| Jan 2, 2024
The wrong papers to report your missing child?
Sixteen-year-old Jaya, (not her real name) and her parents migrated 900 KM from Madhya Pradesh to find work in the cotton farms of Gujarat.
One day, Jaya left the fields to rest but did not return. Her parents started to get worried and asked around to check if anyone had seen Jaya.
It was not until late in the day, that they heard the unimaginable news that a man had taken her and left the area.
In great distress, they went to the local police station to file a complaint. The local police, however, refused the register the complaint because Jaya’s parents did not have proof of her date of birth or their own identification cards.
Despite there being no formal requirement to present this evidence, the police still refused to file the complaint.
Jaya’s parents, therefore, hurried back, making the 20-hour journey to their home village in Madhya Pradesh to get the correct documents. But they still did not have Jaya’s birth certificate or their identification cards. This meant another trip to a childcare centre to get a letter certifying Jaya’s age. All this was done whilst her parents didn’t know if their daughter was alive or not, creating a huge mental strain for them both.
Jaya’s parents returned to the police station in their home village to file a complaint. Again, the police refused.
Subsequently, Jaya’s parents learned that their daughter had been abducted by a man from their own village, who had local police connections. He had followed her all the way to Gujarat and carefully planned her abduction.
At this point, Jaya’s parents were losing hope and did not know where to turn.
They called up our project helpline, which your donations fund, to seek help.
The team collected all the relevant documents and ensured a report was filed and accepted by the police in Gujarat where the crime took place. This required a lot of coordination from the project team since they do not have staff in Gujarat, but their commitment to the rights of Jaya and her parents were strong.
Finally, the police paid attention and the Superintendent of Police became involved.
They formed a rescue team and brought Jaya back home to her parents one and a half months after her abduction. A complaint was filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, along with the charges of abduction, and the man is now under arrest as the case goes through the courts.
Jaya and her parents are recovering from the ordeal, but they still face the consequences of going against a politically influential man in their own district.
Thankfully, their safety and livelihood opportunities haven’t been affected. The vulnerabilities of a migrant household are many, perhaps beyond what we can comprehend and address through our program. But successfully closing cases like these gives a message that we are on the right track.
Thank you for your continued support.