2736 children went missing in 2013 from Karachi: report

Karachi: The outgoing year 2013 recorded as many as 2736 children reportedly missing from the jurisdiction of 114 police stations in 18 towns of Karachi, says data collected by the Roshni Helpline, a civil society group working to uphold the rights of women and children.

“If a child (under 18) goes out of contact of family or guardians, he or she is considered as missing child,” said Muhammad Ali, head of Roshni, quoting definitions of a child from the Sindh Child Protection Act, 2013 and United Nation’s convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC).

He formally released the yearly report on missing children. According to the assessment of Roshni Helpline out of 2736 cases of missing children only 984 cases were reported in Police stations. The actual number is supposed to be much higher than the reported cases as generally families don’t trust police and avoid visiting police stations for reporting of missing children’s cases. Out of the reported 984 cases at police stations include 811 as Non-Cognizable (NC) cases wherein police do not adopt formal procedure of recovery. Police lodged 173 FIRs in the missing children cases.

During the outgoing year, family members with the help of neighbours and relatives found 312 children who went missing. These cases remain unreported with the police but Roshni Helpline traced and tracked such cases when they came into its notice until the family reunion. There is need of awareness among communities of timely reporting of missing children cases, suggests Roshni’s report.

1113 missing children’s cases were announced through mosques and majority of the cases were not reported to Police. The mosques made announcements regarding 2 to 3 children reportedly missing from the area connected to each mosque per month. Normally mosques are the 1st point of announcement for missing children cases.

The data says out of the total missing children, 65.25% were boys and 34.75% were girls. Majority of the children missing were between the ages of 6 to 14 years. The recovery ratio of missing children was only 17% during last year. The recovery and reporting ratio of missing children is increasing – which is good mark for future.

Roshni Helpline has registered and handled 311 cases of missing children during last year and reunified 33 children as well. Roshni Helpline four digit number “1138” was praised by the society and it helped families in effective reporting of missing children. Roshni helps families in lodging FIR of their missed/kidnapped children. Roshni helpline then guided the families and helped to lodge their cases in the police stations and also provide them psychological and emotional counselling.

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