

Children’s Home Children’s Homes are meant for the reception of a child in need of care and protection during the pendency of any inquiry and subsequently for their care, treatment, education, training, development and rehabilitation. Shelter Home The shelter homes shall function as drop-in-centres for the children in the need of urgent support. Procedure for dealing with of abandoned or missing children26 The abandoned child is usually produced in front of the CWC by the police or Child Welfare Officer (CWO). It is often that the abandoned child is found by the concerned citizens, brought by a hospital authority, or a representative of a home/NGO. In all such cases, the police must be informed. The CWC must insist that such children come through the police or Child Welfare Officer (CWO). This is because the Child may be missing or a lost child and family tracing can be facilitated through the police or Child Welfare Officer (CWO).

All institutions whether state government run or run by the voluntary organization for children in need of care and protection shall be registered under the Act.

Procedure to be followed when the abandoned child or a missing child is produced before the CWC Verify if the FIR is filed and the order for the Family tracing is given to the Police The child should be produced before the CWC within 24 hours (JJ Act 32 – 1), unless the child is unwell or hospitalised, in which case the CWC should be duly informed. The CWC need to first verify if an FIR or the missing complaint exist for the Child and the Complaint/Noting in the Police diary has been completed with the local police station (within 24 hrs) along with a photograph of a child. If this has not been done, the CWC shall order the Child Welfare Officer (CWO) to do so. To help trace the family of the child, wireless messages should be sent to all police stations, missing children’s bureau etc. Photo must be published in at least one leading local or national newspaper. It must be published in the home state of the child. The CWC also order Television Order memo for the police to advertise the found child over the TV mass media (in local language). Announcements should immediately be made at the place where the child has been located e.g., at the railway stations as well as the religious places like the temple, mosque etc. this should be done urgently, within a week, as the family is likely to be looking for the child, especially if the child is missing. http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

The CWC gives the next date within 15 days of the child being produced before it during which period the Protection Officer is to execute the above instructions and show proof of TVM and the photo publication in the newspaper. In the meanwhile, the child should be placed in a place of safety. Admit child in place of safety The Child should be admitted to the nearest children’s home. In case the child is able to indicate his/her place of residence/some clue about the place of residence or parents, then: •

CWC can issue an order to SJPU/POs/NGOs to verify the information.

 WC can issue order to SJPU/POs/NGO to escort the child up to his place of residence C and to verify the information.

If the child has claimant/s 1. During the process of inquiry by PO and the police, if the parents are traced, the CWC shall summon them to appear before the CWC within a week of the delivery of summons. The CWC will try and understand if the child was missing or if the child had been abandoned. If a ‘missing’ complaint had been made by the parents with the police, the child should be handed over to the parents without delay. 2. If the child was abandoned, the CWC will try and understand the causes for which the child was abandoned and assess whether the parents are fit to take responsibility for the child and if so, the parents / extended family will be counselled to assume responsibility for the child. 3. If they wish to surrender the child, they will have to execute a proper surrender document consenting for the child’s adoption /guardianship /suitable rehabilitation. If the child is below 12 years and has been wilfully abandoned by his/her parents, an FIR may be registered against the parents for offence u/s 317 of the IPC. Documents required from the claimants of the child: Whoever comes to claim the custody of the child should have the following documents: • Documentary evidence such as birth certificate of the child, his/her school leaving certificate stating the claimants as parents /guardians and family photograph if available. • If the ‘missing’ complaint has been reported at the local police station, the ‘missing’ complaint number and the letter from the police station stating the complaint should be received. This cannot be replaced by an NOC from the police. • Police report verifying that the claimant is the parent /guardian of the child and the police have no objection to the handover of the child to the claimants. • The CWC will cross-question the parents and verify using different means to establish the veracity of the parents such as a telephonic call to the sarpanch of the village, etc. Restoring of the child to parents /guardians and discharge from the institutions Based on the documents produced by the claimants, the report of the police or the report of the Protection Officer recommending restoration of the child to the claimants, the CWC should make 32


International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

its own assessment of whether the parents /guardian s are fit to look after the child and then pass an order that they find the parents /guardians fit and hand over the child to the parents /guardian (JJ Act 39-3(a)). The CWC can hand over the child to the parents /relatives /guardian after signing a bond that clarifies the responsibility of the parents. Refusing custody to parents/claimants If through questioning, the CWC establishes that there is substantial evidence indicating that the parents/claimants are not fit individuals (as per definition of the unfit parents) then, in the best interests of the child, the CWC can admit the child in the children’s Home for not more than one year. The CWC should clearly indicate the reason for the decision. The CWC should recommend counselling or other support services for the parents so that their capacity is enhanced to take care of the child and the child can be reintegrated with the family in the shortest possible time. The CWC should review the decision of institutionalization of the child at least once in 6 months; if required, the CWC may extend the period of institutionalization. The CWC should allow frequent interactions with the child’s family which might lead to the integration of the child into the family in future. The CWC should also explore options of scholarship/kinship that could be available for the child thus making institutionalization the last resort. If there is no claimant If the parent /parents fail to respond to the notice issued in the regional and national newspaper and TV announcements or are not located through the police or NGO missing person links, the CWC may come to the conclusion that the child was abandoned by the parents. Declaration of the Child being legally free for adoption After due process of inquiry, and once the CWC is satisfied that all possible efforts have been made to locate the parents/guardians, the CWC can declare that the child is legally free for adoption, and place the child in a Children’s Home /fit institution which is licensed for adoption. Repatriation for the missing Child from another State or Country If the child’s residence is in a different state/country then, after verification of the information given by the Child, the Commissioner’s office will be informed of the details given by the child. CWC can send the child to the CWC of the districts nearest to the child’s home in the other state, with the permission of the Commissioner’s office DWCD. The procedure related to the transfer will have to be followed.

8.2 Juvenile in Conflict with the Law “Juvenile in conflict with law” means a juvenile who is supposed to have committed an offence. 8.2.1 Juvenile Justice Board (JJB): Juvenile Justice Boards are meant for exercising the powers and discharging the duties in relation to juveniles in conflict with law under this act. 33


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Constitution of Juvenile Justice Board: - A JJB shall consist of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class and the Magistrate on the Board shall be designated as the principal Magistrate. - Two social workers of whom at least one shall be a woman. - It works as a Bench - It has the powers given to the judicial officers of the first class by the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 Procedure in Relation to the Board: -

 Juvenile in conflict with law may be produced before an individual member of the A Board, when the Board is not sitting.

-

It is important to remember that no order made by the Board shall be invalid by reason only of the absence of any member during any stage of proceedings but there shall be at least two members including the principal Magistrate present at the time of final disposal of the case.

Powers of Juvenile Justice Board: -

 he Board has power to deal with the proceedings under this Act, relating to juveniles in T conflict with law.

Observation Home: -

Observation Home is for the temporary reception of any juvenile in conflict with law during the pendency of any inquiry regarding them under this Act.

Special Homes: -

 pecial Homes may be required for reception and rehabilitation of juvenile in conflict S with law under this Act.

Apprehension of Juvenile in Conflict with Law: As soon as a juvenile in conflict with law is apprehended by the police: - S/he shall be placed under the charge of the special juvenile police unit or the designated police officer. - The parents of the child shall be informed immediately. - If it is not possible to find out parents / guardians of a juvenile in conflict with the law, the police officer concerned should produce the child before the concerned Juvenile Justice Board within 24 hours, excluding the journey time. - A wireless message with particulars of the juvenile should be sent immediately to all the police stations. - The previous records of the missing children should be checked in all the police stations. - Photographs of the juvenile should be taken for her/his identity. - 34

If the child belongs to other state and is able to give some identifiable address then a wireless message should be sent immediately to the concerned SSP/ Police station.


International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

- - - -

- - - -

If the child belongs to the other state and speaks different language a translator should be arranged immediately for proper communication. The Board shall satisfy that the child has not been kept in lockup or jail prior to the production. And that s/he was also not beaten up or harassed by the police. Girls should not be taken by the police between sunset and sunrise. And if the circumstances warrant then she should be kept under the care of an observation home or place of safety. All the proceedings in this regard should be done by the lady police officer. The Board shall always communicate with the child in a child-friendly manner and in a home-like environment. The Board can order for the Social Investigation Report from the Probation Officers/ Person-in-charge, Voluntary organization/Social Worker/Case worker. “Best interests of the child” means a decision taken to ensure the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and moral development of the juvenile or the child27 . “Child friendly” means any process and interpretation, attitude, environment and treatment, that is humane, considerate and in the best interest of the child28.

Time Period of Inquiry: -

I nquiry regarding the case of juvenile shall be completed within a period of four months from the date of its commencement, unless the period is extended by the Board and it shall be made in writing.

8.3 Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) What is SJPU? 29 SJPU or the Special Juvenile Police Unit is a unit of the police at the district level for handling matters concerning juveniles and also children in need of care and protection. The SJPUs are headed by the SP/DCP with Dy. SP/ACP as Nodal Officer and consists of: •

A Designated Inspector Rank Police Officer

Two Social Workers, of whom at least one should be a woman

The designated Juvenile / Child Welfare Officers (CWO) of the police station

 GOs invited and recognized by the police for providing assistance in cases involving N children

1. A  Child Welfare Officer dealing with children in need of care and protection should follow the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, Amendment Act 2006 and JJ Rules 2007.

www.wcd.nic.in/childprot/jjact2000.pdf www.wcd.nic.in/childprot/jjact2000.pdf 29 www.dpjju.org 27 28

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2. A  Child Welfare Officer while handling children in need of care and protection should always be in plainclothes. 3. A Child Welfare Officer should have the list of: • List of names, addresses and phone numbers of Child Welfare Committee(s). • List of homes/fit institutions recognized and certified under the JJ Act. • L  ist of various governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) working with children in the area. • A list of government hospitals, with pediatric unit for the medical aid. • List of members of SJPUs in the state. 4. He /she should also be conversant with the provisions of all the child related laws. 5. T  he Child Welfare Officer should take with him/her all the basic necessities including medical and food requirements of the child as long as the child remains in her/his charge. 8.4 Procedure to be adopted in case of different categories of children Child Sexual Abuse:

I f the child is in need of care and protection as per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, Amendment Act 2006, the case has to be handed over to the Child Welfare Officer and simultaneously the Child Welfare Committee need to be informed.

In all the cases of Child Sexual Abuse the following procedure has to be followed: • T  he Investigating Officer shall ensure that the child victim is medically examined at the earliest preferably within twenty-four hours (in accordance with Section 164-A Cr. P. C) at the nearest government hospital or hospital recognized by the government. • T  he investigation of the case shall be referred to an officer not below the rank of SubInspector, preferably a lady officer, sensitized by imparting appropriate training to deal with child victims of sexual crime. • The statement of the victim shall be recorded verbatim. • T  he officer recording the statement of the child victim should not be in police uniform. The statement of the child victim shall be recorded at the residence of the victim or at any other place where the victim can make a statement freely without fear. • T  he parents of the child or any other person in whom the child reposes trust and confidence will be allowed to remain present. • T  he Investigating Officer should ensure that at no point should the child victim come in contact with the accused. • T  he child victim shall not be kept in the police station overnight on any pretext, whatsoever, including medical examination.

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International & National Conceptualization Protocol on of Missing Children

• T  he Investigating Officer recording the statement of the child victim shall ensure that the victim is made comfortable before proceeding to record the statement and that the statement carries accurate narration of the incident covering all relevant aspects of the case. • T  he Investigating Officer shall ensure that the investigating team visits the site of the crime at the earliest to secure and collect all incriminating evidence available. The Investigating Officer shall promptly refer to the forensic laboratory for forensic examination of clothing and articles necessary to be examined, which shall deal with such cases on priority basis to make its report available at an early date. • T  he investigation of the cases involving sexually abused child may be investigated on a priority basis and completed preferably within ninety days of the registration of the case. The investigation shall be periodically supervised by senior officer/s. • T  he Investigating Officer shall ensure that the identity of the child victim is protected from publicity. Found Child - (Street children, Child beggars, Missing/lost children, Homeless children and Runaway children) a) R  egister a detailed DD entry. Write the full name and mobile number of the concerned police officers. b) A wireless message with particulars of the child should be sent immediately. c) The previous records of the missing children should be checked. d) Photographs of the child found should be taken for his/her identity. e) Particulars of the child must be telecast on electronic media. f)

The information should be passed on immediately to the police department.

g) I f the child belongs to other state and is able to give some identifiable address, then a wireless message should be sent immediately to the concerned SSP/ Police station. h) I f it is not possible to find out parent/guardian of a child, the police officer concerned should produce the child before the concerned Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours, excluding the journey time. i)

The child should be placed in the home immediately.

j)

I n case the Child Welfare Committee is not sitting, the order for her/his placement in the home shall be taken telephonically and to be endorsed in the next sitting or the child to be taken to the residence of the individual member of the committee.

k) I f a child needs any medical care or food and other basic amenities it should be given immediately without any delay.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Children Rescued from Child Labour On Tuesday, 19th March 2013, thirteen children were rescued by Dabri Police from a garment factory in West Delhi. The rescued children were reported to be between the ages of 8 to 18 years. They came from some poor families in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The traffickers brought them to Delhi making false promises of better prospects. However the reality turned out to be very tragic for these young children. They had to work as many as 15 hours a day without getting proper wages. The working conditions were deplorable. They had no freedom of movement. They could not leave the employment for 3 to 6 months. The rescued children were rehabilitated by Don Bosco Ashalayam as per the orders of CWC, South West Delhi.

The Great Escape Sumit Kumar is 14 years old. He was unable to face physical abuse in the factory where he worked. He was scared, yet somehow he managed to escape and reach Mumbai. The staff from Don Bosco Bal Prafulta rescued him from the streets of Mumbai. The staff immediately called the police control room (100). Through the police network, Sumit’s parents were traced. He was happily reunited with his parents. He now continues his studies enthusiastically.

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Part Three Interventions on Missing Children


Missing Children:Who Cares?

9. Interventions of Government of India The various ministries and departments of Government, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Supreme Court and different legislations on children’s Act have put some efforts through its legal framework as mandatory to protect the children of India. The Government of India has formulated different policies and Acts for the control and elimination of trafficking problem in our country. For ensuring a protection and safety living, the government of India has initiated numerous policies and programmes for the children through different ministries. The victims of this social issue are mainly women and children. Some of the specific Acts in legislations and pertinent Ministries related with child protection is quoted below along with the interventions they have introduced. 9.1 Legislations  The Government of India has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Group to consider and recommend proposals for the amendment to the special legislation in India titled as “Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956”.  The Ministry of Women and Child has notified the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 to strengthen the legal provisions for the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation.  The Union Cabinet has recommended the amendment of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation ) Act, 1986 to bring it in conformity with the Right to Education Act 2012 as mandated in Article 21-A of the Constitution of India.  The Government of India has also notified rules for the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2000 and almost all states have adopted the model rules in their State Rules.  The Government of India has strengthened the application and enforcement of the Emigration Act, 1983 to regulate the recruitment agencies.  The Government of India has amended the Code of Criminal Procedure in 2009 and included Section 357-A relating to victim compensation, thus making victim compensation a reality in India. 9.2 Judicial Interventions  T  he Supreme Court of India has nominated the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) and the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) to conduct training and sensitization programmes for all Juvenile Police Units across the country.  T  he Supreme Court has appointed the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to monitor the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000.  T  he Supreme Court has inserted Article 21-A in the India Act, 2002 which provides that the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the state may, by law, determine30. http://www.academia.edu/1256733/ROLE_OF_INDIAN_JUDICIARY_IN_PROTECTION_OF_RIGHTS_OF_ THE_ CHILDREN, p 3.

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 T  he Supreme Court added under Art. 24 in Employment of Children Act, 1938 that children under 14 could not be employed in a hazardous occupation.  T  he Supreme Court has laid down detailed guidelines for combating human trafficking in India. The Supreme Court in 2012 has issued notice to all states on the issue of missing children.  T  he High Courts of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana have passed detailed orders to register FIR in cases of missing children. 9.3 Ministry of Home Affairs  T  he initiative of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for creating an Anti-Trafficking Cell has led to the strengthening of the law enforcement response to the organized crime of human trafficking. The Ministry has initiated 225 AHTU’s across the country (as of August 2012) which has led to the increase in registration of cases and strengthening of prosecutions.  ‘ The Advisories (Refer Annexure: VI) issued by the MHA has led to the strengthening of various legal procedures and investigations of cases of human trafficking. The State Governments have been asked to implement the advisories and send action taken reports.  T  he Judicial Colloquiums created in at the High Court level and a mandate is being created by the high courts to ensure fast trials of cases of human trafficking and dealing with victims in a sensitive way.  T  he Ministry has created a set of 12 Manuals for the training of law enforcement agencies in collaboration with UNODC. 9.4 Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD)  T  he MWCD is the Nodal Ministry for the implementation of legislations pertaining to the care and protection of women and children, such as The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act,1956 (ITPA), Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.  T  he Ministry has formulated a National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children in 1998, to mainstream and to reintegrate women and child victims of commercial sexual exploitation in society. It has constituted a Central Advisory Committee (CAC) which functions under the Chairpersonship of the Secretary, MWCD, Government of India with members from Central Ministries, State Governments, prominent INGOS & NGOs working in this area, Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB), National Institute of Public Co-operation and Child Development (NIPCCD), Directors (NCRB, BSF, IB, CBI, SSB) to look into the issues of trafficking, particularly child trafficking. The State Advisory Committees (SAC) were constituted under the orders of the Supreme Court in the states for a similar purpose.  T  he coordination and convergence between Women and Child Departments with the AHTUs have been initiated. It has formulated a Protocol for Pre-rescue, Rescue and Postrescue operations of child victims of trafficking for the purpose of Commercial Sexual 41


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Exploitation. It undertakes research, studies and surveys on issues related to trafficking. It prepares schemes and policies for the fight against human trafficking in India.  T  he Ministry has few formulated programmes and schemes (Ujjawala Scheme, Swadhar Greh and Integrated Child Protection Scheme) for the welfare of children who are in need of care and protection.  U  nder the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), the Ministry has initiated some institutional mechanisms in many states such as State Child Protection Society (SCPS) in 23 states, State project Support Unit (SPSU) in 21 states.31 The latest information available on constitution of CWCs in all 34 States/Union Territories (UTs) falling under the JJ Act, show that the number of total CWCs across the country has risen to 617. This implies that the situation is gradually improving and only 22 of 638 districts (excluding J&K) currently lack a CWC and the Government has urged that these remaining CWCs be established by the respective State Governments at the earliest (MWCD Conference Report, 2013, February 28).32 But the census 2011 reveals that there are 672 districts33 in India. The Ministry has expanded the CHILDLINE network to 291cities/districts in 30 states34 under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. The Ministry is also taking steps to bring a monitoring mechanism for the shelter homes.  T  he Ministry has initiated National Tracking System for Missing and Vulnerable Children. This portal is dedicated to the cause of tracking Missing and vulnerable Children. This portal will hold the database of children, who are staying at different Child Care Institute (CCI) and track their progress. It also aims to track down every missing child of this country.35 9.5 Ministry of Labour and Employment  T  he Ministry of Labour and Employment has drafted and operationalized the Protocol which provides practical guidelines to key stakeholders on crucial issues relating to prevention, rescue, repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficked and migrant child labour. The guidelines in the protocol applies to any migrant or trafficked child labour in the country, irrespective of the child’s home state or country of origin, without any discrimination on the grounds of gender, caste, language, ethnicity, religion or origin.  T  he National Child Labour Policy (NCLP) was approved by the Cabinet on 14th August 1987 during the Seventh Five Year Plan Period. The policy was formulated with the basic objective of suitably rehabilitating the children withdrawn from employment thereby reducing the incidence of child labour in areas of known concentration of child labour. This is the largest and most structured intervention in the area of child labour in India is http://wcd.nic.in/icpsmon/st_icpssanc13-14.aspx, Sanctions under ICPS for 2013-14, provides the list of States, which are budgeted for SCPS and SPSU 32 http://ncpcr.gov.in/showfile.php?lang=1&level=2&&sublinkid=295&lid=734, CHILD WELFARE COMMITTEES IN INDIA, A comprehensive analysis aimed at strengthening the Juvenile Justice System for children in need of care and protection. March 2013, pp. 28-29 33 http://censusindia.gov.in/Census_Data_2001/Census_data_finder/A_Series/Number_of_District.htm 34 http://www.childlineindia.org.in/1098/1098.htm 35 http://www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in/trackchild/index.php# 31 

