KARACHI: Some 20 children, who had gone missing from their homes, were sexually abused and then killed during the year 2023 across the country, data released by a non-profit organisation said on Wednesday.
According to Roshni Helpline`s annual report, a total of 2,633 cases of missing children were reported in the country from January to December 2023, and1,942 of them were successfully recovered and united with their parents.
The report said that bodies of 33 children were recovered during the last year and 20 of them were sexually abused and murdered. Seven bodies were recovered from manholes and drains, while five children died in accidents. `Twentythree kidnapped children were successfully recovered,` it added.
However, the organisation, which focused on tracking record of missing children and coordinating with authorities for their safe recovery, added that more than 600 children were still missing and efforts were underway for their recovery.
It said that Sindhreported1,543 cases of missing children followed by Punjab with 805 cases, Islamabad with 125 cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 113,Balochistan 35, Azad Kashmir 11 and Gilgit-Baltistan reported only one case.
The gender-wise data shows that 2,140 of the reported missing children are boys, while 493 are girls. The age-wise brackets reveal that 354 cases involve newborns to children under five, while 596 cases involve those aged between six and 10 years.
A total of 1,299 cases include those aged between 11 and 15 years and 384 cases involve those aged between 16 and 17 years.
`The reported cases highlight a notable and major concern regarding the increase in the number of children running away from home, particularly among those aged 11 to 15 years,` the report said, adding: `The rise is attributed to parents`lack ofunderstanding of their children`s psyche, leading them toadopt violent methods.
`This finding suggests a concerning trend where the use of violent methods by parents may contribute to an increased incidence of children leaving their homes, and this issue has escalated from 2022 to 2023,` the report said.
Additionally, it said, that an alarming increase in runaway cases among children above 10 years old is ascribed to communication gap between parents and children and the imposition of societal pressure and decisions upon them.
Some cases revealed that children left their home due to poverty, psychological issues within family, parent`s neglect and domestic issues, including parental abuse, parents not being able to fulfil their small wishes and various other reasons.