Missing persons: alarming record

A large number of Bengaluru’s women, men and children go missing daily, and several of them remain untraced. This is reason for serious concern. According to Bengaluru City Police’s Missing Persons Bureau, around 400 people go missing from the city every month. It is heartening that most of these people are found eventually and return home; on an average, some 280 people are traced per month. Yet, it is distressing that the fate and whereabouts of around 120 people each month remain unknown. They could be lost, kidnapped, trafficked, or even dead. For families and friends of the missing person, it means a future of uncertainty, of never knowing what happened to their loved one and of being denied closure. For the missing person herself, life isn’t easy as more often than not women who go missing are trafficked and forced to engage in prostitution. Many children run away hoping to become film stars but end up begging on the streets. The number of people going missing each year is growing. With population in cities witnessing explosive growth, it is not difficult for runaways to get lost for ever.

Most children run away from home to escape punishment by their parents for poor performance at school. Young women often elope, fearing their parents will not allow them to marry the man of their choice. And men leave home when they are unable to bear the pressures of unpaid debt or unemployment. Many elderly people, too, run away to escape ill-treatment by younger family members. Problems like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or mental illnesses are emerging as important reasons for people leaving home, getting lost and going untraced. Not all cases of people going missing can be prevented. Still, it is possible to reduce their numbers. Parents and other family members, teachers and co-workers need to be more supportive, especially when a person is undergoing emotional upheaval or challenges in school and the workplace. It is when families are not supportive that children and youth feel the need to run away.

Importantly, families and friends must report a missing person to the police as soon as possible as the initial hours are critical to tracing a person. However, family members often do not want others to know about upheavals at home and therefore delay going to the police as much as possible. It is important, too, that they provide police with all information. Disclosure of personal issues is no doubt difficult, but more information facilitates tracing a missing person. Police, too, need to take complaints seriously and act immediately. Social media sites are valuable tools and police and families must use them to trace missing persons.

 

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Missing persons: alarming record

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