Official figures show that 44,000 children disappear each year in India. Some are eventually recovered, but one in four remain untraced. Yet, with many parents reporting that police are reluctant to register cases or investigate and other parents complicit in the sale of their own children, the true figure is believed to be much higher – with some estimates of up to a million children every year.

A new report by India’s human rights commission says that, while some of the children are killed almost immediately, others are ‘working as cheap forced labour in illegal factories/establishments/homes, exploited as sex slaves or forced into the child porn industry, as camel jockeys in the Gulf countries, as child beggars in begging rackets, as victims of illegal adoptions or forced marriages, or perhaps worse than any of these as victims of organ trade and even grotesque cannibalism.’

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