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Interventions on Missing Children

the National Child Labour Projects (NCLP). The NCLP Scheme targets children below 14 years of age working in specific areas of hazardous work, listed as 15 Occupations and 57 processes in the Schedule to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986. Under the scheme, a survey of child labour engaged in hazardous occupations/ processes is conducted, following which the children are withdrawn from work and admitted to special schools in order to enable them to be mainstreamed into the formal schooling system. These schools are often referred as “bridge centres”, underlying their inherent temporary function and the importance of mainstreaming children into school as their ultimate objective. The programme, centrally managed by the Ministry of Labour (MoL), was launched in 9 districts in 1987 and has been expanded in January 2005 to 250 districts in 21 different states of the country. So far, 400,200 working children, have been covered under the scheme and about 308,000 children have been mainstreamed into formal education system.36  G  rant-in-Aid (G.I.A.) scheme for financial assistance to organizations (voluntary and nongovernmental) for taking up action Programmes/projects for the benefit of child labour was revised in 2003. Extensive awareness generation campaign against child labour is being launched in the print and electronic media.  A  s an amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, in August 2012 the Cabinet had approved a complete ban on employment of children below 14 years in any industry - hazardous or non-hazardous and on employment of children below 18 years in hazardous industries. The violation of it is a cognizable offence. These amendmentsare meant to ensure that all the children are compulsorily admitted in schools as per the mandate Right to Education Act, 2009 instead of being employed at workplaces. Thus, the Government of India ratified ILO Convention 138 (minimum age for entry to employment) and Convention 182 (prohibition of employment of persons below 18 years in hazardous occupations).  A  Task Force was set up for domestic workers in the context of a regulatory mechanism and providing social security such as inclusion of domestic work as employment in the Schedule and fix minimum rate of wages, registration of placement agencies providing domestic workers under the Shops and Establishment Act, and health insurance – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana 37 - to unorganized workers, whose children are often found missing or vulnerable to trafficking. The eligibility criterion under this scheme is an unorganized sector workers belonging to BPL category and their family members (a family unit of five) shall be the beneficiaries. 9.6 Department of Education  T  he Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, representing the consequential legislation to the Constitutional (86th Amendment) Act, 2002, was enforced with effect from 1st April, 2010. The RTE Act secures the right of children to free and compulsory education till completion of elementary education in a neighbourhood school. http://www.unicef.org/india/child_protection_2900.htm http://labour.nic.in/content/schemes/rashtriya-swasthya-bima-yojana.php

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

The Act lays down the norms and standards relating to pupil teacher ratios, buildings and infrastructure, school working days and teacher working hours. The process of aligning the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan strategies and norms with the RTE mandate was initiated. Right to Education (RTE) Act and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) aims at universalization of elementary education amongst children in the age group of 6 – 14 years.  R  ashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan has been launched is 2009-2010. The overall goal of this programme is to provide universal access to secondary level education by 2017, i.e., by the end of 12th Five Year Plan and to achieve an universal retention (75 %) by 2020.  A  global report by the World Food Project (WFP) for 2013 on 169 countries has said that India has the largest school feeding programme in the world, catering to over 114 million children, but stands 12th among 35 lower-middle-income countries covering 79 per cent of its total number of school-going children.38  B  esides, the department has initiated other important schemes, such as, Model Schools Scheme, Girls Hostel Scheme, Inclusive Education for Disabled at Secondary Stage, Scheme of Vocational Education, National Means-cum Merit Scholarship Scheme, National Incentive to Girls, etc. 9.7 Ministry of Railways  T  he Hon’ble High Court of Delhi disposed a Writ Petition (Civil) No. 5365/2012 (filled by Ms. Kushboo Vs Union of India) with certain directions for safeguarding of right of children at railway stations. Through further initiative from NCPCR, on 11th December 2013, the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for protection of child rights at Railway Stations in India. It has formulated Child Protection Committee (CPC)/Railways in the all the major railway stations in the country. Ministry has created various cadres to protect the children in the times of trafficking and in the situation of vulnerability. The railway authorities are expected to work with all the stakeholders for the cause of child’s safety and protection. 9.8 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment  T  he Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is entrusted with the empowerment of the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of the society. The Target groups of the Department are: (i) Scheduled Castes, (ii) Other Backward Classes, (iii) Senior Citizens and (iv) Victims of Substance Abuse. The Ministry has introduced pre & post matric scholarship for the scheduled caste students named umbrella-scheme - Scheme for Development of Scheduled Castes. 9.9 Ministry of Rural Development  B  eing the nodal Ministry for most of the development and welfare activities in the rural areas, the Ministry of Rural Development plays a pivotal role in the overall development strategy of the country. The Ministry of Rural Development is implementing a number http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/indias-midday-meal-scheme-ranked-12th-amonglowermiddleincome-countries/article5441145.ece

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of programmes in rural areas through the state Governments for poverty reduction, employment generation, rural infrastructure habitant development, provision of basic minimum services. These programmes are mainly intending to raise the standard of life in community as well as family level. For example, the Prime Minister’s Rural Development (PMRD) Fellowship is being implemented in collaboration with State Governments39. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is an Indian law that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’ and ensure livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work40. The advantage of such scheme or program in the rural areas is the increase in monthly per capita consumption expenditure of rural households and sustainable livelihood, which could assist the family to take care of their family members and prevent child running away. 9.10 Ministry of Law and Justice  T  he Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 is applicable to the whole of India . The Act of 2012 looks into a support system for children through a friendly atmosphere in the criminal justice system with the existing machinery i.e. the CWC and the commission. 9.11 Ministry of Panchayati Raj  T  hough the ministry does not have any direct initiatives for children, the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) are trying to empower the people of the rural areas in solving their problems by their own initiatives assisted by the government institution. For this purpose, the ministry has brought a novel idea to impart awareness through Community radio stations throughout the country.

Human Trafficking beyond national borders Child trafficking takes place with a method. Twenty-three Nepali girls in the age group of 8 to 16 were taken by an agent with the promise of free education in South India. As there was no communication from the agent or the children, the parents approached Ms. Esther of Benjamin Memorial Foundation, an NGO affiliated to the Social Welfare Council of Nepal. She in turn reported the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted Childline India. After the initial inquiry Don Bosco AnbuIllam and the Child Welfare Committee of Coimbatore were contacted for the rescue of girls. On 12th Sept. 2012, Don Bosco AnbuIllam, through a network of NGOs, rescued all the 23 young Nepali girls. They were studying in a private orphanage attached to a school in Coimbatore. After completing the legal procedures, the girls returned to Nepal and the child trafficker was taken to task. http://rural.nic.in/sites/programmes_PMRDFS.asp Ministry of Rural Development (2005), “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (Mahatma Gandhi NREGA)”. “Ministry of Rural Development”, Government of India. Retrieved 5 November 2013, p. 1 41 wcd.nic.in/childact/childprotection31072012.pdf 39

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

10. Interventions of State Government From the analysis of the data from NCRB (2010-2012) for three years on missing children, it is evident that some states are posing as a severe threat to children for their protection and survival. A few states have emerged as critical states such as Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Assam in terms of lack of protection for the children and some states are showing a favorable atmosphere for their growth and development. However, the problem of missing children is spreading extensively. It is imperative to all the state governments to protect the children as precious human capital and provide a safe platform for them to develop as potential productive resources to build our society and our country. All the state governments have taken a great effort to protect the children. Still the problem of missing children is measured on the success of tracing and reintegrating them with their family, where there is home-like environment. This sort of success lays on each government initiatives. Hereby, this particular study highlights the initiatives of those states, which have shown high prevalence of missing children. Apart from the interventions taken by central and state governments as well as the initiatives of NGOs, their limitations are also highlighted for better delivery of services to the voiceless and powerless children. 10.1 Maharashtra • T  he Maharashtra government prepared a State Plan of Action with the participation of different Departments to combat the issue of missing children. • A  State Level Advisory Committee and District Level Advisory Committee in all districts were constituted to combat child trafficking. • It has established a Fast Track Court in Mumbai, for speedy trial of child trafficking cases. • T  he State government has appointed social workers for 35 districts as per the requirement of Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act. • R  egular sensitization workshops are being done for senior police officials, officials of judiciary, Child Welfare Committees (CWCs). • It has ‘Homes’ and ‘Shishu Grehs’ under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). • S  pecial Juvenile Police Officers have been appointed and created a cadre of the Special Police Officers to combat child trafficking. • A  ll the Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) are equipped with infrastructure like vehicles, furniture, mobile and landline phones. • T  he AHTU of Maharashtra is regularly conducting training cum workshops for the police officers, AHTUs, NGOs and prosecutors. • M  aharashtra government has traced the missing children in good number and recorded for its proactive policing. 10.2 West Bengal • T  he Missing Persons Bureau of CID, in West Bengal has been actively profiling each and every reported case in the Missing Persons Website of West Bengal by means of Doordarshan, All India Radio, Daily News Paper and also through Criminal Intelligence Gazette, etc. 46


Interventions on Missing Children

• W  est Bengal Police had initiated a Missing Children Tracking Portal (MCTP) to track the missing child. • The government has formed a State level Advisory Committee. • T  he State government has initiated awareness generation programme at grassroots level through Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and Anganwadi centers. • T  he government has roped in Panchayats to maintain registers on missing children and also a list of people migrating to other places in India. • I t has established a special cell as Protection of Women and Children Cell in all the districts. • T  hrough establishment of AHTUs there is an increase of registered cases, rescue operations and more convictions and have initiated partnership with various civil society organizations across the country to help in rescue of trafficked victims from the state. AHTUs have been working proactively to prosecute various inter-state trafficking rackets operating from West Bengal. • T  he West Bengal Police has been organizing workshops/meetings for the sensitization of the police personnel and the related stakeholders of child protection. 10.3 Madhya Pradesh • M  adhya Pradesh (M.P.) state government has been running Jabala Yojana for overall care and protection for the girl child. • T  he AHTU has undertaken several interstate police operations to rescue and recover victims of child trafficking. • T  he state government has failed to implement the child proactive programmes though it is mandatory for all the states. • The following aspects of protection for children show a dismal performance of the state: • S  JPUs set-ups are not according to the norms, some units do not function 24X7 norm42 and the authorities claimed about it as a functioning manner. • T  he government of M.P. had not implemented the Victim Compensation Scheme. The implementation of the ICPS scheme has been slow. • The function, infrastructure, documentation of Child Welfare Committees are poor. 10.4 Delhi • Z  onal Integrated Police Network (ZIPNET) programme has been initiated by Delhi police with the collaboration of police departments of neighbouring states to share the information in real-time with regard to missing children. The High Court issued orders to Delhi Police to register all complaints of missing children as FIRs. The information with regard to missing children is uploaded on Delhi Police’s web site (www.zipnet.org). High rate of partnership between NGOs and police resulted in identification of more trafficked cases. SarkarSravani R, Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice Units Limping, Hindustan Times, Bhopal, July 05, 2013.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

• T  he Delhi Police has been collaborating with various State AHTUs across the country to proactively pursue the cases of child trafficking. • T  he AHTUs are working in close coordination with some NGOs, Department of Women and Child Development, Labour Department, Health Department, etc. • T  he AHTUs in Delhi have been maintaining a close vigil at railway stations and bus stands in coordination with some NGOs involved in service delivery for spotting and rescuing the victims. It has also undertaken steps to improve interstate police collaboration among various police agencies across the country. • T  o save the girl child, the Delhi government has initiated a scheme for scholarship to the school going girl child. • T  he government of NCT of Delhi has sanctioned 25 Child Protection Homes, 7 CWCs under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. • T  he National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) after holding consultation with various stakeholders and after conducting research and survey, submitted to the High Court a Delhi Action Plan for Total Abolition of Child Labour. 10.5 Andhra Pradesh • T  he Andhra Pradesh government has proactive policy to recover the missing children and succeed in high rate of recovery of missing cases. • T  he government has framed a comprehensive policy and action plan for covering various aspects such as prevention, rescue, repatriation, economic empowerment, health care, education, housing, legal reforms and creation of corpus fund. • T  he policy recognized the need for planning and coordination both at the district and the state level for addressing the deep rooted causes of child trafficking and also taking adequate measures for psychological support, economic empowerment and re-integration. • D  istrict-level Committees were also created for taking up activities for prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of victims. • T  he government has formulated the Andhra Pradesh State Plan of Action for Children 2009-10 for preventing and combating child trafficking. • A  special court has been designated to try cases of child trafficking in Hyderabad. Andhra Pradesh Government is one of the first state governments to designate Nodal NGOs for Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs). • There is a provision for video conferencing with child victims. • A  ndhra Pradesh is the first state to issue a Government Order providing victim compensation. • A  ndhra Pradesh has also notified Minimum standards of Care and Protection for victims of human trafficking in the various shelter homes and rehabilitation programme.

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Interventions on Missing Children

10.6 Assam • S  tate level Advisory Committee was established for the rescue of victims of commercial sexual exploitation and for the protection, counseling and rehabilitation. • D  epartment of Assam Police has initiated the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) in every district and designated of Police Officers as Child Welfare Officers. • O  n safety of children, the Assam Police CID has been ear-marked as a specialized investigative agency. Government has established networks with some NGOs, policy makers and police to facilitate rescue, rehabilitation and repatriation of the trafficked victims. • T  he government of West Bengal has roped in Panchayats to maintain registers on missing children. • V  igilance committees have been constituted in trafficking prone villages with Gram Pradhan, Gram Panchayat President, Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, school teachers to keep track of the number of girls migrated/missing from the village. • E  stablished an Anti-Trafficking Committee at the village level to monitor the movement of children by involving Panchayati Raj institutions, Village Defence Parties (VDPs) and Anganwadi workers, etc. • S  ensitization programme is initiated to the grass root agencies at District, Block and Panchayat level. • C  reated synergy among various government/non-government stakeholders/agencies, like, social welfare, legal empowerment, health, NGOs, women’s group, Information and Public Relations Department. • A  ssam government initiated partnership with various civil society organizations across the country to help in rescue of trafficked/missing children from Assam.

10.7 Specific Interventions by State Governments Many of the states have been proactively addressing human trafficking issues and taking measures to strengthen the law enforcement and institutional machineries. The various state governments are proactive to the problem of missing children and taken effective steps to prevent the issue. The steps taken by different state governments are depicted below to highlight the interest taken by states in the best interest of the child.  The Supreme Court issued notices on ban to the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu where the practice of Devadassi religious traditional practice persists43.  The State of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala have created a State Plan of Action (SPA) to combat human trafficking. Bihar Government has notified a scheme (Astitiva) and maintained the register for migrated children in Gram Panchayat level for combating child labour in the state. It has constituted raiding teams and flying squads to eradicate child labour and to free working children. http://www.dfn.org.uk/news/news/169-india-sets-up-special-units-to-tackle-human-trafficking. html, “Supreme Court shocked by ritual sex slavery in India

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 The State of Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Punjab have initiated the Victim Compensation scheme.  Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Rajasthan and West Bengal have proactive State Advisory Committee to coordinate convergence among various stakeholders.  The Government of Jharkhand, aware of the rampant trafficking of women and children, has set up a Women and Child Helpline in Delhi by providing assistance to NGO Bharatiya Kisan Sangh. Thus it has sanctioned a shelter home in Delhi for coordinating the rescue and repatriation of children. Diya Seva Sansthan in collaboration with CID, Jharkhand Police and UNICEF Jharkhand has launched a Helpline Number -09471300008 for Missing and Trafficked Children of Jharkhand.  The State of Andhra Pradesh has put in place minimum standards of care in shelter homes of victims of trafficking. These standards ensure that the safety, dignity and well-being are provided for each victim.  For the eradication of prostitution among the notified tribes in Madhya Pradesh, the government of Madhya Pradesh has been running a special scheme for overall care and protection for the girl child called the Jabala Yojana.  Maharashtra Government is the first state government to create a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Child Welfare Committees. There is good interdepartmental relationship for the speedy recovery and reintegration of the victims. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi Police have taken proactive steps to trace missing children and women. In these states the percentage of recovery of missing children and women has increased considerably. Gujarat Police has started special drives in all the cities and districts to trace the missing children and to help the children in crisis situation, constituted four “Child Crisis Intervention Centre”.  Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab are registering FIR in cases of missing children.  Delhi Police has created a “zipnet” network of ten states for profiling missing children and missing persons.  The West Bengal Police has created a website for profiling missing and found children.  AHTUs across the country have initiated a database of traffickers.  Some sexual offences are currently covered under different sections of IPC. The IPC does not provide for all types of sexual offences against children and, more importantly, does not distinguish between adult and child victims. Hence, the central government has issued Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.  Rajasthan government raised the age limit of child labour from 14 to 18 years. Rajasthan government started a child tracking system to trace missing children with the help of the education department.

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Interventions on Missing Children

 Delhi Police as per its mandate under the Juvenile Justice Act has created the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPUs) in each of the 11 police district with a purpose to co-ordinate and upgrade police treatment of the Juvenile and the children. Every Police Station has designated two or three police officers with necessary aptitude, appropriate training and orientation as Juvenile or Child Welfare Officer 44.  Child friendly railway station: Railway Children Surveillance and Protection Mechanism have created a Child Friendly Station for the protection and rehabilitation of children from railway platforms in Bangalore and Lucknow with the collaboration of NGOs.  In Orissa, The Task Force on non-institutional care was constituted with members from six leading organizations working on child protection issues. The purpose of this initiative is to advocate and implement preventive measures at community level to retain the child with family.  UNICEF has initiated to mobilize the communities for the creation of Child Protection Committees with the collaboration of state governments of A.P., Assam, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, U.P. and West Bengal by keeping the purpose of mobilizing the community to take responsibility for protecting children from various hazardous situations.  In Haryana, registration of Homes and child care institutions were done by the Director General through a quick survey in all Homes that give residential support for children in need of care & protection for ensuring Protection and Care of children in Child Care Institutions (CCIs) in a facilitating approach to the programme for the welfare of the children.45  In promotion of gender equity and quality education, several initiatives are being implemented in states, such as, Balika Chetana programme (Andhra Pradesh), Life Skills Training Programme (Assam), Meena Activities (Bihar and Uttar Pradesh), Jagruthi Shibhira (Karnataka), Special coaching for girls in Manipur, Introduction of lady counsellors (Orissa), Prathiva Parva (MP), Pervesh (Punjab), ABL and ALM (TN) Gunwatta (Bihar), Gunotsav (Gujarat), Sambalan (Rajasthan), Samiksha (Orissa) MRM, Drop-in Centres (Jharkhand) and Meena Raju Manch (Maharashtra).

