With 8 children missing every day, an increasing number of children are disappearing in TN
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has shown that there has been a steady increase in cases of missing children in the Tamil Nadu. The data shows that the number of children missing in the state has increased from 2,325 in 2010 to 3,063 in 2013. Further, 203 children have gone missing in the first 14 days of 2014. This comes to an average of 8 children every day.
It has also come to notice that the Missing Child Bureau in the department of social defence, has been practically non-existent with no official being appointed to it since 2007. The bureau was set up in 2001 with the mandate to coordinate with enforcement agencies and track the children who have been missing.
As per the government statistics, 11,026 children have disappeared since 2010 and 879 (488 girls and 391 boys) remain untraced. The issue of concern is the high number of females who have gone missing numbering 7,002 cases or 63% of the total, as compared to boys (4,024). Estimates say that only about half of the cases are reported. Social activist A Narayanan has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on trafficking of children from the Northeast which is pending before the Madras high court. He has pointed that the requirement of the Juvenile Justice Act that an officer in every police station should be trained in child welfare is hardly ever followed and very few police stations have a child welfare officer.
In March 2013, the Supreme Court (SC) had issued notices to the Centre and states, asking them to file the status reports on children missing in the states. However, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh failed to file a status report even on an extended deadline, it invited the fury of the Court which threatened to order the arrest of chief secretaries of these states.