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Missing Children: Why do children run away from home, who are they and what do they want… what happens after running away?

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New Delhi: About 47 percent of the children in the country are running away from home either to fall in love or to get away from studies. The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), the crime branch’s anti-human trafficking unit, has come to this conclusion after searching for missing children. Police have searched 283 children in one and a half year. “Around 46 per cent of the missing children were found in 13 different states while 54 per cent were found in Delhi alone,” he said.

Why do children run away from home?

As many as 134 children in the age group of 15 to 18 years reported that they had either left home after falling in love or were not interested in studies. 40 percent of the children in the age group of 8 to 14 years got lured by the luxurious life of other cities and left home. At the same time, 13 percent of the children had left home due to different reasons. AHTU SP Surendra Gulia said that most of the missing children are from slums or rehabilitation colonies in Delhi. Another official said, “Most of the children are from poor families who migrated to other cities in search of a better life as it happens in films.”

What do children do when they run away?
AHTU Inspector Virendra said that some children were found working in hotels, factories and farms etc. At the same time, some children were begging or working as domestic servants. He left the house and ran away for luxury but the situation got worse. Yet many children did not want to return home because they feared being beaten up by their parents. Some felt that they would not be accepted in the society. It took a long time to persuade him to change his mind.

Parents are so ignorant
AHTU head constable Gopa Krishna told that the parents of many children were not even aware that their children also had mobile phones. “The children told us that they were given a phone call by some familiar and even unfamiliar people whom they had come in contact with through one or the other means,” he said. “We found many children begging and sleeping on the streets,” said constable Sukanya, who was involved in the rescue mission. He said, ‘Those under whose delusion the children left the house, they cheated and left on their own. Then those children were left with no option but to spend time in parks or shelter homes.

Police work is not easy

DCP Vichitra Veer, Crime Branch of Delhi Police said that after the missing report is registered, the police starts trying to trace the children and hand them over to their parents. However, it is not an easy task. Sometimes the police have to walk several kilometres, cross rivers and even go to nax affected areas.

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