Child Safety Net in Action – Rescue and Restoration On 4th November 2012, Childline of Don Bosco Ashalayam received an urgent call from Mr. Pankaj, the Sub-Inspector of Nangloi Police Station, New Delhi. They had found Ashish, a 4-year-old child who had been kidnapped by some strangers and abandoned on the street. He had been injured on his genitals. The staff of Don Bosco Ashalayam rescued the child and provided urgent medical care at Sanjay Memorial Hospital, Mangalapuri. Immediately his parents were also contacted. On 14th November Ashish was produced before CWC Avantika, along with a police officer and parents. As the parents did not have proper identification documents, he was referred to SOS Village in Bawana for temporary shelter. Finally, on 25th Nov. 2012, after his parent produced the proper documents, CWC Avantika, gave the appropriate orders for restoring Ashish to his family. http://www.dpjju.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48:delhi-police-and-juvenilejustice&catid=34:general&Itemid=59 45 http://wcd.nic.in/icpsmon/st_consultation.aspx 44

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11. Initiatives of NGOs There are hundreds of non-profit organizations working in child protection, rescuing, rehabilitating and reintegrating to main stream them. Hereby, we highlight in alphabetical order some of the prominent NGOs, who have taken an active initiative for missing/ trafficked children. 11.1 Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (ATSEC) ATSEC or Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children is one of the oldest and most sustained anti-trafficking networks that has been functional since 1998 in the South Asian Region. Its headquarters is in Kolkata. ATSEC is the first network in South Asia to come up exclusively against trafficking. It is a network of NGOs and Community Based Organizations from across the country that fights trafficking through extensive networking on prevention, protection and prosecution from the macro to the micro scale. This Organization has effectively networked with an NGO called Socio Legal Aid Research and Training Centre (SLARTC) against trafficking in the country. SLARTC is doing prosecution work on behalf of the State Judiciary that normally is an exclusive right of the State Appointed Public Prosecutors. This is an extraordinary achievement where a NGO has been given the authority of substituting the state machinery’s specific role. The transfer of responsibility from the Government Prosecutors to the NGO lawyers took place during deliberations and subsequent judgment by the High Court on a Public Interest Litigation. It has established vigilance cells in eight districts of Bihar that lie across the IndoNepal border to check trafficking and created mass awareness through innovative mechanisms. It works closely with the Social Welfare Department, Labour Department and Education Project Council of Jharkhand and initiated a transit shelter home, “Kishori Niketan”, in 2003, with the sole aim of providing care and protection to survivors of trafficking. 11.2 Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) is a pioneering child rights movement working to end child trafficking, child labour and ensure education for all. BBA’s initiatives include identification of child labourers, their rescue/withdrawal and rehabilitation, awareness generation, coalition building, legal action and policy advocacy. The Organization considers prevention as the most significant of its strategies in preventing trafficking of children through promotion of Right to Education, public awareness campaigns, policy change and partnership developments with likeminded organizations and individuals. BBA’s campaign on wheels, Mukti Caravan, travels in villages where its members enact skits and plays on child trafficking, exploitation and child rights. BBA’s Child Friendly Village Programme is currently running in four states, preventing trafficking of children by enrolling all children withdrawn from work in schools. BBA’s legal intervention for policy change to prevent trafficking of children for forced labour is underpinned by judgments from different courts in India. Due to legal action brought by BBA, prosecution of employers found employing child labour has been regularized. BBA also undertakes training and sensitization activities of the law enforcement agencies as well as the judiciary on the issues of child labour and child trafficking. BBA has developed a Standard Operating Procedure on Investigation of Crimes of Trafficking for Forced Labour in collaboration with Government of India and the UNODC.BBA had under taken a pioneering research for three years on the issue of missing children, following which a writ petition (Writ Petition Civil 75/ 2012 – Bachpan Bachao Andolanvs Union of India and Others) 52


Interventions on Missing Children

had been filed. Right now, along with NALSA, BBA is making efforts to draft the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for police to handle the cases of missing children. 11.3 Childline India Foundation CHILDLINE was founded in June 1996 as an experimental project of the Department of Family and Child Welfare of TISS. Now, CHILDLINE has become a nationwide emergency helpline for children in distress through ‘1098’. At present, CHILDLINE is a project of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India. CHILDLINE India Foundation (CIF) was established by the Government of India as an umbrella organization to identify, provide support services and to monitor efficient service delivery of the centres at various locations. They are also engaged in research, advocacy, long-term care and rehabilitation of children in distress conditions. CIF serves as a link between the Ministry and the NGOs in the field. It provides emergency assistance and outreach services to a child in distress and subsequently, based upon the child’s need, rescues the child and refers him/her to an appropriate organization for long-term rehabilitation, follow up and care. It is the only service of its kind (a Government of India - civil society partnership) operating in cities and towns in India, offering a bouquet of comprehensive child protection services through civil society organizations, academic institutions, state governments, corporations, youth and children. Special focus is given to street children, child labourers, domestic help (especially girl domestic workers), children affected by physical/sexual/ emotional abuse; victims of child trafficking, abandoned children, missing children, runaway children, victims of substance abuse, in conflict with the law, mentally challenged children, children affected by conflict and disaster, etc. 11.4 Don BoscoYaR Forum The term “Young at Risk” (YaR) refers to children and young people whose safety, wellbeing and development are put at risk through indifference and neglect, abuse or exploitation by parents, society or governments. Generally the term refers to children on the street, pavement dwellers, runaway children, school dropouts, rag-pickers, child workers, young drug addicts, orphans, the abandoned, abused or exploited, trafficked children, the victims of ethnic violence and armed conflicts, the young infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, and others. The YaR Forum India (registered as Don Bosco National Forum for the Young at Risk) has a dedicated program known as Homelink Network. The YaR Forum launched the www. missingchildsearch.net on 4th March 2002 with the slogan ‘let us march forth’. The Forum’s ten-year-long experience in searching for the missing children reveals many shocking aspects of the problem of missing children in India. Behind the problem of missing, children there hides a host of other crimes such as abductions, kidnappings, trafficking, and exploitation of children for various purposes by family members and others. Homelink / Missing Child Search Network is a platform for such organizations to speed up the process of tracking and tracing the missing children. The public/families and agencies get in touch with Homelink Centres either in person or online to trace the missing children. (Refer Annexure V) NCPCR had recommended, “the Missing Child Search and Home link (web based software developed by Youth at Risk, Delhi) is already working and being adopted by a couple of states in the country; it will be very effective if this can be followed by the others across the country.”46 As a result, MWCD had further discussions with YaR Forum to develop the Track Child. www.ncpcr.gov.in/view_file.php?fid=411‎*, p 6

46

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

YaR Forum further upgraded the product with the latest technology, which provides an alert system and bio-metric integration for fast tracking and tracing of the missing children. Hence it developed a web portal, www.childmiss.net, alias Child MISS (Management Information System & Services), to implement the concept of Child Care and Protection System. The bio-metric usage will prevent duplication of data entry and verify the parents’ contact details by linking with Government’s national database (Aadhaar). Child MISS, a web portal, will assist its partners in maintaining a systematic documentation and to draw up a suitable child care plan as well as to monitor child services and follow-up. The data analysis of such children should help people to advocate preventive and curative strategies and raise the community consciousness and collaboration to create safe environment for children. the focal point of Child MISS is to build up Knowledge-Based Personnel, Caring Communities, Volunteers, Stakeholders, etc. by creating an enabling environment and ensuring the protection of each child and his/her overall development on an equitable basis in Target Communities through ‘Child Safety Net’ program. (Refer Annexure VI) 11.5 Impulse NGO Network Impulse works toward ensuring that equal human rights are provided for all, particularly women and children. Impulse NGO Network developed the Meghalaya model to combat child trafficking in North East India as a single comprehensive strategic plan, to be adopted by all state agencies and citizen’s organizations in the region. The Meghalaya model addresses the issue of child trafficking and it consists of a comprehensive tracking system that brings together the State government, security agencies, legal support, the media, and civil service organizations. Currently, each of the eight states of North East India is integrating the strategy. The Meghalaya State government has now accepted the model as an integral part of its anti-trafficking operations. For more than 10 years, Impulse has been working with rural communities in Meghalaya and guiding them to sustainable living. Impulse has recently launched Impulse Social Enterprises that will develop goods, services, distribution channels and access to markets for those in need of sustainable livelihoods, while investing in partnerships with other development organizations to advance broader social and economic rights, particularly for women and children. 11.6 National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) National Center for Missing &Exploited Children (NCMEC) is a non-political, nonprofit making and a non-governmental organization offering the services free of charge. This Indore based NGO, in Madhya Pradesh is working for missing children. Since its inception in 2000, National Centre for Missing Children is making an impact in protecting India’s missing children; it offers hope to families after rescuing the missed children to them. NCMEC has a web enabled portal for imparting information on children reported missing, traced children and it also generates kids missing alerts. Public can post the information regarding a missing child and find the current status of the missing child (if he is traced or not). NCMC conducts surveys at various levels for missing children. 11.7 Prerana Prerana, a Civil Society Organization, was established in 1986 with a mission to end second generation prostitution and to protect women and children from the threats of human trafficking 54


Interventions on Missing Children

by defending their rights and dignity, providing a safe environment, supporting their education and health and leading major advocacy efforts. The work that commenced in the heart of the red-light district of Kamathipura, Mumbai, with a “rights perspective” soon spread over to other red-light districts. Prerana’s path breaking successful interventions include the ‘globally first’ Night Care Centre, Day Care Centre, Educational Support Program, Institutional Placement Program, Drop-in Centre, Victim Collectives for Civic Rights, Anti CSE & T Electronic Mail News Service, Community Animators’ Project, Anti Trafficking Centre and Post Rescue Operations. Some of Prerana’s interventions were documented by the Government of India in its ‘Plan of Action, 1998’ - the first national policy on child trafficking. 11.8 Save the Children India (STCI) Save the Children India is a non-governmental organization that envisions India as a child friendly nation. It works on varied development issues with a special focus on children’s education, women’s empowerment, combating human trafficking and health. STCI has been implementing the ‘Prevention of Trafficking’ program in rural Maharashtra by addressing the various social and economic causes that result in human trafficking. It assists the government in the effective rehabilitation and skill training program of trafficked survivors who are rescued from exploitative situations and residing in government homes. Ever since the inception of the Maharashtra Judicial Academy at Uttan, STCI has been conducting sensitization and capacity building sessions with Law Enforcement Agencies i.e. police, prosecutors and judges of Maharashtra for effective adjudication of trafficking crimes. It played a vital role in establishment and implementation of the Maharashtra State Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking. Recently, STCI has started assisting the Special Court in Mumbai in the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act Cases. Whilst countering human trafficking, the organization has adopted a collaborative approach and in the process has partnered with the corporate sector, international agencies like the United Nations and has been working alongside the government and other stakeholders to address the issue holistically. 11.9 Shakti Vahini Shakti Vahini is a national voluntary organization working on the issue of Anti-trafficking. The interventions are spread across Delhi, Haryana, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam. Organization intervenes in all forms of trafficking which include forced labour trafficking, trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking for forced marriages and trafficking for child labour. The interventions include collection of information, investigation, raids and rescue, counseling of victims, care and protection of victims, conducting of home investigation report, assisting the victims to access compensation, supporting the victims to fight their cases, preparing dossiers of traffickers, sharing the information with law enforcement and undertaking repatriation and rehabilitation. The organization repatriates victims with support of government agencies and in collaboration with local NGOs. It has been continuously linking the source areas to the destination for proper action against the traffickers. They conduct several police training programmes across the country in collaboration with the Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs). Shakti Vahini is the member of the Central Advisory Committee on Trafficking and Prostitution formed by the Ministry of Women and Child, Govt. of India, and has also recently been appointed by the Supreme Court in a panel to advise 55


Missing Children:Who Cares?

the court on the work of rehabilitation of Sex Workers. In this context, the organization has been building partnerships with source areas organizations to trace various cases of trafficking. It has held several consultations in the region with many of the grass root organizations to enhance their capabilities and also for stricter actions against traffickers. It has been involved in various Public Interest Litigations on issues connecting to human trafficking and victim protection. 11.10 STOP (Stop Trafficking & Oppression of Children & Women) STOP, a Delhi based organization, ensures that the empowerment of girl children and women is recognized as a strategy to create a gender sensitive society. STOP aims to re-integrate trafficked survivors by restoring their self-esteem and confidence by providing them marketable job opportunities for self-sustenance. The Institutional Care and Protection Facility, run by STOP is the core programme of the organization. Besides this, the organization in partnership with the State Law Enforcement Mechanism, focuses on rescuing of minors from being trafficked or from places of sexual exploitation and also engages itself in national, regional and international level advocacy on the issue of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. STOP’s activities include both preventive and prohibitive strategies ranging from community intelligence services, recovery and long term legal aid for the survivors, prosecution of perpetrators and repatriation of foreign nationals. Rescue and recovery of children and women is one of the major intervention strategies of the organization towards combating trafficking in persons. Pursuing prosecution of traffickers is a long-term major intervention strategy, given that successful prosecution of traffickers can have a deterrent effect on the operation of traffickers. Rescued children have found new hope in life through the “AASHRAY” children’s family home.

An embrace with tears of joy Prashanth, aged 12, could not tolerate the inhuman behaviour of his father towards him and his mother. He left home determined not to return again. On 12th June 2006, he landed up at Bangalore Railway Station. He was contacted by BOSCO Staff and given shelter at BOSCO Vikas. He was also given counselling. On 27th of February 2010 Prashanth along with other children participated in the “Katheyalla Jeevana” programme of Suvarna TV Channel. His parents who were watching the programme recognized him. They immediately called up BOSCO for confirmation and they were overwhelmed with joy. On 3rd March 2010 the parents too were invited to participate in the “Katheyalla Jeevana” programme. The programme ended dramatically where the father embraced the son with tears of joy. Prashanth happily returned home with his parents.

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Conceptualization Interventions on of Missing Children

12. Critical Analysis of the Interventions The need to protect the children is realized by Government and NGOs. As stakeholders of children various steps/actions have been drafted and implemented through different Ministries, Departments and NGO Sectors. However, the programmes and schemes drawn for the welfare of the victims and protection of vulnerable groups in our country, in some areas the efforts did not reap the expected results. So still the issue related to child’s protection and safety is a concerned area to all stakeholders. The following limitations are pointing towards the fact where improvements are awaited. 12.1 Limitation at National Level  L  ack of liaison between government agencies and between government and NGOs in terms of protection and safety of missing children.  N  o unified plan and procedures for different agencies to work together for missing children. The government needs a Joint Action Plan with specification of responsibilities.  L  ack of lateral linkages with other sectors for ensuring prevention of missing and promotion of wellbeing of the children who come from BPL families and poor socioeconomic background.  E  xposure and execution of legal provision for protection of children from outsiders in the remote/ rural areas in very much limited.  A  s per the Economic Survey 2012-13, 95% of schools did not comply with the RTE norm, which is also corroborated by the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) school report card 2012.47  A  bsence of legal frame work in terms of different ministerial/departmental provisions to incorporate the migrated children and their family to mainstream through education and employment.  L  ow coverage of documentation (also fake documentation) about missed and tracked children.  Inadequate infrastructure under JJ Act, especially in JJB and CWC functions.  Inadequate budget for child protection.  Lack/less of professional and skilled staff to handle issues of missing children.  P  rovision for low salary/wage for those who work for children’s protection and not covering them under Minimum Wage Act and lacking other fringe benefits and facilities.  L  ow priority for advocacy and communication for child protection to highly problematic areas and areas of civil unrest.  I nadequate and low concern on child’s rights in times of disasters and in communal riots.

http://www.actionaid.org/india/2013/05/right-education-time-involve-judiciary

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 L  ack of provision on right to food, health and education and accessibility for children who are migrated temporarily and seasonally.  L  ack of follow up mechanism from the part of concerned authorities to ensure the child’s safety once child is repatriated.  Lack of procedures to authenticate the claims against guardians.  L  ack of national level plan to integrate independent children who do not have parents/ family or unable to return home even after 18 years of age.  L  ack of income generation programmes in remote/rural areas of large populous states and hence children are engaged in forced labour, bonded labour, false adoption, forced begging, forced marriages and rag-picking.  S  tate Child Protection Societies are formed in all states, except in Jammu and Kashmir, under the direction of MWCD, but the effect is not percolated to bottom level, even now in many states, District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) are not formed as per the requirement of MWCD. The existing DCPUs are yet to be fully functional in number of States.  C  WCs have not been constituted in number of districts in States and UTs, namely, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Delhi, Pondicherry, Tripura, and Uttar Pradesh. The findings of the study on “Child Welfare Committee in India”48 has highlighted some striking limitations, such as, inadequate number of CWCs and support bodies and personnel support, poor infrastructure and improperly managed CWC sittings, severe gaps in fulfilment of core CWC responsibilities and functions, monetary concerns, etc. The low priority in the CWC functioning resulted in deprivation of a large number of vulnerable children not being able to access their right to protection. Vastness of district area, difficult geographical terrain or remoteness, inaccessibility, high population density, and long stretches of international borders demands of setting up of additional CWCs within certain districts in the country. The financial provision under CWC is very meager and it has created the shortage of personnel in the Committee.  M  any legislative provisions made under the JJ Act, such as District Advisory Boards, District Child Protection Units and Special Juvenile Police Units have either not been constituted or are defunct in majority of states49.  T  hough the budget allocation to ICPS by MWCD is made50, it is noted that there is a lapse in implementation as per the plan and budget submitted to MWCD. In every state, the budget has been slashed for various reasons such as underutilization of funds, nonsubmission of project proposal on time by each state, delay in disbursement of funds to each state from the Centre, etc. this underutilization of funds is a serious matter that often gets glossed over. It goes without saying that either the schemes are over budgeted or the implementation is poor. www.ncpcr.gov.in/view_file.php?fid=461 http://wcd.nic.in/icpsmon/st_icpssanc13-14.aspx 50 http://wcd.nic.in/icpsmon/st_icpssanc.aspx 48 49

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 T  he condition and wellbeing of children in a community denotes the development indicator of that state or the nation. For this purpose, information related to children is collected in large numbers. Of late, this kind of collection, analysis and reports are prepared through various software applications. Since the Track Child of MWCD has limited scope and is not a data documentation system, some organizations prefer to use their own database to maintain documents and data analysis. Hence we find disparities in statistical reports and analysis of data collected by various NGOs and Govt. departments that are working for upholding the rights of children. The comprehensive data is missing to underscore the actual situation of children.  T  he quality of education went down whereas the quantity has increased after introduction of the RTE. Many of the children are not learning the basics of literacy and numeracy or the additional knowledge and skills necessary for their all-round development as specified under the Act. According to a Draft Report by RTE Forum51, there are still around 8 million children out of school who are most disadvantaged such as child labourers, street children, migrant children, children in conflict affected areas and the disabled.  F  rom the Kothari Commission (1964-66) and several other education commissions have been demanding enhancement of the budgetary allocation to education to 6 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but the allocation continues to remain less than 4.2 per cent till date. This budget allocation is very little for education especially when the Twelfth Five Year Plan document points out that only 4.8 per cent of government schools have all nine facilities stipulated in the RTE Act.52 Faced with great diversity in the prevailing situation, the absence of an open consolidated information source on the status of implementation of the RTE Act across the country has been a major hindrance to review the progress and process. Different states stand at different levels in terms of elementary education and each state uses their own standardized term to evaluate the progress of the education and there is a lack of State-specific issues which need to be addressed. 12.2 Limitations at State Level  I n Chhattisgarh, safety and welfare measures are poor in terms of ICPS and State Child Protection Society (SCPS). No infrastructure for CWC to function, training of police personnel is poor. There is an urgent need to expand the activities of the AHTUs in Chhattisgarh. Though some initiatives have been taken, training of police personnel continue to remain an area of concern in the state.  T  hough Haryana has initiated various schemes for the care and protection of children, the absence of a monitoring mechanism and having no SOPs and minimum standards of victim care and protection was recently highlighted by a team of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). There is a need of having Child Protection Policy in each shelter home so that any wrong doing can be properly documented and accounted for. Madhya Pradesh also has no any active CWC role in the state. ICPS schemes are in poor condition, and no SOP for running various committees in the state. www.rtemaharashtra.org/downloads/rteforumdraft.pdf, Status of Implementation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: Year Three (2012-13), p. 7 52 http://planningcommission.gov.in/plans/planrel/12thplan/welcome.html, p. 49 (21:10) 51 

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 I n Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh, State Advisory Committee is formed but not functioning. These states have not formulated State Plan of Action. Besides, CWS are functioning without any infrastructure and salaries are not paid to the staff. In spite of approval of a grant under ICPS, the state of Jharkhand has not set up any of the Child Protection Units at the district level. Just recently (February 2014) the Social Welfare Department notified to all the districts to set up child protection committees for anti-trafficking.The documentation level of CWC is very poor and ‘protection homes’ is very dismal. The government has not initiated minimum standard of care and protection for victims. Documentation process regarding missing children continues to remain very poor in states like Jharkhand, M.P., Bihar and Gujarat.  T  he data as released by the National Crime Records Bureau on missing children shows that there is an increase in numbers over the years and the percentage of children and women who continue to remain missing is very high in Maharashtra and West Bengal.  Uttar Pradesh has not made any State Action Plan to combat rampant child labour.  B  ihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Assam and Chhattisgarh continued to remain high source areas for trafficking of children for the purpose of forced labour 53.  I n Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Delhi, there are illegal adoption agencies selling off children for adoption.  M  aharashtra report 54 shows that there is a wide increase in problem of children missing whereas all other states data show a little improvement. The problem with missing children is increasing in all the states and a good number of states started to register the case in FIR. 12.3 Gaps Experienced by NGOs •

 he problem of ‘Missing Children’ is a grave matter which is also a human rights issue. T It is acknowledged that it has not received the attention it deserves from the government and non-government agencies at large. The issue of missing/trafficked children is not the national priority of all stakeholders.

Want of political will and commitment from government to empower the NGOs and vice versa to deal with missing/ trafficked children.

Lack of collaboration and cooperation for coordinated effort among NGOs and networking between the State and the Civil Society Organizations, this has led to greater difficulty to quantify and qualify the issue at stake.

 ue to lack of proper data/information and documentation in NGOs and other stakeholders D on all cases of missing and found children, there is hardly any depth analysis and updated researches on this subject matter; hence there is no comprehension about the dimension of the problem.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/11-minor-girls-rescued-from-red-light-area/articleshow/ 15048778.cms?referral July 20, 2012. 54 www.scrb.nic.in 53

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Lack of knowledge on required procedures and legislative measures in case of a missing child.

 hortage of human and financial resources leads to no prioritization of missing children S issue in organizations.

 ore dependency on external or foreign funding to reduce political interference and M corruption.

 he presences of NGOs are lacking in the remote and rural areas and hence lack of T intervention in the source areas to prevent child trafficking or missing.

Lack of awareness building and educational activities as intervention in prevention rather than capacity building or trainings focused on responsive strategies.

I gnorance and lack of awareness on policies and government schemes and long and tedious process for availing government funds to execute child protection programmes.

