New Delhi, India
By Mansi Thapliyal
Atika, 10, woke up early one morning in August 2008 and was sent by her mother to buy a few items from a nearby shop. She returned and told her mother she would prepare tea for her father before quickly going to use a communal toilet close to her house. She never returned.
Ambika was a feisty 15-year-old high school student who took wrestling classes. Her mother returned home from work late in the night on October 10, 2010. She woke up the next morning and found her daughter missing.
Atika and Ambika are among the thousands of children who go missing from India's streets, schools and homes every year.
Following the case of a 5-year-old girl in Delhi who went missing and was then allegedly raped by a neighbor, I chose to find out what happens to girls who go missing and the struggles their parents go through to find them.
According to a report by Delhi-based child rights NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, from January 1, 2013-April 20, 2013 there has been approximately 680 cases of missing children in Delhi, 65 percent of whom are girls. In most cases girls are either forced into the sex trade or trafficked to placement agencies to work as domestic workers.