MP: 30 Children Went Missing Everyday During Second Lockdown, Reveals Report
Bhopal: On an average, 30 children went missing every day during the second Covid-induced lockdown in Madhya Pradesh as compared to 25 children in the first lockdown, of whom over 82% were girls, reveals a new report by child rights NGO Child Rights and You (CRY).
The 28-page report was released in the wake of International Missing Children’s Day, observed on May 25. This was CRY’s 10th edition of the Status Report on Missing Children, which shows a 26% jump in missing children compared to 2020.
On average, 29 children in Madhya Pradesh, 14 in Rajasthan, five in Delhi, and eight from 58 districts of Uttar Pradesh went missing every day in 2021.
Both primary and secondary data were used in the report to illustrate the state of missing children during the pandemic. Secondary data was accessed through the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) Annual Report ‘Crime in India’ (2016-2020). To find out the incidences of missing children during COVID-19, data was gathered through RTI from various ministries of the Union government and respective states.
According to the report, 10,648 children went missing in Madhya Pradesh in 2021, the majority of them falling between the age group of 12-18 years. Of which, 8,876 were girls, and 1,772 were boys. On average, 29 children, including 24 girls and five boys, went missing per day from the 52 districts of Madhya Pradesh.
In 2020, Madhya Pradesh reported as many as 8,751 cases of missing children, according to NCRB data. Compared to 2020, the state has seen a jump of 26%.
The highest cases of missing children are from Indore, Bhopal, Dhar, Jabalpur and Rewa; the report adds that sex trafficking, forced labour, forced child marriage, abandonment, and domestic violence could be the possible reasons for various.
Outlining the reason for the surge in cases of trafficking, child rights activist and Regional Director of CRY (North) Soha Moitra said, “Mandatory use of face masks made it challenging to identify the traffickers and kidnappers during the pandemic. Moreover, the police personnel were given additional responsibilities during this period, such as the implementation of the lockdown. This made it difficult for them to investigate other cases related to children.”
She further said, “In Madhya Pradesh, among the children who went missing in 2021, more than 83% were girls. In absolute numbers, Madhya Pradesh reported 8,876 cases of missing girls last year. It is a matter of grave concern that the trend of girls constituting a significantly higher proportion of missing children has persisted for the last five years,” said Soha Moitra.
She further said that “The in-depth analysis of NCRB data done in this status report also suggests that the proportion of girl children in total missing children has increased from 65%in 2016 to 77% in 2020 at the all-India level. This has been the trend across all the four States, with Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan accounting for the highest proportion of girl children among all missing children.”
Last year, CRY released a report ‘COVID and Missing Childhoods: A Status Report from 5 States,” the CRY stated that 4,371 girl children went missing in MP between January to July 2020, which is the highest among all the five northern states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.
The study conducted to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic-led lockdown on the status of missing children revealed that 9,453 cases of missing children were reported in five states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi between January-July 2020. Of these, 57% of cases were alone from Madhya Pradesh.
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