12.4 Recommendations Every missing child is an asset and resource for tomorrow. Therefore, necessary development measures are needed for keeping the child healthy and productive. It is the responsibility of every family, civil society and government to provide for the care and protection of every child. There are some responsibilities and tasks carried out by respective Ministries and Departments. However, lacunas have crept in the ministries and departments, and these limitations are required to be addressed and actions taken through the following recommendations. These recommendations are addressed to Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment, based on their intervention. The protection and promotion of a child’s life does not purely depend with the fulfilment of these recommendations, yet they are considered important in the overall growth and development of the child. It is the combined effort and mutual responsibility of every Ministry/ Department to provide a conducive environment for the children in difficult circumstances to grow and develop. Keeping this integration and multi-sectoral approach, recommendations are framed to other Ministries/ Departments, such as, Department of Education, Ministry of Rural and Urban Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, etc. 12.4.1 Recommendations to Government Bodies Every missing child is an asset and resource for tomorrow. Therefore, necessary development measures are needed for keeping the child healthy and productive. It is the responsibility of every family, civil society and government to provide for the care and protection of every child. There are some responsibilities and tasks carried out by respective Ministries and Departments. However, lacunas have crept in the ministries and departments, and these limitations are required to be addressed and actions taken through the following recommendations. These recommendations are addressed to Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Labour and Employment, based on their intervention. The protection and promotion of a child’s life does not purely depend with the fulfilment of these recommendations, yet they are considered important in the overall growth and development of the child. It is the combined effort and mutual responsibility of every Ministry/Department to provide a conducive environment for the children in difficult circumstances to grow and develop. Keeping this integration and multi-sectoral approach, recommendations are framed to other Ministries/Departments, such as, Department of 61


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Education, Ministry of Rural and Urban Development, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, etc. 12.4.1.1 Legislative Body  To set up an exclusive Ministry for Welfare and Development of Children to safe guard the rights of children, who form 42% of the Indian population.  To introduce birth certificate as mandatory throughout the country to protect the children from improper treatment.  To have stringent punitive action against the offenders of child trafficking and trafficked children should be provided their due rights of protection. 12.4.1.2 Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)  T  o establish a separate court to deal with cases of trafficking; to punish heavily those who are buying and selling minors for fake / forceful marriages and rape.  T  o form a rescue committee comprising of the police, NGOs, social activists, members of the Judiciary in cities where brothels exist, to probe into the matter further.  T  o sensitize police personnel on laws related to trafficked/missed children and various landmark judgments passed by the Supreme Court. They should also be more sensitive and mature in handling cases of young girl children in trafficking.  To ensure bans on brothels and introduce lucrative rehabilitation plan for prostitutes.  To protect children affected by civil strife/violence/naxalite action.  T  o receive complaints regarding of all missing children and track them. All cases registered in the police stations have to be followed up in the best interest of the child and their right to life.  T  o ensure the infrastructure and communication system in district level police stations (video conferencing) for fast collection, dissemination of Information,safeguarding victims’ personal dignity and open interaction without fear.  T  o provide strong protection and safety to those who reveal information to the police units regarding trafficking agents.  T  o appoint Local Missing Person Unit (LMPU) in every police stations with the responsibilities concerning missing persons only.  T  o refer the cases of missing children to AHTUs for further handling where a child has not been traced for past six months.  T  o find out loopholes in placement agencies and stringent action against human trafficking rackets.  T  o upload the updated data on missing children in NCRB web on a regular and systematic basis comprising all the states. The comprehensive data should be re-sent to all the States and Departments for better awareness and concerted efforts to minimize the problem and concentration on prominent regions and areas. All SCRB need to be directed to collect and update the data and send to NCRB on monthly basis without fail and the same data to be uploaded by NCRB on a monthly basis for the public viewing. 62


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12.4.1.3 Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD)  T  o ensure that all State governments draft a Plan of Action to combat child trafficking and to set up Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) in every district of the State government as required in the JJ Act of 2000.  T  o increase the number of CWCs according to the population and geographical peculiarities of the state/district in order to get an easy access for the people.  T  o provide capacity building training to the CWC members and local self-government representatives, NGOs, stakeholders with the collaboration of National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) from time to time.  T  o furnish all SJPU wherever it is inadequate in the states and wherever JJ Act is not implemented properly.  T  o allocate adequate amount of budget for child protection programme and by adhering the provisions of minimum level of salary/wages to the staff under different Acts.  T  o strengthen the CWCs wherever it is created and stress on its function and documentation regarding missing children.  T  o ensure the participation of multi-stakeholders and collaboration of inter-states to combat child trafficking through State Advisory Committee.  T  o reach more academic institutions to conduct research studies in the problematic states and to obtain practical solutions for the problem faced by children.  T  o increase the opportunities to consult with many stakeholders for the protection of child and welfare, education and health.  T  o identify potential NGOs in the field to work very systematically related to the issue of children by providing financial assistance.  T  o establish a web-enabled child protection management System (MIS) or adopt Child MISS (Management Information System and Services) of Don Bosco YaR Forum that would encompass a web-enabled data management system for the tracking of children in difficult circumstances and tracing of missing children. In this website, there should be prompt reporting of not only missing children cases, but also of return/rescue/recovery of other category of children. All instances where children are rescued from places of exploitation should be dovetailed into a Single and Comprehensive database of children. The database should be updated and upgraded on a regular and systematic basis. It should be linked with National Population Register (NPR) or Unique Identification Authority of India (Adhaar) database for easy identification of missed/trafficked children. This will strengthen the Juvenile Justice (JJ) System so that information on care and protection of children is available from entry to exit and micro to macro level and can be executed through ICPS.  T  o review the cases relating to Missing Children collectively and collaboratively by various stakeholders through online web-based solution. 63


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This requires the following elements to be addressed: - a n uniform parameters nationwide for developing database on missing and found children - p reliminary inquiry and effective recording of sufficient information of missing and found children - c onstant online update on status of the missing and found child/parents to concerned authorities - s oftware to integrate bio-metric (finger-print) of child to verify with UID database for speedy recovery of the child to parents  T  o establish a National Child Protection Network among MWCD, NCPCR, NCRB, Police, Childline, Railway Department, NGO Representatives, any other lead website holders of missing children, etc. to formulate a comprehensive Child Tracking System and draft the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the implementation of Child Tracking System under ICPS.  I n line with ICPS, to set up a District Child Protection Information Bureau (DCP-IB), a Nodal Agency, as part of District Child Protection Unit. DCP-IB should coordinate and monitor information of CWC, JJB, SJPU, Childline, Shelter / Children / After Care Homes (of Govt. & NGOs), etc. DCP-IB should establish a link with Police stations and Village Panchayat Offices for online connection of missing and found children complaints. It should carry out sensitization and awareness among children, parents, teachers, community, general public, etc. on child protection and child tracking system. 12.4.1.4 Ministry of Labour and Employment  T  o prohibit all forms of child labour and ensure the age of the child at the time of employment and stringent action against employers who are involved in child labour.  T  o identify and rescue children who work in different labour fields (hazardous and nonhazardous) and ensure that all the children who are out of school in an area should be surveyed annually and referred to vocational/skill training programmes.  T  o formulate a comprehensive National Migration Policy to protect the rights and entitlements of migrant children.  T  o bring uniformity in fixing of age for children since it varies from department to department and state to state. It is suggested to extend the minimum age to 18 years for any form of labour.  To amend Child Labour Act to ban child labour.  T  o strengthen the linkage with SSA to ensure of education to children rescued and taken out of child labour of trafficking.  T  o provide the employable and contemporary vocational training and life skills to children in the juvenile justice system homes.  T  o provide more job opportunities/economic incentives/resources to the poor and marginalized families to address the growing economic inequality and poverty. 64


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 T  o ensure the laws on Minimum Wages Act and Equal Pay for Equal Work to be implemented to protect mothers/women from being exploited.  T  o strengthen the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) for the rehabilitation of child labours. 12.4.1.5 Department of Education  T  o strategize the various emerging factors like (i) the flaws in the national goal of providing primary education as a universal basic service, (ii) the Supreme Court judgement declaring education to be a fundamental right for children upto 14 years of age against the reality of huge number of out of school children, (iii) the need to operationalize programmes through Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), (iv) the legal embargo on child-labour, (v) the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, and (vi) heightened awareness of human rights violations in respect of women, children and persons from disadvantaged sections of society. It is also realized that a large number of out-of- school children, who figure neither in school enrolments nor in the calculations of identifiable child-labour, are to be provided access to schooling.  T  o take the problem of universal elementary education and literacy through a strong social movement with clearly perceived goals and involving the State and Central Governments, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Urban Local Bodies, voluntary agencies, social action groups, the media and every supportive element in society.  T  o maintain the participation of local people to the education system to understand their needs and problems. Local authority should identify Out of School Children (OoSC) with the help of teachers, School Management Committees (SMCs) and enroll them in age appropriate classes.  T  o take necessary steps to improve the quality and reduce the trend of education in schools, let the government hand over the poor performing schools to private sector through public private partnership (PPP).  T  o ensure the universal retention through several child entitlements, including textbooks and uniforms to children, and instituting systems for tracking child and teacher attendance.  T  o increase the budget allocation to education from 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2011-2012 to 6 percent of GDP.  T  o ensure that Right to Education (RTE) Act is applicable upto 18 years of age and children are enrolled and retained in schools/educational institutions.  T  o ensure that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) pays attention to children involved in child labour, migrated, street children, domestic workers and school dropouts and not enrolled in schools.  C  urriculum of the school should focus on job oriented courses and to restructure the school curriculum with soft skills, skill training, livelihood and financial management and opportunities for counselling and career guidance, which should be measured, monitored and reported independently at all levels of school education.

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 T  o promote inclusive education for children with disability and to provide sufficient infrastructure facility to include the children who need special care, such as those differently abled.  T  o create an enabling environment for the differently abled students, like, information dissemination through computer and internet system, capacity building workshops, distribution of mobility devices and digital equipment free of cost, career counseling, etc.  T  o appoint qualified and adequate number of social workers or counsellors in schools to assist the students who face problems in study and have behavioural difficulties and to interact with their parents/families.  T  o create constructive and preventive action plans at district and state level to focus on child’s welfare and development in education system and to monitor the implementation through a nodal agency.  T  o provide capacity building training for all stakeholders to identify and rectify the children’s behavioural problems in the initial stage itself. 12.4.1.6 Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment  T  o amend Persons With Disability (PWD) Act as per the current scenario and make it comprehensive in order to create a new statutory regime for the welfare and empowerment of differently abled persons.  T  o address the problems of social, economic, and digital inclusion faced by differently abled persons.  T  o give priority to set up and maintain barrier free environment for persons with disabilities in public institutions.  T  o focus on disabled children and their families for accessibility of education, health and employment while they are continued to remain neglected.  T  o promote the service from charity approach to Right Based Approach (RBA) for the welfare of the disabled people.  T  o eliminate discrimination against children and women on gender, caste and class in the field of education and, health; interest should be shown through subsidies, incentives and priorities to the respective fields.  T  o make provision for employment and other facilities to people who are affected with displacement, calamities and disasters. 12.4.1.7 Ministry of Panchayati Raj  P  anchayati Raj Institutions has to take up initiatives to ascertain social security schemes to the workers who hail from the informal sectors.  T  o ensure that all the gram panchayats monitor the status of children in their area and maintain a record of all children in and out of school in the village level and even FIR to be done in case of missing children. To strengthen the documentation on the list of migrated people from the area and their follow up. 66


Interventions on Missing Children

 T  o prepare a list of any missing children who are not with their families and consolidate their bio-data at the panchayat or gram panchayat or community level and upload them in Track Child website of ministry of women and child development. It must be monitored at the District and State level and reviewed systematically.  T  o strengthen the communities to protect their own children from the clutches of fake job offers and other forms of promises and benefits and to register a complaint against such kind of people. Youth and the village community can work as a watchdog. To ensure the involvement of Community/Panchayats/Resident Welfare Association for preventive and protective measures for poor and marginalized families.  T  o provide training to the panchayati raj representatives to track the children who go missing and protect their rights.  T  o make sure the provision for employment programmes in the rural areas and provide the facilities for marketing to the farmers (where needed).  T  o ensure proper implementation and monitoring of central/state government sponsored programmes/schemes with priority to BPL and marginalized families.  T  o strengthen Gram Sabha meeting and promote social auditing with community participation for ensuring transparency in all activities of the panchayat.  To monitor the schools and their functions under the juridical purview of PRIs.  T  o make sure of the proper implementation of legislations concerning chidren and especially, the Child Marriage Act and the Child Labour Act.  T  o take initiative to identify and lodge complaints on missing girls with the police by the ICDS (Anganwadi workers) in mutual understanding with representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions.  To create a data base and knowledge base information for child protection services.  T  o permit NGOs to register all the missing children cases as FIR in nearby police stations, since they are very familiar with the situation of families in the location. 12.4.1.8 Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  T  o prevent forced marriages and female foeticide through strict implementation of PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 (PC & PNDT).  T  o ensure the collaboration for training and capacity building with the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) with various stakeholders.  T  o promote the awareness programme to different departments in a district for giving unbiased and equal access to CNCP, including street children approaching PHCs and other facilities for medical help.  T  o extend the ICDS programmes to CNCP including street involved children (SIC) and children of street and migrant families.  T  o increase the budget allocation to health from 1.3 per cent of GDP in 2004-2009 to 3 percent of GDP. 67


Missing Children:Who Cares?

 T  o open centers for mental health programmes with formally trained counselors and psychiatrists to foster positive mental health and cater to street involved children with mental health problems. 12.4.1.9 Ministry of Urban Development  T  o ensure poverty alleviation programmes, income generation programmes and proper housing facilities for slum dwellers. To prevent the further marginalization of urban poor migrants due to lack of housing, basic services, dislocation of slums, evictions, etc.  T  o deal with identification of the trafficking agents and the transportation places and areas of the victims.  T  o track and check the urban children and youth on forced migration due to lack of secure livelihoods.  T  o prevent the construction of new slums in the name of developmental activity of the people with vested interest. To ensure welfare measures or remuneration package with standard and current market rate for the rural migrated workers. 12.4.1.10 Ministry of Rural Development  T  o keep focus on BPL families for income generation schemes to reduce the poverty and enhance the standard of living and close supervision with the existing Central and State sponsored programmes.  T  o ensure community participation in monitoring the programmes and strengthen social auditing to check the corruption and target group and curtail the family migration.  T  o impart knowledge on new programmes/schemes through different economic media by the concerned authorities to benefit the scheme and to minimize the corruption.  To promote to non-land agricultural activities as income generation.  T  o encourage saving habits among BPL family members by providing home based income generation activities especially to women.  T  o draw plans to generate livelihood and provision of rural services through SHG groups under National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM); to eliminate illegitimate people to form the SHGs under the provision of NRLM.  T  o accelerate the rural drinking water sanitation programmes in rural areas since girl children and women often become victims in the absence of the facility in the homestead.  T  o check the progress of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) since the provisions and benefits are not yet reached to the remote areas in Northern states.  T  o ensure the benefits of MGNREGA programme to the rural BPL families to address their unemployment and poverty. 12.4.1.11 Ministry of Agriculture  T  o provide the schemes and subsidies related to irrigation, agricultural inputs to the farmers to earn good return from the field. 68


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 T  o provide knowledge on land development and its management, skill development and advanced technology based training in farming through Krishi Vighan Kendras.  T  o provide fair value to the farmers (wherever not happened) of their produce by way of Minimum Support Price mechanism.  T  o provide the supplementary income generation activities to marginal farmers to meet their need in off season.  T  o make the provision for storage facilities to farmers and good market mechanism to procure good income in lean seasons. Ensure the elimination of middle men in the harvesting season. 12.4.1.12 Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution System  T  o guarantee the quality and quantity of Mid-Day Meal scheme in schools and ensure the periodical checking of its quality and the quantity of food grains supplied so as to prevent the malpractices among the stakeholders.  T  o allocate quality based nutritional provisions to the remote areas to prevent children from hunger and malnutrition.  T  o strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS) with efficient monitoring mechanism through community participation for the quality of food and to reduce all malpractices.  E  nsure the distribution of food grains to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and covering poor households at the risk of hunger under Antyodaya Anna Yojna (AAY).  T  o allocate sufficient food grains to the welfare institutions/children’s homes as per their needs.  T  o ensure and strengthen the involvement of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Public Distribution System (PDS).To check and control the malpractices like hoarding and black market.  T  o ensure the quality of nutritional food to the needy women, minors and children through PDS. 12.4.2 Recommendations to NGOs  T  o carry out sensitization / awareness on child protection and child tracking system at different levels to children, parents, teachers, community, general public, etc. This can be done through the budget earmarked for Sensitization and Awareness under ICPS as part of other child Protection issues. The media (television/radio channels, gazettes, etc.) and NGOs can play an important role in increasing public awareness of missing children and the plight of the thousands of hapless families whose children are listed as untraced.  T  o liaison with the respective Government departments and advocate for child protection programmes and schemes to strengthen the socio-economic situation of the family, where the child can grow and develop. To link and empower the community, especially the marginalized to assess these government programmes, schemes, etc., especially in rural areas.  T  o provide opportunity and space for children’s voices to reach decision makers and politicians on issues that affect their lives. 69


Missing Children:Who Cares?

 T  here is an urgent need to collectively and collaboratively review the cases relating to Missing Children by various stakeholders through online web-based solution.  To study and learn from othercountries the successful models of child protection.  T  o network with other NGOs/CBOs, in a geographical area, where a particular NGO is not present to ensure child protection and if needed allocate/channelize sufficient funds to fulfill the given task.  I n each district, a credible NGO to be appointed as the nodal agency to coordinate and facilitate the programmes and activities enlisted in ICPS.  To prioritize the research based study to find genuine and lasting solution to the problem.  T  o increase human resources in the organization as staff members from the field of law, social sciences and health to address the issue of advocacy for missing/trafficked children.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

13. Child Tracking System The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)55 is a centrally sponsored scheme aimed at building a protective environment for children in difficult circumstances, as well as other vulnerable children, through Government-Civil Society Partnership. ICPS brings together multiple existing child protection schemes of the Ministry under one comprehensive umbrella, and integrates additional interventions for protecting children and preventing harm. ICPS, therefore, would institutionalize essential services and strengthen structures, enhance capacities at all levels, create database and knowledge base for child protection services, strengthen child protection at family and community level, ensure appropriate intersectoral response at all levels. Child Tracking System Communication via internet is the norm today. The Internet is becoming very important means of storing data, exchanging and sharing information. The information needs to be collected and uploaded on website to create evidence-based information that is easily accessible to all stakeholders. The Ministry of Women and Child Development, GOI, the nodal agency for the effective implementation of Integrated Child Protection Scheme develop data management, reporting as well as a tool for monitoring the implementation of its scheme. It is planned to develop a nationwide website for tracking missing children and their ultimate repatriation and rehabilitation. The Child Tracking System has the components like web-enabled child protection management information system at the district level to map services, to maintain a database and to facilitate the work performed at the district level with the goal to develop a comprehensive, integrated, live database in India. The Child Tracking System envisaged by ICPS will have two components of web-enabled child protection management information system (MIS) and Website for missing children. Tracking the Missing Child The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, has developed the portal named as www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in. This portal will track missing children and children who are vulnerable. This portal is expected to contain all the information and data of children, who are in the different Child Care Institutions like Children’s home, shelter home, special home, observation home, or any other intuitions. It also helps in tracking down the missing child in the country. On the one hand the Website will have updated data of the children; on the other hand it will have live database to monitor the progress of the children in the child care institutions. (Refer Annexure VII) http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf

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14. Imperative Stakeholders and their Functions Child protection was never a serious concern for the government functionaries in India. Apart from health, development and education, child protection was always given a low priority by the Govt. of India. However, in the last few years, the Govt. of India has made considerable efforts to improve the image of the children from child protection perspective. Schemes like Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) and National Policy for Children have been launched. Commissions for the protection of the children at the central and the state level have been formed. The Juvenile Justice Act and model rules have been strengthened. The enactment of Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 and changes in the criminal law are the other positive steps in this direction. Various stakeholders have been identified in these laws as having important roles to play. These commissions, units, societies, services are formed to monitor, preserve and protect the rights of the children. They have certain important roles in relation to the missing children. It is important to know their role and functions in order to make use of them more effectively. 14.1 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)56 The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament. Functions of NCPCR57 1. The Commission shall perform all or any of the following functions, namely; a.

Examine and review the safeguards provided by or under any law for the time being in force for the protection of child rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation. (Refer Annexure:VIII)

b. P  resent to the Central Government, annually and at such other intervals, as the Commission may deem fit, Reports on the working of those safeguards. c.

I nquire into violation of child rights and recommend initiation of proceedings in such cases.

d. E  xamine all factors that inhibit the enjoyment of rights of children affected by terrorism, communal violence, riots, natural disasters, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, trafficking, maltreatment, torture and exploitation, pornography, and prostitution and recommend appropriate remedial measures. e.

