The government has launched a “Lost and Found” website to help families trace the tens of thousands of children in the country who go missing every year – often abducted for forced labour or sexual exploitation – and are never found.
The “Khoya Paya”, or “Lost and Found”, website khoyapaya.gov.in was launched by Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, who said the portal would allow parents to register details of missing children and citizens to report sightings.
The information will be shared in real time with police and state authorities, which are mandated to register the complaint and investigate the case.
“It was felt that we could have this portal, where if a child goes missing, families can put the details and the picture onto Khoya Paya,” Gandhi said at an event to launch the website, which is the first of its kind in India.
“Then if you see the child anywhere, you can upload information and then the police see if they can correlate it.”
Around 70,000 children go missing every year in India, Gandhi said, citing figures from the National Crime Records Bureau. But only 73,597 children have been traced between January 2012 and April 2015, she added.
Child rights activists and government officials say that many of the country’s missing children come from poor rural areas or urban slums where they are at high risk.