Eleven children go missing every hour and seven are never found in India, according to a New Delhi-based child rights organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement).
Radhika from the capital, New Delhi, has been looking for her lost son for the past seven years. She does not want to let go of her son’s clothes, toys and books.
“Let them gather dust but when I feel like hugging my son, I touch them and try to imagine him,” she told Al Jazeera.
“It is pain you cannot imagine,” Radhika, who is in her late 20s, said.
Like Radhika, thousands of other parents have been desperately looking for their sons and daughters.
“There is no closure,” Azhar Mohammad from east Delhi said after wiping tears. His daughter has been missing for five years.
According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, more than 300,000 women and 64,000 girls have been abducted in the past nine years.
“Some reasons of child trafficking include forced labour, commercial sexual exploitation, illegal adoption, and organ trade among others,” Bachpan Bachao Andolan said in its report.
Some children run away from home, abandoned by parents or separated because of natural calamities. Often children rescued in one state could be missing in another. And there is no centralised database to connect them.
From 2005 to 2012, every year there was a 23.2 percent increase in the rate of girl child kidnappings.