Look into matters relating to children in need of special care and protection, including children in distress, marginalised and disadvantaged children, children in conflict with law, juveniles, children without family and children of prisoners and recommend appropriate remedial measures.

http://www.childlineindia.org.in/State-Commission-on-the-Protection-of-Child-Rights.htm http://www.ncpcr.gov.in/mandate_commission.htm

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f.

Inquire into complaints and take suomoto notice of matters related to: i. Deprivation and violation of child rights; ii. Non implementation of laws providing for protection and development of children; iii. Non-compliance of policy decisions, guidelines or instructions aimed at mitigating hardships to and ensuring welfare of the children and to provide relief to such children or take up the issues arising out of such matters with appropriate authorities.

14.2 State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR)58 The State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) are to be established in each state as per the provisions of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005. It was set up to protect, promote and defend child rights in each state. The Commission consists of a chairperson and six members who are well versed in child welfare. At least one member should be a woman. The state commission is required to submit an annual report to the state government as well as special reports when an issue needs immediate attention. The functions of the commission are the same as those of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. 14.3 Central Project Support Unit (CPSU)59 A Central Project Support Unit (CPSU) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development is established. This CPSU is based at Delhi and would function as the Mission Directorate headed by a Mission Director (a Joint Secretary level officer of the Government of India). This Unit will have a small team of professionals who would implement the scheme throughout the country. The specific roles and responsibilities of the CPSU will include: 1. Develop a Plan of Action for initiating the implementation of ICPS. 2. Set up State Project Support Units (SPSUs) in States/UTs.; 3. Facilitate setting up of required structures and child protection mechanisms. 4. E  nsure training and sensitization of the concerned officials of the line departments of the States/UTs. 5. E  nsure technical capacity building at centre and states for initial implementation of ICPS. 6. C  ollect, compile and regularly update the national level information on the status of child protection institutions and key elements of their functioning in States/UTs. 7. S  et up and manage a national child tracking system and a missing children website with the help of SPSU, SCPS and SARA. 8. Monitor and evaluate implementation of ICPS throughout the country. http://www.childlineindia.org.in/State-Commission-on-the-Protection-of-Child-Rights.htm http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf

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14.4 State Project Support Unit (SPSU)60 Functions: •

Develop a plan of action for initiating the implementation of ICPS at the state level.

Facilitate setting up of required structures under ICPS including GSCPS, SARA, DCPUs, SAA, GSCPC and DCPC.

Facilitate setting up & management of CTS at the state level.

Carry out training & sensitization of the stakeholders.

Monitoring, evaluation and documentation of ICPS.

14.5 State Child Protection Society (SCPC)61 The SCPS will be a registered society to implement the ICPS and all other child protection related schemes. Concerned State department will take a lead role in forming the Society. Registration of SCPS will be under Societies Registration Act XXI, 1860. Functions of SCPS 1. C  ontribute to the effective implementation of child protection policies, legislation, schemes and all plans of action for Children. 2. Set up, support and monitor performance of District Child Protection Societies. 3. N  etwork and coordinate with all government departments, voluntary and civil organizations to build inter-sectoral linkages. 4. Carry out need-based research and documentation activities. 5. M  aintain a state level database of all children in institutional care and family based noninstitutional care and update it on a quarterly basis. 14.6 District Child Protection Unit (DCPU)62 District Child Protection Society in each district is a fundamental unit for the implementation of the scheme. Every district shall have a District Child Protection Committee (DCPC) under the chairpersonship of the chairperson, Zila Parishad, to monitor the implementation of ICPS. The district magistrate shall be co-chairperson of the DCPC.

http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf 62 http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf 60 61

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Functions of DCPS •

Coordinate & implement all child rights & protection activities at district level.

 ap all child related service providers & services at district for creating a resource M directory.

 upport implementation of family based non-institutional services including sponsorship, S foster care, adoption and after care.

Ensure effective implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

Ensure setting up of District, Block and Village level Child Protection Committees.

 etwork and coordinate with all government departments and voluntary and civil society N organizations to build inter-sectoral linkages on child protection issues.

 evelop parameters & tools for effective monitoring & supervision of ICPS in the D district.

 upervise & monitor all institutions/agencies providing residential facilities to children S in district.

Facilitate transfer of children either restoration to their families or placing the child in long or short-term rehabilitation.

 rganize quarterly meeting with all stakeholders at district level including CHILDLINE, O superintendents of homes, NGOs and members of public.

 aintain a database of all children in institutional care and non-institutional care at the M district level.

14.7 District Child Protection Committee (DCPC)63 Every district shall have a District Child Protection Committee (DCPC) - Chairperson – Zila Parishad - District Magistrate - Co-Chairperson of the DCPC. DCPC will supervise the activities of DCPU and the overall implementation of ICPS in the district. DCPC will comprise of members of the allied Government Departments and voluntary organizations and to monitor the implementation of ICPS. 14.8 CHILDLINE Service CHILDLINE is the country’s first toll-free tele-helpline for street children in distress. CHILDLINE stands for a friendly ‘didi’ or a sympathetic ‘bhaiya’ who is always there for vulnerable children 24 hours of the day, 365 days of the year. It has received 27 million calls as of March 2013 and reached out to 3 million children in 291 cities. 64 http://wcd.nic.in/icps/SOPdtd01072011.pdf http://www.childlineindia.org.in

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CHILDLINE is a platform bringing together the Ministry for Women & Child Development, Government of India, Department of Telecommunications, street and community youth, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, the corporate sector and concerned individuals. Childline work for the protection of the rights of all children in general. But its special focus is on all children in need of care and protection, especially the more vulnerable sections, which include: Street children and youth living alone on the streets, Child labourers working in the unorganized and organized sectors, Domestic help, especially girl domestics, Children affected by physical / sexual / emotional abuse in family, schools or institutions, Children who need emotional support and guidance, Children of commercial sex workers, Child victims of the flesh trade, Victims of child trafficking, Children abandoned by parents or guardians, Missing children, Runaway children, Children who are victims of substance abuse, Differently-abled children, Children in conflict with the law, Children in institutions, Mentally challenged children, HIV/ AIDS infected children, Children affected by conflict and disaster, Child political refugees, Children whose families are in crises. 14.9 Block Child Protection Committees (BCPC) Every block (ward in a city) shall have a Child Protection Committee under the chairpersonship of the block/ward-level elected representative (head of the block committee), with the block development officer (BDO) as member secretary to recommend and monitor the implementation of child protection services at block level. The committee could include a member of the DCPS, one ICDS functionary, representatives of education and health departments, Chairpersons of the Village Level Child Protection Committees as well as respected community members and civil society representatives. 14.10 Village Child Protection Committees (VCPC) Every village shall have a Child Protection Committee under the chairpersonship of the village level elected representative (head of the gram panchayat) to recommend and monitor the implementation of child protection services at the village level. The committee shall include two child representatives, a member of the DCPS, Anganwadi workers, school teachers, auxiliary nurse midwives, respected village members and civil society representatives. 14.11 Child Protection & Gram Panchayats 65 Gram Panchayats have an important role to play in the protection of children’s rights in the country. They are ideally suited for this task because Gram Panchayats have direct access to children. At the level of Gram Panchayats, children are not numbers and statistics, but real names and faces in the knowledge of all in the neighbourhood. They are to be equipped to http://www.ncpcr.gov.in/childrights_panchayat.htm

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monitor all the public institutions such as schools, social welfare hostels, Anganwadi Centers, Sub-centers of Health Departments and the Primary Health Centers. They have the authority to engage with officials of all the concerned Departments and hold them accountable to the Gram Panchayat and the constituency, in the best interests of children. It has been found that in several States, the Gram Panchayats have played an enormous role in taking care of children and their rights.

Child reunited with family Droov had been lodged in a government shelter home in Uttar Pradesh for a year and a half despite the fact that he was not a delinquent. He had accidentally got separated from his parents during an interstate train journey and was stranded in Mumbai. He was picked up by the policemanand taken to a government shelter home in Uttar Pradesh as he told them that he was from that state. Once in the shelter, the officials made no attempt to return the boy to his family and though the child knew where he lived, he did not know the accurate postal address. Fortunately, a Childline staff of Lucknow while interacting with the children heard his story and decided to locate his family. After a few initial setbacks, Childline staff located the boy’s home and the boy was reunited with his family.

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15. Prime Stakeholder - Family/Parents “Parenting is not just about raising children, it is also about raising parents” - Sudha Gupta Principle V of JJ Rules, 2007 affirms the primary responsibility of the biological parents in bringing up children, providing care, support and protection.The roles and responsibilities66 regarding the missing children also lie with the family or parents, teachers or educators and on the children themselves. It is important that this category of people should understand their role and keep in mind some important points when they face such kind of situation in their life. If your child is missing from home: -

s earch the house especially the closets/ almirahs, trunks and suitcases, in the beds especially the beds with boxes and under beds, inside large appliances like fridge, washing machines, and inside vehicles, and all other places where a child can crawl and hide.

If you still cannot find your child: - report the matter to the police. Dial 100 or visit the nearest police station with all the details like appearance, age, clothes the child was wearing along with the most recent photograph of the child. - Write a detailed description of the clothing worn by your child and the personal items he or she had at the time of the disappearance. Include in your description any personal identification marks, such as birthmarks, scars, tattoos, or mannerisms that may help in finding your child. - Find a picture of your child that shows these identification marks and give it to law enforcement personnel. - Limit access to your home until police arrives and has collected possible evidence. Do not touch or remove anything from your child’s room or from your home. Remember that clothing, sheets, personal items, computers, and even trash may hold clues to the whereabouts of your child. - If your child disappears in a market, notify the police immediately and alert the parking attendants and security officers. - When you call police officers, provide your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight, and any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces as well as birth marks. Tell them when you noticed that your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing. Also provide a list of friends and sites most frequented by your child. - Report all extortion attempts to law enforcement. - You may also contact Legal Services Authority (LSA), who will assist you in following up your case. - Call Childline at 1098

http://dpjju.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=172&Itemid=223

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15.1 Tips for parents to help their children stay safe67: Safety at Home - Children should know their full name, home address, home phone number and how to use the telephone. Post your contact information where your children will see it: office phone number, cell phone etc. - Children should have a trusted adult to call if they’re scared or have an emergency. - Choose caregiver/nanny with care. Obtain references from family, friends, and neighbors. Once you have chosen the caregiver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. - Ask your children how the experience with the caregiver was, and listen carefully to their responses. Safety in the Neighborhood - Make a list with your children of their neighborhood boundaries, choosing significant landmarks. - Interact regularly with your neighbors. Tell your children whose homes they are allowed to visit. - Don’t drop your children off alone at fair, market places, railway stations, bus stands or parks. - Teach your children that adults should not approach children for help or directions. Tell your children that if they are approached by an adult, they should stay alert because this may be a “trick.” - Never leave children unattended in an automobile. Children should never hitchhike or approach a car when they don’t know and trust the driver. - Children should never go anywhere with anyone without getting your permission first. Safety at School - Be careful when you put your child’s name on clothing, backpacks, lunch boxes or bicycle license plates. If a child’s name is visible, it may put them on a “first name” basis with an abductor. - Walk the route to and from school with your children, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they’re being followed or need help. - Make a map with your children showing acceptable routes to school, using main roads and avoiding shortcuts or isolated areas. If your children take a bus, visit the bus stop with them and make sure they know which bus to take. 15.2 Rules for Younger Children - I know my name, address, telephone number, and my parents’ names. - I always check first with my parents or the person in charge. I tell them before I go anywhere or get into a car, even with someone I know.

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- - - - - -

I always check first with my parents or a trusted adult before I accept anything from anyone, even from someone I know. I always take afriend with me when I go places or play outside. I say NO if someone tries to touch me or treat me in a way that makes me feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. It’s OK to Say NO, and I know that there will always be someone who can help me. I know that I can tell my parents or a trusted adult if I feel scared, uncomfortable, or confused. I am strong, smart, and have the right to be safe.

15.3 Rules for Older Children -

 on’t go out alone. There is safety in numbers. This rule isn’t just for little kids; it D applies to teens, too.

-

 lways tell an adult where you’re going. Letting someone know where you’ll be at all A times is smart. If you’re faced with a risky situation or get into trouble, your family and friends will know where to find you.

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 ay no if you feel threatened. If someone – anyone - touches you in a way that makes S you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say no. Whether it is about sex, drugs, or doing something that you know is wrong, be strong and stand your ground.

What Your Child Can Do - at school and at home -

 lways take a friend when walking or riding your bike to and from school. Stay with a A group while waiting at the bus stop. It’s safer and more fun to be with your friends.

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I f anyone bothers you while going to or from school, get away from that person, and tell a trusted adult like your parents or teacher.

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I f an adult approaches you for help or directions, remember grownups needing help should not ask children for help; they should ask other adults.

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If someone you don’t know or feel comfortable with offers you a ride, say NO.

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If someone follows you, get away from him or her as quickly as you can. Always be sure to TELL your parents or a trusted adult what happened.

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I f someone tries to take you somewhere, quickly get away and yell, “This person is trying to take me away!” or “This person is not my father (mother)!”

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I f you want to change your plans after school, always check first with your parents. Never play in parks, malls, or video arcades by yourself.

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I f you go home alone after school, check to see that everything is okay before you go in. Once inside, call your parents to let them know that you are okay.

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Make sure you follow your “Home Alone” tips.

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 rust your feelings. If someone makes you feel scared or uncomfortable, get away as fast T as you can and tell a trusted adult.

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Precautionary Measures: Necessary Materials - Keep a complete description of your child. - Take color photographs of your child every six months. - Keep copies of your child’s fingerprints. - Keep a sample of your child’s DNA. - Know where your child’s medical records are located. - Have your dentist prepare and maintain dental charts for your child.

How Dangerous is this Home! Jishu Ali (name changed), is 12 years old. Team members of Child Assistance Booth (CAB) operated by Snehalaya, Guwahati, found him roaming on the platform at the Guwahati Railway station on 15th March 2013. They took him to the drop-in centre of Snehalaya where they provided him with food, clothing, first-aid and shelter. During the counselling he complained of torture and abuse at home by his parents. They would not allow him to go outside the house to meet with his friends or play with them. Because of this he had left home and was not willing to return. He was produced before the CWC for initial placement.

Shelter of Hope for those who have lost all hope Little Himanshu & Dipanshu, 5 and 4 years respectively, lived with their grand-mother at Chanakya Place, C1 Janakpuri, Delhi. They were said to have been victims of most severe abuse and neglect. This was compounded by their social isolation. Their mother had expired a year earlier and their father was in Tihar Jail, Delhi. On 25th June 2012, CHILDLINE Don Bosco Ashalayam received a frantic call from some concerned neighbours informing about the plight of these little ones. With the help of the Police and helpful neighbours, the team rescued the two children successfully. The children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee chairperson Nirmal Chhaya. The children were directed to the temporary shelter home at DB Ashalayam. With the constant guidance and support of the staff, the little ones were able to cope with the new environment. They were also provided with educational facilities.

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16. Child Safety Net ‘Child Safety Net’ is not a once for all, and time bound activity, but an ongoing process. Every citizen is called upon to recognize the potential of each child! We are happy to have a child around because it is fun and joy. Yet unfortunately, in a dominator model of society often the small and the weak, including children are not respected for what they are worth. Often they are ignored, neglected, abused, or exploited. Their sensitivities are ignored, their needs forgotten. There is need to protect children and safeguard their rights. The preamble of the UN Convention states “the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding”. This emphasis on the centrality of the family to a child’s life and normal development is a recurring theme in the articles of the UNCRC. In interpreting Article 20 of the UNCRC, which deals with children, who, for whatever reason, grow up without family, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child identifies care within their extended family or by others who are close to the child as the most desirable option. If this fails, an alternative family environment through foster care or adoption is preferred…the institutional care shall be an option of a last resort, with as short duration as possible. The Juvenile Justice, Rules 2007, significantly define the objective of rehabilitation and social re-integration when it mentioned in section 32, ‘…restoring their dignity and self-worth and mainstream them …’. Following these guidelines, the state and other significant non-state actors offers every child a nurturing, respectful and safe environment based on an equity agenda in the best interest of the child that enables child to access rights, opportunities and resources for survival, protection, development and participation”. Purpose of the Child Safety Net To develop a community model with institutional support for an enabling environment that guarantees the dignified survival of children and meets their needs, ensures their overall development on an equitable basis, guarantees their protection and prevents any sort of abuse, and facilitates their participation in decisions that concerns them, now or in the future. Every family and institution for children is meant to be the safest place for children, the place where they grow up in an atmosphere of happiness and freedom. Institutions, society and culture are meant to promote the best interests of children. Unfortunately this is not always true. Our own experience tells us that a very huge number of children leave their homes seeking safer and more meaningful conditions. Others, in spite of suffering, dare not quit the known security of their homes to venture into the unknown and unfriendly outside world that could exploit or traffic them. Hence, there is an urgent need for Missing Child Bureau in every state. 16.1 Missing Child Bureau (MCB) The problem of increasing reports of missing children in India has been drawing both institutional and individual attention for a long period of time. The Don Bosco Centres involved in programs for street and working children in India, while working on a data and documentation system called ‘Homelink’, hit upon the idea of the possibility of tracking missing children through the webbased technology. Hence by 2004, Don Bosco YaR Forum created www.missingchildsearch.net, a web-based technology to track and trace missing children and link it with Homelink database. 83


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This website has the public platform to upload complaints of lost or found children. Such data are searched in the data pool of unaccompanied children, locally and nationally, to see if any of them are matched or traced. As a result, a striking change was seen in the tracking of the lost and found children. The Don Bosco Centres along with other NGOs and Government bodies from different parts of India set up a network of missing child search units, for registering and searching for missing children who are lost and found and are in various homes/institutions run either by the government or NGOs in the country. The Government Departments of Karnataka, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh invited Don Bosco YaR Forum to establish the child tracking system in their states. In the meantime, the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act (2000) and Juvenile Justice Model Rules (2007) enacted in India, spoke of setting up of a Missing Child Bureau (MCB) by the state Governments. Karnataka was one of the first states to establish the MCB (in 2007) and it appointed Bangalore Oniyavara Seva Coota (BOSCO), Bangalore, as its state Nodal Agency (Gok order No. DWCD 180MCB 2007 Bangalore, Dated 27 October 2007). As the Nodal Agency, BOSCO takes the lead role to enable the department of Women and child Development (DWCD) and the Police to launch this project in all districts of Karnataka linking all police stations and NGOs. The state Nodal Agency was directed to identify and appoint the District cells of the Bureau and employ effective strategies and tools to realize the objectives in all districts of Karnataka. The state office of the Missing Child Bureau (MCB) is set up in the DWCD and the Nodal office is at BOSCO Yuvodaya, 91 B Street, 6th cross, Gandhinagar, Bangalore. Right now, the BOSCO has established Missing Child Bureau Districts Cells (MCB-DCs) in 28 districts of Karnataka. The goals laid down by the Bureau are: establishment of a system for collection, collation and sharing of information about missing and unaccompanied children and to upgrade communication systems so as to facilitate faster identification and tracking of children and their parents towards speedy repatriation. The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) invited Don Bosco YaR Forum for the display of Homelink Network program during National Consultation on Missing Children in October 2010. The National Informatics Centre (NIC), Delhi, had further consultation meetings with Don Bosco Forum team in preparation for the creation of www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in. Highlights of MCB

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Establishment and execution of MCB District cells in 28 districts of the total 30 districts of Karnataka with the collaboration of a credible NGO working in the location.

Considerable efforts have been made to publicize and to create awareness on MCB through training for the PDOs, anaganwadi workers, primary school teachers, printing IEC materials, advertising in ‘Justdial’, fixing permanent IEC boards in public service centres such as police stations, panchayat offices, etc.

Formation of an Advisory Body to strengthen and ensure smooth and effective functioning of MCB-DCs.

 ringing MCB under the central government project of Integrated Child Protection B Scheme (ICPS), and under the newly formed Anti Child Trafficking Task Force and the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) which are functioning under the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD).


The Road Ahead

Steps have been taken in coordination with the DWCD and other concerned Departments to get a resolution passed to make the registration of missing children in the Zilla Panchayat compulsory.

 iscussion and meetings with state ministers, MLAs, MLCs, DGP, Principal secretary,DCs, D CEOs, SPs, DDs, BEOs, CDPOs, DDPIs, DCPOs, and other Govt. Departments such as Health, Education, Police, Labour, Social Welfare and Zilla Panchayat besides NGOs are on towards setting up a larger and broader network.

I nstalled Missing Child Search (MCS) Website in all the police stations of Bangalore city.

