Alarmed by increasing cases of child trafficking, Maharashtra’s Women and Child Welfare Department wants DNA tests to be conducted of women seen begging on roads to establish whether they are the real mothers of the babies they carry along with them.
“The government constantly receives complaints of children being trafficked to Maharashtra under false pretext. Parents of these children are either lied to or lured due to their poor socio-economic conditions thus forcing them to sell their children. These newborns are then used as a tool to make money,” a WCD official said.
“We suspect that a large number of women carrying babies in their arms and begging on the streets are not their real mothers. It seems that babies are being drugged with sleep inducing medicines so that they do not cause hindrance to those who want to make money using them,” the official said.
“Young children are being given drugs to stop them from crying. Whenever brought to notice, children should be immediately brought to child welfare homes and a DNA test should be conducted on them and their mothers to ascertain the mother’s identity,” states a proposal recently sent by the WCD to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The official said that the department had initial talks with Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria and the matter is under consideration in the Chief Minister’s office.
“Currently there are 28 government child welfare homes, 994 government-aided child welfare homes and 89 private child welfare homes in the state. Apart from these, there are many child welfare homes that are not known to the government. When I visited the child welfare home in Dongri, several issues came to light that need urgent addressing,” the proposal mentioned.
The WCD official said that the government will need to incur an expenditure of about Rs 2-4 crore annually to carry the DNA tests.
“The government will then post the details of children along with their photographs on our missing children website so that they can be reunited with their families,” the official said.