According to the latest report prepared by Child In Need Institute (CINI), "Darjeeling showed the steepest rise of missing children (according to the data available with them for 8 districts of the state for 2010, 2011 and 2012)".
In 2012, Darjeeling district had 924 cases of missing children as compared to 430 in 2010. More than half of the missing children were girls, said the report which sourced its data from the District Crime Records Bureau (DCRB).
Rajib K Haldar, additional director of CINI, said due to the geographical location of Darjeeling, children are more vulnerable to cross-border trafficking via Nepal.
Children possibly being trafficked into Nepal and Bangladesh
"Cross-border districts are used as transit points by the traffickers and children mostly from the remote villages remain the target," he said.
A majority of the missing children were from poor families and found themselves trafficked for various reasons - as labour in factories, farms or homes, sold for commercial sexual exploitation, marriage or forced into beggary.
The report says West Bengal has become a source point for child trafficking within the country. It also serves as transit for cross-border trafficking as it shares porous borders with Nepal and Bangladesh.