Social Re-integration Section 32 of JJ Model Rules, 2007 states that “The primary aim of rehabilitation and social re-integration is to help children in restoring their dignity and self-worth and mainstream them through rehabilitation within the family where possible, or otherwise through alternate care programs, and long-term institutional care shall be the last resort.” While we strongly believe and adhere to international and national norms and legislations, we are also aware of several challenges that emerge in the actual ‘rehabilitation and social re-integration of children.’ JJ Act 2000, Section 40, in fact states that the process of “rehabilitation and social integration shall begin during the stay of the child in a children’s home or special home.” Hence ‘social re-integration’ is understood and practiced in a variety of ways.  By making arrangements for and assisting the child to return home. Sometimes this is done after a transit process which could include stay in a shelter home, children’s home or special home in order to prepare the child for re-integration with the family and the community.  By making efforts to ensure that the children from disadvantaged families and communities are able to access all their rights, protection and benefits due to them even though they remain at home.  By helping a child to make a return, to the extent possible, to the life before the experience of neglect, physical and sexual exploitation, or abuse. Thus, for example, returning to their role as students back in school with peers, or moving towards an independent and sustainable living.  By integrating a holistic process, involving practical, emotional, educational, training and social support of the individual with the aim of “the safe, dignified and sustainable re-insertion into society and a normalized life”  By considering rehabilitation and social re-integration as overlapping processes. Others would believe social reintegration follows rehabilitation. Some programs deal with the child and other programs with the child, family and the community at large or other alternative settings. Home Re-integration Principle V of JJ Rules, 2007 affirms the primary responsibility of the biological parents in bringing up children, providing care, support and protection.The family is the core unit of the society and the major stakeholder in the development of children. It nurtures the child, provides it emotional 85


Missing Children:Who Cares?

bonding and socializes the child. Such, enriching and nurturing of family life is essential in the development of the child’s potential and personality. The family structure, composition, practices, interactions, relationships and environment contribute to a child’s development. The traditional approach of custodial care in an institution is being replaced because of a strong conviction that the right to family is one of the most fundamental rights of a child. Recognizing this right of a child to a family, all interventions must try and ensure that the physical, social, emotional and educational needs of the child are met in a secure, nurturing family environment. Institutional Care Section 39 of JJ Act 2000 suggests that the primary objective of a children’s home or a shelter is the restoration of and protection to a child who is deprived of family environment either temporarily or permanently. Restoration of a child in need of care and protection is to the parents, adopted parents, foster parents, guardian, fit person and fit institution. Section 32 of the JJ Rules of 2007 states categorically that long term institutional care will be taken up only after all other options have been exhausted. These options will be reviewed periodically. Institutions for children need to function as substitute families, and must provide for the child’s physical well-being, as well as its emotional and developmental needs. The placement of a child in an institution must ensure that the child’s human rights are fully respected. Institutional care is justified only when there is such a danger that it is impossible for him / her to remain in the family environment. Non-Institutional Care Section 32 of JJ Rules, 2007 asserts that rehabilitation and social re-integration can be pursued within the family where possible, or otherwise through alternate care programs such as adoption, foster care, day care, kinship care, and sponsorship. These non-institutional services are based on Article 20 and 21 of the UNCRC on the conviction that ‘every child’s best interest’ is best met in a nurturing family environment and it is every child’s basic right to be brought up in family. The best of institutions cannot substitute the care in a family environment. The negative and painful experiences in large impersonal institutions can result in ‘Institutional Child Syndrome’ accompanied by long term emotional, psychological and personality problems. The cost of child care in an institution also far outweighs its advantages. Hence it is better to provide support families in crisis through alternate family-based, community-oriented services, so that the child can be looked after within a family environment rather than in institutions. After Care JJ Rules, 2007 [section 38] reiterates the objective of ‘after care homes’, viz. to facilitate their transition from an institution-based life to mainstream society for social re-integration. They shall be made available for children above 18 years, who have no place to go to or are unable to support themselves by DCPU/SCPU… The objective of these organizations shall be to enable such children to adapt to the society and during their stay in these transitional homes these children will be encouraged to move away from an institution-based life to a normal one. In trying to adhere to the several International Treaties/ Conventions like UNCRC, Beijing Rules, etc. and aligning harmoniously with the National legislations like ‘Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 and its subsequent Amendments, let us positively 86


The Road Ahead

engage the local community to create a ‘child safety net’ with the ‘children in need of care and protection’. 16.2 Caring Communities The children are the greatest resource of the nation. Yet they are also at the greatest risk regarding their future. Along with their care givers like the parents and teachers every adult could help to provide a safety net for the children, girls and boys. Every adult could ensure the SURVIVAL, PROTECTION, DEVELOPMENT and PARTICIPATION of every child for the establishment of the India of our dreams. Let all adults, together with the children form caring communities to support the families and schools to care for children. We could join forces to provide a protective net around the children within which they will develop and grow delightfully. Let us win over or isolate those who harm the interests of children. No one can remain INDIFFERENT in the face of ABUSE, NEGLECT, EXPLOITATION and VIOLENCE. Not to intervene to protect children is to join with those who harm them. Let all adults join hands with the children to provide them a safety net and form child friendly communities. The child safety net is a new kind of awareness in the current society. Every one of us could be fulfilling our various roles and responsibilities with the well-being of the children around us in mind. We will then have a truly child friendly society, a child friendly India. A realistic child safety net with caring communities would look like this:

The Green Outer Ring of Protection: Civil Society & Government Agencies

The Red Ring of the Indifferent and Abusers

The Blue Inner Ring of Protection: Positive Stake Holders

The Child The Family

The Caring Community

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The White Inner Circle is the safe and secure zone of children in the family. We could all work towards making families truly child friendly. The Light Blue Circle is the Caring Community where the children live their childhood. The community could take responsibility to support the family to protect children, even from parents who are irresponsible, violent or addicted. The Blue Inner Ring consists of positive stakeholders, a network of Caring Communities and care givers take up the task of protecting children from the middle Red Ring of those who constitute danger to children. The blue ring of protection needs to expand into the red. The Red Middle Ring consists of negative stakeholders of the INDIFFERENT AND THE ABUSIVE. They need to be restrained, their number reduced. Unfortunately the indifferent are found in all the circles, making the Red Circle strong and the child safety net unsafe. The Green Outer Ring consists of the civil society at large and the various governmental agencies entrusted with the task of ensuring the protection of children from the negative stakeholders and strengthening the positive stakeholders. We could all join hands to build a child safety net around our families, communities and institutions. We could promote a child safety net all around us. Let us network together for a child friendly society.

Homelink does it again: Another Trafficked Child Rescued This happened in North Bengal. A partially blind eleven year old boy was missing while going to the school. A trafficker had kidnapped him and sold him at Delhi. The anguished mother made a missing complaint to the police. She also reported the matter to CONCRN, the Homelink Coordinator at Jalpaiguri. He in turn informed the media. The News was flashed around; but there was no information about the boy. After one year of search the boy was traced in Haryana. He was working as a child labourer. The boy was restored to an overjoyed mother. He is now back to school with a new lease of life. He has now been admitted to a boarding school.

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17. Safety Net for Children in India As we complete this study on missing children in India, it becomes evident that the State bears prime responsibility for creating a safe, secure and protective environment for children. Such an environment is a precondition for the realization of the rights of children. This protective environment will become a reality only by implementing policies and legislation in favour of child protection, and by monitoring the programmes and creating human resources. The key stakeholders in child protection are the family, the community, NGOs / Civil Society Organizations, Departments of State governments and the Ministries of Central government. What is missing is a national mechanism to coordinate and facilitate collaboration among the various ministries, departments, institutions and organizations which deal with matters concerning children. To begin with, inter-ministerial coordination is essential to exchange information regularly and implement activities jointly. It is crucial to ensure a clear division of roles and responsibilities and to identify areas for collaboration in the implementation of national strategies and plans in order to address issues of missing children as well as trafficking of children. The purpose is to connect the different institutions and organizations to provide holistic care (health, psychosocial, legal and safety) to victims. Lacuna in coordination Coordination and cooperation among stakeholders is one of the huge gaps identified in this study. Coordination is required between those responsible for protection and those involved in prevention. Prevention focuses on the steps taken to prevent individual children from being missed, trafficked or re-trafficked. This study also found that a number of issues were overlooked in the coordination among those responsible for protection and those involved in prevention. Coordination and cooperation are not possible without a real commitment to children. Protection is the basic right of children. If children have rights, there must be some people who have responsibility to fulfill them. If children are not protected, that itself would be an indictment of the concerned officials. If stakeholders neglect their responsibilities and thereby deny children their right to protection, then we are only adding to the problem and child protection would remain just an illusion! If no committed effort is made by those responsible to protect children, how would the same people ever think of the larger issue of prevention? The National Policy for Children, 2013, of the Ministry of Women and Child Development states in 6.3 “The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) will be the nodal Ministry for overseeing and coordinating the implementation of this Policy. A National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG) for Children under the Minister in charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development will monitor the progress with other concerned Ministries as its members. Similar Coordination and Actions Groups will be formed at the State and District level�.68 The significant ministries and institutions which should be engaged in coordination, include the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, the Ministry of Railways, the Ministry http://wcd.nic.in/childwelfare/npc2013dtd29042013.pdf, p. 12

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of Human Resource Development (Department of Education), the Ministry of Social Justice and Law, etc. These ministries have to coordinate with their counterparts at the State level. All these Ministries and Departments should tie up with representatives of national and state level Civil Society Organizations to focus on health, education, protection, social inclusion, welfare and development, etc. of children and their families to ensure the child’s safety at home. Coordination by NCAG and/or NCPCR The assessments of various interventions made by multiple bodies show that there is a lacuna in coordination of execution. There is an urgent need for the establishment of a National Coordination and Action Group (NCAG), which would facilitate inter-ministerial/ multi-sectoral interventions. However, instead of adding yet another group and its offices, could that additional responsibility and resources be shared by NCPCR and SCPCR? The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), being the nodal ministry for children, should take a call on that and find an appropriate solution. Either the NCAG or the NCPCR, should be given independent authority to determine a way forward for inter-ministerial interventions. Its regular coordination meetings and constructive directives can contribute to ensure that all service providers, from local to national level, understand the special problems of children living in difficult circumstances; it must identify specific roles and responsibilities for relevant ministries to address the various issues of children; it must lay down procedures to function as a united system in rectification and promotion of child rights in India. The NCAG/ NCPCR should develop a national action plan/ strategy to prevent and respond to child rights violations and incorporate it in the impending National Plan of Action for Children. It should set up a national campaign on Child Safety Net to enhance coordination between the ministries as well as the departments. The campaign for Child Safety Net should address a comprehensive programme to strengthen families and improve the essential conditions of the family, where a child will be safe and secure. The various ministries have to look into this aspect of family wellbeing while planning the programmes to the people at the fringe of the society. Every ministry and department connected with children is to be made accountable. Let us carry the campaign for a child safety net to the portals of the government offices. No one who is not fully part of the Child Safety Net, through agreement, through external signs of commitment and so on should be allowed to work in the ministry/ department. Could we state that in the amendment of the National Policy for Children and the imminent National Plan of Action for Children? Could we pledge our children that we are serious about our commitment to them? 17.1 National Task Force against Trafficked/Missed Children in India The NCAG/ NCPCR should have a distinct National Task Force (NTF) comprising government ministries and non-governmental organizations to promote a multi-disciplinary approach towards child safety net to eliminate the trafficking of women and children. The NTF should have its out stretched wings in State (STF) and District (DTF) as part of State and District Child Protection Society/ Units respectively. Based on the directions of NCAG/ NCPCR, the NTF could create a Model Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to ensure coordination of all service providers working with children and especially the victims of trafficking/ missing children and disseminate to STF for State level adoption.

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The Road Ahead

This SOP should be based on Child Safety Net strategies of campaign, coordination, and facilitation through promotion and strengthening of partnerships between relevant ministries, civil society and networks. There should also be a coordination mechanism at National, Departmental and Regional levels and Children should be part of the campaign and active participants in the realization of Child Safety Net. The SOP should be addressed to all stakeholders to sign a cooperation agreement to improve not only the coordination among the service providers but also in the quality of the services provided. For example, the number of times that a child is interviewed about his/her experience (rescued children from streets or railway stations) can be reduced if agencies have a better culture of information sharing and appropriate technology for child tracking system. An efficient referral mechanism and technical networking system for tracking and tracing missing children is needed. 17.2 Top-Down Approach At national level, coordination and partnership is required between different law enforcement agencies (police - for cross borders and crimes), institutions responsible for child protection and NGOs involved in anti-trafficking activities or related work concerning children. In the state and district level, the respective Task Forces will carry out their functions as per the guidelines of SOP in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, Institutions, CWCs, JJBs, SJPUs, AHTUs, NGOs/ Civil Society Organizations. The NCAG/ NCPCR will focus on monitoring and evaluation, distribution of national plan into relevant sectors (Ministries, Departments and NGOs), training for all the service providers from top to bottom level. Child Safety Net begins with the children themselves. So the children need to be trained to participate, monitor and evaluate the performance of various stakeholders in promotion and integration of a multi-sectoral approach for effective coordination of interventions and maximum results. The NTF will focus on boosting the field level activities for prevention and response to child rights violations. The STF & DTF will look into the coordination activities such as data collection and analysis procedures, the development of medical and legal tools, treatment protocols for victims, medical, psychosocial and legal support to children and their families, etc. At a preventive level, public awareness is to be raised on heinous crimes in every nook and corner of the country. Campaigns for awareness-raising through television programmes on national and state level channels and through multimedia communication technologies are is required. 17.3 Bottom-Up Approach The goals for child safety net can be achieved in quality and in time, if institutional arrangements, organizational requirements and resource commitments are more speciďŹ cally identiďŹ ed and better assured in a joint endeavour by all segments of the society. This requires a strong political will and direction for investment in children, more efďŹ cient application of resources, decentralized delivery mechanisms, use of available low cost technological and organizational options including the informal sectors. A favourable climate for the development of the child should be created by disseminating information related to survival, development and protection of children, meaningfully, widely and rapidly. Community resources and community based organizations in the country should be used more effectively and strengthened in both traditional and modern sectors. We have to assure that services for children do not fall below the essential level. Policies and programmes for the development of children have to outgrow the basic strategy for organizing 91


Missing Children:Who Cares?

services for children through enhanced community consciousness. We have to recognize and value the community’s processes and involve them to achieve development of children. At the local level, the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) play a vital role in this issue. So an equivalent attention should be given to strengthen local level coordination alongside the establishment of national coordination mechanisms. PRI should be given the responsibility for the formation of child protection committees within its judicial boundaries. The coordination is established with NGOs, Anganwadi, ASHA workers, school teachers, community members and students as a whole, who would closely work with vulnerable and women headed families to create a safety net. Grass-root level communication and coordination will help discover the nature and core issues related to the problems of trafficking/ missing children.

Institutions

Central Government Village/ Panchayat

State Government

Child & Family

Community

NGO/Civil Society Organisations

92


The Road Ahead

Conclusion It is important that the issue of the missing children has to be seen as a serious violation of the Right to Protection of a child. Missing children are living in the darkness of crime, trafficking and poverty. They are without their family, without substantial standard of living. India has ratified the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child and also United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (also referred to as the Palermo Protocol on Trafficking) and is bound to protect the children from all kinds of vulnerability that can lead children into trafficking and going missing. India is already implementing the scheme related with the protection of children (popularly known as the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), and has a support mechanism for tracing the missing children in the form of child tracking system. This scheme is also connected with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which makes the implementing agencies accountable for the missing children. The Government’s budget for children is 4.64 per cent of GDP for 2013-14, out of which just 0.04 per cent is allotted towards child protection. It is obvious that the allocation made for children and for their protection is clearly negligible when compared to the number of children falling out of safety and protection net. The absence of protective environment for children seriously affects the various aspects of child’s development including physical, cognitive, psychological and behavioural development. Hence, it results in increased school dropouts, juvenile delinquencies, runaways, etc. India’s inability to meet the targets of five year plan and millennium development goals relating to children should challenge us to reflect the pitfalls and shortcomings of our strategic planning and execution of child protection issues. In 2005, the National Human Rights Commission in India had already suggested to define the issue of missing child as a cognizable offence and recommended to file a criminal case in this matter. (Refer Annexure IX) Later on, the High Court of Delhi and then the Supreme Court of India in their landmark judgments made the matter of missing child a criminal case. It is the duty of the police officer to file the First Information Report (FIR) and investigate the case as a cognizable offence. On the one hand the finding of the missing child is an important issue; however, on the other hand it is the duty of the stakeholder to rehabilitate the child back in the mainstream of the society. The combined efforts of the police, civil society organizations, department of women and child development, the judiciary and quasi-judicial bodies are very important to rehabilitate the child in the society. It is also important to know how the vulnerability of the child can be minimized and a protective environment can be given to the child so that he/she can feel safe and secure. However it is also the duty of the parents, schools and the community as a whole to monitor the safety of the child. The last but the most important part of the chain is the child herself/himself. Children can be educated and made aware of the issues of child protection and the vulnerability of children.

93


Missing Children:Who Cares?

A lot remains to be done. It can be done and it must be done. Let us commit ourselves to:  e nsure ‘the right to survival, development, protection and participation’ as enshrined in the UNCRC,  a dvocate ‘child rights perspective’ in the formulation of government policies, legislations, programmes, schemes, etc. directed towards children,  a llocate ‘adequate budget for children’, especially the child protection budget of 0.04 per cent requires serious rethinking and increased investment by government of India,  e stablish ‘child protection network’ through Government bodies, its allied systems, civil society organizations, private institutions, responsible citizens and others,  e nact ‘child friendly laws’, which can promptly and efficiently tackle the problems of missing/ trafficked children and render stringent punishment to those who caused them,  p rovide a positive environment of ‘child safety net’ that will prevent exploitation and empower them to be agents of personal and social transformation,  e nable them to acquire and foster ‘dignity and self-worth’, the hallmark of rehabilitation and social reintegration,  s et up a sound ‘counselling and home integration’ department which enables to strengthen their bond with their biological family or relatives or community, throughout the process of rehabilitation gradually leading to his/her social re-integration,  implement an online ‘child care and tracking system’ to track and trace homeless children all over India and accompany them to the safety of a home,  o ffer to the child, who is denied of parental care, the opportunity for ‘alternate care’, like, adoption, foster care, sponsorship, after care, etc. with systematic mechanisms in place to enhance their physical, intellectual and emotional faculties,  c hart out ‘child care plan’ to ensure necessary standards of human, financial and infrastructural resources to develop their full potential and thus facilitate in a phased manner his/her social re-integration,  p ursue for ‘adequate support’, like, education, skill training, capacity building, career guidance, job placement, marriage, reintegrating with their families/community, etc, which culminates in their entry into the mainstream of society, and  p romote ‘caring communities’ to take care of the vulnerable and marginalized, create a just and humane society by joining hands with socially responsible citizens and groups and bring about attitudinal changes in the negative stakeholders (abusers and violators of child rights).

94


Annexures

ANNEXURES Annexure – I Categories of Missing Children The expression “missing children” includes two categories: children who have been taken, and those who have left. These two categories can be broken down into five different sub-categories: non-family abductions; family abductions; runaways; throwaways; and lost, injured, or otherwise missing. Increasing legislative efforts, specialized training for criminal justice professionals, along with the establishment of non-profit organizations, reflects the country’s profound concern about the issue of missing children. However, despite the many legal and programmatic changes that have been effected and continue to be effected, the issue of missing children is still one that weighs heavily upon the minds of parents and concerned citizens throughout the nation. Non-Family Abductions This category of abduction is referred to as “non-family” rather than “stranger” because like many crimes committed against individuals, the offender is usually someone known to the victim. Kidnapping of a child by a non-family member is often perceived as the most common type of child abduction, but it is a misconception. While these types of abductions receive the most media attention and often become high-profile cases, abductions by a non-family member actually account for the smallest percentage of missing children. Teenagers and girls tend to be the most common victims of non-family abductions, but infants also can be at risk. Although few infants are abducted, they are most often taken from their homes or hospital nurseries by someone who is childless or has recently lost a child. The risk of other crimes being committed against the missing child increases with non-family abductions. Homicide, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, pornography, and prostitution are among the most common crimes perpetrated against missing children. Family Abductions Abductions of children by a family member occur almost exclusively in instances of divorce, and when all lines of communication between two parents fail. This type of kidnapping is usually a reaction to dissatisfaction with a custody or visitation agreement. It is considered kidnapping once the abductor violates the custody or visitation agreement, regardless of the specific circumstances. Belief that a child is safe when abducted by a parent or family member is the greatest misconception surrounding family abductions. Although reported instances of physical and sexual abuse are low in family abduction scenarios, studies show emotional trauma in children can be significant.

95


Missing Children:Who Cares?

