Concerned over the increasing number of child trafficking cases, the Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered senior police officials to investigate the case and present the results by Friday.
A division bench of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice Sanjeev Khanna said, "This is a very serious matter and needs to be investigated by a senior level officer of the Delhi police".
The court heard Public Interest Litigation filed by the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan blamed the placement agencies for the illegal trafficking of girls and advised compulsory registration of all such agencies.
Senior lawyers H S Phoolka and Kavita Tiwari, advocating for the NGO, told the bench that the girls were forced into prostitution and the boys into illegal activities.
Bachpan Bachao Andolan, in early January, claimed of rescuing thirty-five girls and four boys from various placement agencies in the capital.
Though child trafficking is growing rapidly in India, there is no reliable data available on the issue in India.
According to figures provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2004, as many as 2,265 cases of kidnapping and abduction of children qualified as forms of trafficking and were reported to the police.
Of these, 1,593 cases were of kidnapping for marriage, 414 were for illicit sex, 92 for unlawful activity, 101 for prostitution and the rest for various other things like slavery, beggary and even selling body parts.
Most of these children (72 per cent) were between sixteen and eighteen years of age. Twenty-five per cent were children aged eleven to fifteen years.
Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu are the states from where the maximum numbers of children are trafficked to other states.
Intra state/inter district trafficking is high in the states of Rajasthan, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra while States like Delhi and Goa are 'receiver' states.
Trafficking of children from the North-Eastern states of India and the bordering countries in the north-east is a serious issue but has so far not drawn public attention.
Children are trafficked for several reasons including sexual exploitation; adoption; entertainment and sports (for example, acrobatics in circus, dance troupes, beer bars; as camel jockeys); marriage; labour; begging, organ trade (though only anecdotal evidence of this is available); drug peddling and smuggling.