They are boys like Irfan, drugged and abducted at the age of 9 by two men on a motorbike as he walked home one day after playing with friends.
“It was living hell these past two years, trying to figure out where we could find him,” said his father, Iqbal Ali. “I used to run a biscuit bakery, but from the day he disappeared, I got so caught up trying to meet politicians, police and people who claim to do magic to get children back, that I had to shut down my bakery. I had no time for it.”
More than 90,000 children are officially reported missing every year, according to data compiled and released late last year by leading children’s rights group Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which showed the problem was far greater than previously thought.
Up to 10 times that number are trafficked, according to the group — boys and girls, most from poor families, torn from their parents, sometimes in return for cash, and forced to beg or work in farms, factories and homes, or sold for sex and marriage.read