Runaways Runaways constitute the majority of missing children. Often they are considered delinquents, rebels, and troublemakers. However, these children are usually not running to something, but rather away from a situation which they feel are intolerable. What is important to remember is that runaways do not represent short-term crises. Long-term physical, emotional and/or sexual abuses are common in runaway cases, and simply returning a runaway to his or her home may not be an appropriate resolution. Both the child and family may need to receive professional support and counselling before a possible reunion. Throwaways More than half of the children who are classified as runaways could be described more accurately as throwaways. Children who are considered “throwaways� are abandoned, told to leave by a caregiver, or are not allowed to return home once they have left. Many throwaways come from lower socio-economic backgrounds. In comparison to children who have run away, throwaway children are twice as likely to have experienced domestic violence in the home. Lost, Injured, or Otherwise Missing The final sub-category of missing children that do not fit into any of the other four categories are the lost, injured, or otherwise missing children. Generally, children are included in this category if there is insufficient evidence to classify them in one of the previous groupings. Children who are hurt, lost, or confused and did not return home when they were expected are not necessarily considered runaway, throwaway, or abduction cases if the circumstances surrounding the disappearance are unclear. Nearly half of the children in this category are below age five. It is important to note that this group of children suffer the most physical harm compared to every other category, except those children abducted by strangers.

96


Annexures

Annexure – II NCRB Data on Missing Children S.No

States

Year

1

Andaman & Nicobar

2010 2011 2012

2

Total Andhra Pradesh

3

Total Arunachal Pradesh

4

Total Assam

5

Total Bihar

6

Total Chandigarh

7

Total Chhattisgarh

8

Total D & N Haveli

Total

2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012 2010 2011 2012

No. of Missing Children Complaint 31 67 27 125 3700 4985 4848 13533 60 10 96 166 995 2125 2209 5329 *NR 629 1466 2095 159 211 156 526 4808 3899 3852 12559 17 12 6 35

Male

Female

15 19 12 46 1501 1801 1769 5071 26 2 32 60 403 709 772 1884 0 341 833 1174 70 104 62 236 1467 1242 1225 3934 9 3 4 16

16 48 15 79 2199 3184 3079 8462 34 8 64 106 592 1416 1437 3445 0 288 633 921 89 107 94 290 3341 2657 2627 8625 8 9 2 19

Total Total Traced Untraced 30 58 12 100 3066 3968 2468 9502 42 0 28 70 582 1189 978 2749 0 348 310 658 86 164 65 315 3565 2520 2828 8913 11 7 6 24

1 9 15 25 634 1017 2380 4031 18 10 68 96 413 936 1231 2580 0 281 1156 1437 73 47 91 211 1243 1379 1024 3646 6 5 0 11 97


Missing Children:Who Cares?

S.No

States

Year

9

Daman & Diu

2010

No. of Missing Children Complaint 20

2011 2012

Female

9

11

16

4

2

1

1

2

0

9

5

4

8

1

31

15

16

26

5

2010

5091

2634

2457

3937

1154

2011

5111

2446

2665

3752

1359

2012

4917

2356

2561

2543

2374

15119

7436

7683

10232

4887

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

269

108

161

221

48

269

108

161

221

48

2010

2868

1045

1823

2275

593

2011

3415

1123

2292

1839

1576

2012

3798

1375

2423

3350

448

10081

3543

6538

7464

2617

2010

1259

755

504

699

560

2011

1248

719

529

580

668

2012

1211

722

489

671

540

3718

2196

1522

1950

1768

2010

320

173

147

243

77

2011

136

71

65

68

68

2012

374

178

196

212

162

830

422

408

523

307

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

461

239

222

197

264

461

239

222

197

264

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

973

298

675

491

482

973

298

675

491

482

Total 10

Delhi

Total 11

Goa

Total 12

Gujarat

Total 13

Haryana

Total 14

Himachal Pradesh

Total 15

Jammu & Kashmir

Total 16

Jharkhand

Total 98

Total Total Traced Untraced

Male


Annexures

S.No

States

Year

17

Karnataka

2010

No. of Missing Children Complaint 4845

2011 2012

Female

2279

2566

4234

611

3838

1624

2214

2356

1482

1090

473

617

427

663

9773

4376

5397

7017

2756

2010

1037

411

626

895

142

2011

1273

418

855

981

292

2012

1168

391

777

706

462

3478

1220

2258

2582

896

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

*NR

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2010

10720

4254

6466

9689

1031

2011

7797

2761

5036

5723

2074

2012

*NR

0

0

0

0

18517

7015

11502

15412

3105

2010

14823

6573

8250

11700

3123

2011

* NR

0

0

0

0

2012

15443

6296

9147

11341

4102

30266

12869

17397

23041

7225

2010

42

27

15

15

27

2011

69

35

34

53

16

2012

133

63

70

98

35

244

125

119

166

78

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

173

68

105

154

19

2012

87

38

49

61

26

260

106

154

215

45

2010

*NR

0

0

0

0

2011

1

0

1

1

0

2012

13

1

12

11

2

14

1

13

12

2

Total 18

Kerala

Total 19

Lakshadweep

Total 20

Madhya Pradesh

Total 21

Maharashtra

Total 22

Manipur

Total 23

Meghalaya

Total 24

Mizoram

Total

Total Total Traced Untraced

Male

99


Missing Children:Who Cares?

S.No

States

Year

25

Nagaland

2010

No. of Missing Children Complaint 437

2011 2012

Female

196

241

208

229

189

84

105

63

126

170

78

92

60

110

796

358

438

331

465

2010

2521

789

1732

1177

1344

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

3983

1076

2907

798

3185

6504

1865

4639

1975

4529

2010

72

29

43

71

1

2011

73

19

54

54

19

2012

50

20

30

34

16

195

68

127

159

36

2010

282

170

112

10

272

2011

*NR

0

0

0

0

2012

736

407

329

178

558

1018

577

441

188

830

2010

3492

1541

1951

2842

650

2011

4174

1635

2539

3391

783

2012

3893

1423

2470

3290

603

11559

4599

6960

9523

2036

2010

342

145

197

194

148

2011

77

24

53

49

28

2012

278

146

132

166

112

697

315

382

409

288

2010

2504

994

1510

2062

442

2011

2828

961

1867

1981

847

2012

3212

1095

2117

2020

1192

8544

3050

5494

6063

2481

2010

299

81

218

297

2

2011

465

119

346

402

63

2012

567

144

423

105

462

1331

344

987

804

527

Total 26

Orissa

Total 27

Pondicherry

Total 28

Punjab

Total 29

Rajasthan

Total 30

Sikkim

Total 31

Tamil Nadu

Total 32

Tripura

Total 100

Total Total Traced Untraced

Male


Annexures

S.No

States

Year

33

Uttar Pradesh

2010

No. of Missing Children Complaint *NR

2011 2012

Female

0

0

0

0

3829

2368

1461

2487

1342

3857

2317

1540

2305

1552

7686

4685

3001

4792

2894

2010

554

342

212

433

121

2011

497

279

218

340

157

2012

730

428

302

303

427

1781

1049

732

1076

705

2010

15835

5016

10819

5518

10317

2011

12535

4175

8360

4488

8047

2012

4956

1316

3640

1851

3105

Total

33326

10507

22819

11857

21469

Grand Total

201839

79807

122032

129057

72782

Total 34

Uttrakhand

Total 35

Total Total Traced Untraced

Male

West Bengal

*NR = No Records

101


102

5

4

3

2

A&N Islands

1

Total

Bihar

Total

Assam

Total

Arunachal Pradesh

Total

Andhra Pradesh

Total

STATE

S.No

15 8

2011 2012

2154 1870

2011 2012

93 82

2011 2012

3764 3812

2011 2012

4268 4807

2011 2012

12749

3674

2010

10826

3250

2010

242

67

2010

6077

2053

2010

33

10

2010

Year

Cases Registered (CR)

7104

2961

2320

1823

4090

1455

1413

1222

100

41

33

26

4038

1272

1330

1436

26

7

10

9

Charge Sheeted (CS)

702

128

307

267

415

73

226

116

15

8

5

2

334

81

136

117

1

1

0

0

Cases Convicted (CV)

L.S.U.S.Q. No. 314 for 6.8.2013

Annexure – III

16939

6700

5721

4518

9668

3199

3279

3190

251

70

100

81

7559

2555

2461

2543

41

7

16

18

Persons Arrested (PAR)

14673

5841

4703

4129

4629

1562

1615

1452

124

47

43

34

7332

2554

2229

2549

42

7

16

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 19

1187

242

529

416

472

106

207

159

17

8

7

2

577

158

200

219

1

1

0

0

Persons Convicted (PCV)

Missing Children:Who Cares?


Chandigarh

Total Chhattisgarh

Total D & N Haveli

Total Daman & Diu

Total Delhi UT

Total Goa

6

7

8

9

10

11

Total

STATE

S.No

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

Year 38 58 87 183 359 472 450 1281 18 9 13 40 2 3 3 8 3208 3767 3970 10945 25 28 24 77

Cases Registered (CR) 2 26 58 86 234 367 427 1028 8 7 10 25 0 0 3 3 404 637 481 1522 14 18 13 45

Charge Sheeted (CS)

Annexure – III

7 10 10 27 59 32 55 146 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 116 159 290 565 2 0 1 3

Cases Convicted (CV) 51 50 71 172 439 500 574 1513 20 7 19 46 0 8 1 9 512 736 653 1901 43 45 17 105

Persons Arrested (PAR)

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 16 42 92 150 408 492 573 1473 15 10 22 47 0 0 8 8 516 642 569 1727 36 34 13 83 9 13 33 55 110 50 107 267 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 156 174 314 644 3 0 1 4

Persons Convicted (PCV)

contd...

Annexures

103


104

Gujarat

Total Haryana

Total Himachal Pradesh

Total Jammu & Kashmir

Total Jharkhand

Total Karnataka

12

13

14

15

16

17

Total

STATE

S.No

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

Year 1447 1614 1720 4781 963 959 1349 3271 194 212 172 578 896 1077 1093 3066 978 941 1056 2975 1374 1395 1451 4220

Cases Registered (CR) 1151 1232 1359 3742 573 577 616 1766 64 78 81 223 367 538 552 1457 625 735 686 2046 559 588 977 2124

Charge Sheeted (CS)

Annexure – III

52 31 32 115 110 72 79 261 5 5 9 19 5 8 5 18 130 153 175 458 16 37 20 73

Cases Convicted (CV) 2015 2235 2422 6672 903 860 1130 2893 161 145 141 447 570 978 961 2509 1040 1361 1368 3769 1389 1332 1994 4715

Persons Arrested (PAR)

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 1965 2239 2349 6553 857 883 1145 2885 130 133 141 404 563 977 961 2501 1008 1278 1324 3610 1224 1324 1983 4531 101 69 53 223 169 121 110 400 5 8 16 29 10 6 4 20 195 271 240 706 62 50 59 171

Persons Convicted (PCV)

contd...

Missing Children:Who Cares?


Kerala

Total Lakshadweep

Total Madhya Pradesh

Total Maharashtra

Total Manipur

Total Meghalaya

18

19

20

21

22

23

Total

STATE

S.No

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

Year 261 299 281 841 0 0 0 0 1187 1288 1302 3777 1508 1669 1583 4760 199 169 223 591 71 87 92 250

Cases Registered (CR) 231 203 257 691 0 0 0 0 998 1007 1255 3260 1000 1158 1178 3336 4 1 2 7 27 18 41 86

Charge Sheeted (CS)

Annexure – III

6 4 5 15 0 1 0 1 269 264 190 723 35 45 44 124 0 3 0 3 0 2 0 2

Cases Convicted (CV) 340 349 395 1084 0 0 0 0 1684 1952 2087 5723 2325 2764 2703 7792 120 120 150 390 104 77 94 275

Persons Arrested (PAR)

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 421 291 395 1107 0 0 0 0 1723 1909 2074 5706 2035 2441 2455 6931 4 1 2 7 39 33 54 126 7 4 6 17 0 1 0 1 575 575 470 1620 65 79 65 209 0 10 0 10 0 2 0 2

Persons Convicted (PCV)

contd...

Annexures

105


106

Mizoram

Total Nagaland

Total Orissa

Total Pondicherry

Total Punjab

Total Rajasthan

24

25

26

27

28

29

Total

STATE

S.No

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

Year 9 6 8 23 50 34 27 111 1016 1139 1542 3697 17 12 19 48 789 681 919 2389 2985 3204 3243 9432

Cases Registered (CR) 7 6 4 17 38 24 32 94 938 973 1146 3057 14 8 15 37 353 275 357 985 1016 1121 1215 3352

Charge Sheeted (CS)

Annexure – III

4 4 5 13 10 27 16 53 33 38 42 113 2 0 5 7 83 60 35 178 185 181 248 614

Cases Convicted (CV) 11 10 7 28 90 51 29 170 1297 1315 1592 4204 31 24 18 73 1007 880 1068 2955 1953 2159 2194 6306

Persons Arrested (PAR)

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 13 6 4 23 43 29 51 123 1332 1272 1558 4162 35 18 22 75 808 647 665 2120 1941 2105 2203 6249 9 6 5 20 4 80 41 125 43 73 53 169 2 0 5 7 158 149 90 397 454 350 526 1330

Persons Convicted (PCV)

contd...

Missing Children:Who Cares?


Sikkim

Total Tamil Nadu

Total Tripura

Total Uttar Pradesh

Total Uttarakhand

Total West Bengal

30

31

32

33

34

35

Total Grand Total Source: NCRB Data

STATE

S.No

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

2010 2011 2012

Year 6 10 10 26 1720 1984 1945 5649 114 154 139 407 6321 8500 8878 23699 286 314 297 897 3345 4285 5117 12747 130696

Cases Registered (CR) 10 5 6 21 737 685 825 2247 79 106 112 297 3449 4713 4749 12911 159 180 150 489 2356 2426 3296 8078 68390

Charge Sheeted (CS)

Annexure – III

1 0 2 3 122 84 66 272 4 4 3 11 2024 2006 1290 5320 46 44 140 230 41 53 30 124 10960

Cases Convicted (CV) 13 6 8 27 2126 2153 1962 6241 133 153 144 430 13727 21986 23045 58758 346 334 266 946 2698 3316 4376 10390 165001

Persons Arrested (PAR)

Persons Charge sheeted (PCS) 10 5 5 20 1724 1417 1864 5005 114 119 177 410 8016 10732 11154 29902 314 306 279 899 2932 3036 3837 9805 123442 1 0 2 3 223 195 169 587 4 6 7 17 5363 4782 2715 12860 127 103 189 419 56 145 62 263 22831

Persons Convicted (PCV)

contd...

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Annexure – IV Guiding Principles Missing children are most likely to have their basic rights violated and to risk abuse, exploitation or discrimination and other forms of organized crime. All children are entitled to protection and care under a broad range of international, regional and national instruments like Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000. Of particular relevance for missing children are: •

the right to a name, legal identity and birth registration;

the right to physical and legal protection;

the right not to be separated from their parents;

the right to provisions for their basic subsistence;

the right to care and assistance appropriate to their age and developmental needs;

the right to participate in decisions about their future.

The primary responsibility for ensuring children’s survival and well-being lies with parents, family and community. The national and local authorities are responsible for ensuring that children’s rights are respected. Efforts must be made in an emergency to protect family unity and avoid child-family separation. The principle of family unity – or integrity of the family – states that all children have a right to a family, and families have a right to care for their children. Missing children must be provided with services aimed at reuniting them with their parents or primary legal or customary caregivers as quickly as possible. If large numbers of children are separated from their parents or other relatives in an emergency, priority should be given to the most vulnerable, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, taking into account that the latter are likely to be more vulnerable. The best interests of the child constitute the basic standard for guiding decisions and actions taken to help children, whether by national or international organizations, courts of law, administrative authorities, or legislative bodies. Non-discrimination: one of the basic tenets of international humanitarian law is that the protection and guarantees it lays down must be granted to all without discrimination. Thus all four Geneva Conventions and both Additional Protocols provide that the “specific categories of person they protect must be treated humanely without adverse distinction founded on sex...”. The Convention of the Rights of the Child reinforces this key principle and states that girls have additional, specific needs which have to be taken into account in programming for their care and protection. The special needs of girls must be taken into account. Appropriate responses must be developed at all stages of programming.

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Annexure – V Homelink Network - Statistical Analysis

(Data upto 31st December 2013) Rescued Children

24%

Accompanied Children Unaccompanied Children

76%

Recued Children Accompanied Children Unaccompanied Children

Counts 53803 173155

% 24% 76%

Child Status

27% Children with Organization 43%

Home Placement Final Settlement Status not known/Runaway

0%

30%

Child Status Children with Organization Home Placement Final Settlement Status not known/Runaway

Counts 59485 65059 450 94204

% 27% 30% 0% 43%

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Missing Children Colmplaints 1%

UnidentiďŹ ed Complaints

26%

Traced (against Complaints) 73%

Missing Children Complaints Unidentified Complaints Traced (against Complaints) Identified (on the process of settlement)

IdentiďŹ ed (on the process of settlement)

Counts 28588 10346 472

% 73% 26% 1%

Placements 11%1%

Home Placements Institutional Placement Job Placement 88%

Placements Home Placements Institutional Placement Job Placement

Counts 65059 8068 435

% 88% 11% 1%

Note: The above-mentioned information is derived from www.homelink.in, based on the data entry of Homelink Partners. 110


Annexures

Annexure – VI F.NO.15011/60/2011 GOVERNMENT OF INDIA/BHARAT SARKAR MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS/GRIH MANTRALAYA NORTH BLOCK NEW DELHI/CS DIVISION

New Delhi, the 31st January 2012 OFFICE MEMORANDUM Subject: Advisory on missing children-measures needed to prevent trafficking and trace the children-regarding. 1.

 he issue of missing and untraced children, based on police records, is a matter of deep T concern to the Government of India. It requires a concerted and systematic attention of Central and State Governments. As missing children are exposed to high risk situations, they are vulnerable and fall prey to crimes of exploitation, abuse, including human trafficking. It is, therefore, necessary that effective steps be taken for effective investigation of cases relating to missing children and tracing of these children. This advisory is in continuation of the advisories dated 09.09.2009, 14.7.2010 02.12.2011 and 4.1.2012 issued by this Ministry to all the States / UTs on similar/related issues of crimes against children.

2.  A  missing child is defined as a person below 18 years of age whose whereabouts are not known to the parents, legal guardians or any other person who may be legally entrusted with the custody of knowing the where abouts/well being of the child whatever may be the circumstances/causes of disappearance. The child will be considered missing and in need of care and protection, until located and/or his/her safety/wellbeing is established. 3. T  he legal provisions as existing in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and other laws, several rulings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and High Courts and the recommendations of NHRC, inter alia, emphasize the immediacy of prompt action by law enforcement agencies following disappearance of the child, especially minor girls to maximize chances of tracing/recovery. 4. T  he guidelines of NHRC which has already been communicated to the States/UTs with respect to missing children should be implemented and their monitoring ensured (refer website www.nhrc.nic.in/ Reports/misc/MCR Report.doc). 5. T  he Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has issued guidelines in respect of missing children on 14/11/2002 (WP (Cri) No.610 of 1996) in Horilal Vs Commissioner of Police, Delhi and Sampurna BehuraVs. Union of India &Ors dated 12/10/11(WP (Civil) No.473 of 2005). These instructions should also be complied with and monitoring ensured. 6. A  n officer not below the rank of a DIG should be declared Nodal Officer for every state/UT for handling the cases of missing children.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

7. S  upervision of investigation of such cases by senior police officers of the level of Dy.SP/ Addl.SP may be ensured. 8. W  hen, any heinous crime or organized crime on missing children, such as, victims of rape, sexual abuse, child pornography, organ trade etc., is reported, and then the investigation of such cases should be taken over by the CID of the States/UTs to expedite the investigation and to ensure prosecution of the offenders. 9. S  tate Crime branch should maintain close links with District Missing Children Unit (DMCU) and ensure that uploading of data and matching of missing children with UIDBs/Children found is carried out effectively. 10. T  he Missing Persons Squad (MPS) will match the information regarding missing children with the data available with the MPS and if matched it should be communicated to the concerned police station. A monthly report should be sent to DMCU. 11. W  hen the missing person is traced through search or rescue from places of exploitation, the police control room, District Missing Persons Unit (DMPU) and Missing Persons Squad (MPS) should be informed immediately for updating the record and for discontinuing the search. 12. W  hether these missing children land up in Begging Rings, Prostitution, Paedophilic Net and Organ Trade or end up getting exported for Camel Jockeying etc., it is always an Organised Crime. Profile of all traffickers who facilitate such trafficking should be maintained at PS level in Gang Registers. 13. T  he State CID should use data mining to analyse patterns, gather intelligence and to build profiles which have interstate ramifications, ascertain angles of trafficking, organized crime, number age/sex profile and maintain liaison with other central agencies dealing with the matter. 14. A  ll police officers and men, especially the team of officers handling investigation into these cases need to be trained and sensitized on an ongoing basis to the issues concerned. The issues of missing children, human trafficking along with JJ Act may be made part of syllabus in the state police training colleges to sensitize the police force. The training should focus on imparting knowledge of the substantial and procedural laws, court rulings, administrative procedures, skills in child-friendly investigations, including interviewing, interrogation, scientific data collection, presentation in the court of law, networking with the prosecutors, facilitating victims/witness protection programmes, etc. 15. A  s there is considerable overlap in the problems of missing children and trafficked children, AHTUs should play an active role. 16. T  he Superintendent of Police in the districts and Commissioners of Police in the metropolitan areas should review each case of missing children/persons during their monthly crime review meetings to find out the actual number of missing children, number of children traced/untraced, children, the reasons for child disappearance/missing and its links to human trafficking and to take stringent action against the perpetrators of the crime. They should also take strong measures for successful prosecution of the offenders in the court of law.

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Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

17. I n cases where children and women have been smuggled illegally out of the country, the investigation agencies should utilize interpol channels to communicate with member countries and if need be, have appropriate Interpol Notices issued through CBI/Interpol wing, in order to trace the victims. 18. A  n exercise to check all the unclaimed and unidentified children who are kept under safe custody in various shelter homes of the government/non-governmental agencies may be undertaken and details may be matched with the available missing children data base in the country as most of the children lodged in these shelter homes are indeed missing children. Missing Persons Bureau in the state should have a centralized data on children lodged in these shelter homes run by the government/nongovernmental agencies in the state with mechanism to update the data on regular basis. This data along with the photographs of the children should be digitized and regularly sent to NCRB and NCRB will upload this data in their website www.ncrb.gov.in for pan-India search by other state police/stake holders. 19. A  number of children reportedly die after disappearance/missing and their dead bodies remain unidentified. States/UTs should also consider making it mandatory for the investigating officers and provide the necessary infrastructure to have the DNA profiling of all such unidentified dead bodies for future comparison and identification. DNA profile of the nearest blood relative through informed consent should be done if child is not found for 3 months. Both the DNA data base may be maintained at the state MPS for future comparison and matching. 20. S  imilarly, in order to curtail offences of child sex abuse, in all cases of pornography, cybercrimes etc. under investigation, efforts should be made to correlate the pictures of the child with the details of missing children and vice-versa. 21. T  he data available in each missing children file should be uploaded to the computer maintained at the police station for this purpose. It will be the responsibility of each I.O. to ensure that efforts made towards tracing the missing children is also uploaded on the computer, which would be linked to national database and via CCTNS, eventually. CCTNS should update it promptly on the proposed ‘Khoya Bachpan’ website. 22. T  he SHO/Inspector of the police station will ensure that the computerized record of missing children is maintained up-to-date and the same is sent to DCRB and from there to SCRB. The State and District/City police Control Room/local Police net, ZIP NET, www. trackthemissingchild.gov.in should be updated immediately. It would be useful to access data on missing children through other websites maintained by www.childlineindia.org.in and www.stoptrafficking.in to mention a few. 23. N  CRB is mandated to function as a national repository of crime and criminal related data in the country and the States/UTs should evolve a mechanism to share the data on missing children and human trafficking cases to NCRB in the prescribed pro form of NCRB on monthly basis for analysis and study to find the emerging trends in these sensitive issues. 24. N  CRB should device methods of uploading the data on a real-time basis not only of missing persons but also with respect to traced and un-traced persons as well as linking the database with those of rescued persons from different places including children rescued from exploitative or forced labour. 113


Missing Children:Who Cares?

25. T  he universal number 1098 for reporting of missing children 24x7 is being run in some States / UTs, but there is no uniformity. It needs to be made effective and operational if not done earlier. There should be at least one dedicated police personnel at this helpline on 24x7 basis with proper monitoring mechanism. In the meantime BPR&D would explore further possibilities of integrating 1098 with 100 to make it toll free. 26. R  esponsible and competent NGOs are earmarked as Nodal NGOs in States for assisting the law enforcement agencies in this regard. The NGOs who have done work in this field with commitment be supported by the law enforcement agencies and synergy is established so that they could work in tandem. 27. W  hen training the police, they must be oriented to undertake all preventive steps including steps to identify children in distress, watch of suspicious persons, special attention at transit points viz. border areas, ICPs, railway stations, bus stations, airports, ports etc., identify vulnerable population/places and take steps to address the vulnerability on time. 28. B  SF/ITBP/SSB personnel in outposts on borders should be trained to look-out for trafficked children on the borders. They should be sensitized to question and detect unaccompanied minors/children or accompanying adults with suspicious behaviour during pursuant checking of vehicles/public transport. 29. T  he law enforcement agencies may involve representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions and the community at large, such as, Village Watch & ward/Municipal Committees/ Neighbourhood Committees/Resident Welfare Associations etc. This will enable the community to get fully involved along with the administration/police in identification, tracing & recovery of missing and trafficked children and arrest of accused persons. 30. C  ommunity awareness programmes on the issue of missing children and its links with human trafficking may be undertaken by the District administration. Periodic interface with Public and Safety Awareness Campaign should be conducted in schools and vulnerable areas, jointly by the district administration. Schools must be encouraged to issue Identity cards to children. 31. T  he activities of various departments and agencies in the States/UTs need to be integrated through a nodal agency. These includes Home Department, Police Department, Social Welfare Department, Women and Child Welfare Department, Juvenile Justice Department, Child Welfare Committees, Labour Department, Health Department, Tourism Department as well as other agencies like State Human Rights Commission, State Women’s Commission, State Commission for Child Rights, Railways, RPF, BSF, SSB, ITBP etc. State governments may institutionalize a coordinating mechanism among all these agencies through an SOP clearly mandating the roles and responsibilities of each of these agencies. 32. I n places, where vulnerable groups of children are found in large numbers, a mechanism should be evolved in partnership with NGOs and social workers, where by apart from rendering counseling to them, awareness raising activities are also carried out. 114


Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

33. T  he protocols and SOPs developed by UNODC in the Joint Project of MHA-UNODC, during 2006-2008, including protocol on interstate transfer of rescued victims may be effectively utilized (refer www. unodc.org/india). 34. T  he States/UTs may bring out an SOP for guidance of all concerned. The receipt of this letter may kindly be acknowledged immediately. Sd/(B. Bhamathi) Additional Secretary to Govt. of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, North Block, New Delhi – 110001 Tel. No. 011-23092514

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

Annexure – VII Child Tracking System In order to bridge the gap between acute shortage of data and information pertaining to issues related to child protection, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, under the ICPS, will develop an effective system for child protection data management and reporting as well as a tool for monitoring the implementation of all its child protection schemes. This is to be achieved by developing a web-enabled data management system on child protection by creating a resource base for child protection issues. It is also planned to develop a nationwide website for tracking missing children and their ultimate repatriation and rehabilitation. The Child Tracking System will have two components: 1. Web-enabled child protection management information system (MIS) The District Child Protection Societies are responsible for carrying out an exercise -

to map all services available to children in difficult circumstances and the vulnerable children and their families in the district. This would include for example, location and contact details of all police stations, child care institutions, hospitals, primary health care (PHC) systems, pediatricians, members of CWCs and JJBs, CHILDLINE services, etc.

-

 he DCPS shall also maintain a database of all children in institutional care and nonT institutional care at the district level.

-

I n order to facilitate the work performed by DCPSs in development and management of the above database, the scheme shall support establishing a Data Management System.

-

 he ultimate goal is to develop a comprehensive, integrated, live database for children in T care and in need of care in India.

2. Website for missing children There are large numbers of children who either run away or are missing for various reasons. There is a need to create a systematic and centralized mechanism for tracking such children to facilitate their recovery and rehabilitation. -

 he ICPS envisages setting up of a National Website on Missing Children with linkages T to SCPSs and DCPSs.

-

The website shall form a part of the child protection data management system.

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Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

Annexure – VIII NCPCR Letter to SCPCRs

117


Missing Children:Who Cares?

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

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Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

Annexure – IX NHRC Committee’s Recommendations The NHRC Committee, after interacting with the stakeholders, has proposed the following recommendations/suggestions to contain the problem of missing children: 1. PRIORTY ISSUE: The Directors General of Police of States should take appropriate steps to issue police orders/circulars/standing instructions etc. to sensitize all officers in this regard and also make them accountable. 2. MISSING PERSONS SQUAD/DESK IN POLICE STATIONS: The Committee recommends that every Police Station across the country should have Special Squad/ Missing Persons Desk to trace missing children. This Squad/Desk should have a Registering Officer who should be made responsible for registering complaints of missing children. He/she should maintain complete records of efforts made by them to trace missing children as well as by the Special Squad. The Registering Officer should also write incident reports and keep them on record in the Station Diary/case diary, as the case may be. In addition to this, the Registering Officer should also work as an Enquiry Officer whereby he/she should be made responsible for following up the entire procedure of tracing/tracking the missing child. The JAPU (Juvenile Aid Police Unit) can, if required, be utilized for addressing the issue of missing children, even though the children who are missing can never be labeled as juveniles, but are, in fact, children in need of care and attention. The functioning of this unit/squad should be regularly monitored/ reviewed by Senior Officers and wherever necessary timely instructions and assistance should be provided to the Registering-cum-Enquiry Officer. 3. COURT DIRECTIVES: There is a need to reiterate the implementation of the Supreme Court Guidelines given on 14/11/2002 in Writ Petition (Cri.) No 610 of 1996 filed by Horilal Vs. Commissioner of Police, Delhi &Ors. in all police stations across the country. This would entail prompt and effective steps for tracing missing children. As per the directions given by the Delhi High Court, a Cell relating to missing persons/children was set up in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This Cell has been functioning ever since but due to lack of adequate resources, desired results could not be achieved. Since the CBI is a Central investigating agency having powers and jurisdiction to take up cases of inter-state and international ramifications, it would be desirable to strengthen this Cell to enhance its capacity to coordinate and investigate criminal cases relating to missing children and persons. 4. ROLE OF DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION: The legislation enjoins upon the district administration in the country to get places where children are employed, periodically inspected. The Committee urges the authorities concerned to hold district administration accountable for dereliction in discharging this responsibility. The Committee is of the opinion that this exercise of regular inspections, if undertaken in all earnest, will ensure linking back a large number of children missing from their homes. 5. MANDATORY REPORTING: The State Police Headquarters should evolve a system of mandatory reporting whereby all incidents of missing children across the country 121


Missing Children:Who Cares?

should be reported to the newly constituted National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) within 24 hours of occurrence. Failure to report promptly would give rise to the presumption that there was an attempt to suppress the incident. The reporting should be done promptly and the procedure could be the same as is being followed by the concerned authorities for reporting custodial death cases to the NHRC. 6. INVOLVING PANCHAYAT RAJ INSTITUTIONS (PRIs) etc.: In order to make the investigative procedures concerning missing children more transparent and user-friendly, it would be preferable for the police investigating team to involve the community at large, such as representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions/Municipal Committees/ Neighbourhood Committees/Resident Welfare Associations, etc. in addition to existing help lines. This will enable the community to get fully involved along with the police in tracing missing children. The Directors-General of Police should seriously consider taking full advantage of these agencies in the task of not only investigating crimes relating to children but also in tracking down missing children. The role of Panchayats and such bodies should be extended to: • • • •

Prompt reporting of missing children; Prompt dissemination of intelligence, if any, to the law enforcement agencies; Rendering assistance to law enforcement agencies for tracing children; and Provide timely feedback to the law enforcement agencies about the return of the child.

7. INVOLVING NGO’s: In places where vulnerable groups of children are found in large numbers, there is need for enforcement agencies to evolve some kind of a mechanism in partnership with non-governmental organizations and social workers, whereby apart from rendering counseling to them, awareness raising activities are also carried out. This would not only instill confidence in them but also strengthen them and give them special protection so that they are in no way lured by external agencies/factors. This initiative could be taken by the Missing Children Squad/Cell in the Districts. The DGPs need to ensure action on this initiative. 8. NATIONAL DATABASE AND MONITORING: NCRB should establish a National Tracking System that would encompass the grass-root level in locating and tracing missing children. There should be prompt reporting not of missing children only, but also of their return/rescue/recovery. All instances where children are rescued from places of exploitation including places of sexual exploitation and also exploitative labour, should be dovetailed into the NCRB data base. The Director NCRB should liaise with the Project Coordinator, Anti Human Trafficking UNODC, New Delhi, and workout the format as the UNODC is working in the field of empowering law enforcement agencies and developing appropriate projects etc. with respect to Anti Human Trafficking and related issues. This could be made effective through web-based and other intra- and inter-State networking linkages. The information that is gathered ought to be appropriately disseminated. It is suggested that the NCRB evolve one-page useful position papers that has information with regard to various crimes, including the relevant statistics. This could be auseful and accessible tool for different agencies that are dealing with a particular problem. For example, relevant information relating to missing children, if it is put in a page or two 122


Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

will be far more accessible and readable for all stakeholders than information compiled as part of a voluminous report prepared by the NCRB. 9. SCRB/DCRB: There is an urgent need to revive State/District Crime Records Bureau. The database on missing persons, their return and the processes involved should be properly documented. The State Missing Persons’ Bureaus (MPB), needs to be revamped, made functional and strengthened. The officers should be well trained and knowledgeable to address the issues in an analytical manner and from the perspective of Human Rights. The SCRB and the MPB should have proper liaison between them, so that the database of SCRB and NCRB are dovetailed to the functioning of MPB and the Special cell/ squad to be set up in the Police Stations. The MPB data should be specifically updated with the data of rescued children from trafficking crimes. 10. HELPLINE: There is a need to establish a Child Helpline through NGOs/PRIs/other agencies with adequate support from Government in all the districts. The Department of Women & Child Development, Govt. of India, may take the initiative to set up such a national network. 11. OUTSOURCING PRELIMINARY INQUIRY TO NGOs: The NHRC Committee came to know about several instances where NGOs are actively functional, delivering the best results, in tracing missing children and also documenting them. Such efforts and initiatives have supplemented the work of the law enforcement agencies. The synergy of police and NGOs can be of immense help in addressing this issue and in providing tremendous support to the police agencies who are preoccupied with several other tasks, especially in those places where the police station strength is very poor. Therefore, preliminary inquiry into missing persons could be outsourced to NGOs, who are willing to undertake this task. MHA may issue appropriate guidelines to the States in this regard. Each State can identify a few such NGOs and notify them if required. As of today nothing stops NGOs from causing such inquiries and many are already doing this work. Therefore, the best option, in the given situation, is to develop synergy between the law enforcement agencies and the NGOs and institutionalize this partnership 12. COGNIZABILITY OF THE EVIDENCE: In order to facilitate proper enquiry/ investigation, it is advisable that an FIR is registered by the police with respect to the issue of missing children. Therefore, all such issues may not warrant registration of an FIR immediately. Nevertheless, it is advisable to register FIR if a missing child does not come back or is not traced within a reasonable time. The State Governments are advised to consider issuing appropriate directions to the law enforcement agencies to set a time limit of 15 days from the date of reporting to presume a case of mala-fide intent, if a child is not traced back within 15 days and to register an FIR with respect to all such casesof missing children. 13. SENSITIZATION OF STAKEHOLDERS: There is a need to sensitize all ranks of police personnel and other stakeholders to the issue of missing children. For this a twoday module is to be designed by BPRD, so that a uniform training is imparted to all concerned. Along with this, there is a need to prepare suitable reading material that includes good practices about missing children from other States/Union Territories as well as other countries. 123


Missing Children:Who Cares?

14. RESCUE OF CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE AND ATTENTION: There is a need to identify “runaway children”, “abandoned children”, “neglected children” and such “vulnerable children” who are often found roaming around places where they are particularly exposed to abuse and exploitation such as railway stations, traffic junction etc. Their vulnerability increases due to a lack of support structures – family or otherwise. Proper identification, provision of care and support, and a ‘safe place’ is vital for them. These children are, under the JJ Act, children in need of care and attention which they should be given. This can be achieved by producing them before CWC and ensuring proper care in the concerned Homes. If Government Homes are not available, Government agencies should support appropriate NGOs to set up such Homes. The State Governments are called upon to notify such NGOs immediately so that they can become functional without delay. States should ensure that such notifications are done on a time frame of one month from the date of application by the NGOs. 15. I-CARD FOR CHIDREN: The local administration should facilitate the schools to keep a watch on their children, especially when they become untraced or become dropouts. Schools and teaching institutions should introduce photo identity cards for children, so that tracing is possible. All such photos with identity particulars are to be documented and data base developed urgently. The State Governments and the Central Government should take initiatives in this regard. Schools should embark on a programme of empowering the children with regard to their rights, legal strengths and defence mechanisms in case of need. 16. POVERTY ALLEVIATION MEASURES: It is acknowledged that poverty is one of the main factors in pushing children into inhospitable conditions and making them vulnerable for exploitation. The Central and State Governments have introduced several schemes to be implemented at Gram Panchayat level with the object of providing job opportunities to the poor and the disadvantaged and elevating them from the poverty line. 17. ROLE OF STATE COMMISSIONS: There is a need to involve State Human Rights Commissions, Women Commission of State/ Centre etc., with regard to the issue of missing children. Such bodies have tremendous overarching influence on all stakeholders in addressing the issues appropriately in their respective jurisdictions. 18. ROLE OF THEMEDIA: In view of the current dreadful situation, the media can play an important role in increasing public awareness of missing children and the plight of the thousands of hapless families whose children are listed as untraced. This could be achieved as follows: •

At the newsroom level, crime reporters and metro editors need to include the category of missing children as a regular beat and as part of their daily news grind.

 hese stories need to be followed up and tracked regularly just like other stories of murder, T human trafficking, etc. A LOST and FOUND series could be commenced. The cases of missing children being traced / returned home should be treated as “good news” stories which will also encourage the police / local authorities.

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Conceptualization of Missing Annexures Children

 he large picture story on the enormity of the continuing malaise of missing children T could coincide with Human Rights Day, Children’s Day and so on.

 ewspapers can make a separate section in their classified sections on missing children. N The notices and advertisements on missing children need to have better display and more prominence and space in newspapers and TV bulletins.

J ust as some newspapers carry a daily/weekly count of say, victims of terrorism, a slot for missing children in the city / country can be commenced.

 ewspapers or TV channels with an emphasis on local news can have an arrangement N with either the police or a local NGO, which has worked in the area to print without charge announcements and advertisements on missing children.

 he missing child story should also be picked up for the daily crime shows many TV T channels have commenced. Just as investigative stories are done on the flesh trade, on organ smuggling etc. case studies of how missing children end up in brothels or factories can be carried. Cases can be picked from solved cases or; where children were smuggled across borders. Identities can be masked if need be.

 edia organizations like media unions, the women’s press corps and so on can collaborate M with agencies like the NHRC and other NGOs working on children’s rights issues to hold seminars and symposiums on the subject.

19. ATTENTION TO TRANSIT POINTS OF TRAFFICKING: There is a need to keep special vigils at railway stations, bus-stands, airports, sea- ports and such other places, which act as transit points for missing children, including children who run away or are made to run away. In this context, the Government Railway Police, the Railway Protection Force, Airport and Seaport authorities need to be briefed about the issue of missing children. 20. M  ISSING CHILDREN FROM ACROSS THE BORDER: This is a grey area, which largely remains unaddressed. It has been reported that several foreign children who have been trafficked into India have been punished as illegal immigrants and are made to suffer. NHRC recommends the state governments to undertake review of all such cases and provide relief to such children, as all trafficked children, irrespective of their nationality, are children in need of care and attention. Moreover, there is a need for developing a Protocol on this issue. It is learnt that UNODC in its anti-human trafficking project can provide the required technical assistance. In this regard the Ministry of Women and Child Development can utilize the technical assistance of UNODC and, in close coordination with the MEA, develop a protocol on this topic. The Project Coordinator, UNODC, may provide the required technical assistance.

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Missing Children:Who Cares?

21. SURVEY AND RESEARCH: The world of missing children is unknown and there is no proper study or research on this issue. Even today the exact figures of missing or traced children are not available. The existing legislation requires the State and district authorities to periodically carry out inspections/ surveys of places where children are employed with a view to identifying missing children and those engaged in bonded labour/ child labour. This task has remained a low priority area. There is an urgent need for the State administration to undertake micro studies especially at the places where children are reportedly vulnerable. A village-wise survey of all children who have gone missing or even recovered is an urgent need to understand the true dimensions of the problem. Studies by academic institutions into various factors behind the vulnerability of children are recommended in order to generate the right response.

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