Close to 3,000 missing children have been found in New Delhi thanks to the implementation of an experimental facial recognition system (FRS) software program, according to NDTV.
In an attempt to help locate missing children, India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development created TrackChild, an online database where photos and information of missing and found children can be shared amongst citizens, police and agencies.
Still, it hasn’t been enough.
"India currently has almost 2 lakh [200,000] missing children and about 90,000 lodged in various child care institutions. It is almost impossible for anyone [to] manually go through photographs to match the children," Bhuwan Ribhu, an activist from child rights organization Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), told The Better India.
That’s why BBA created the FRS system.
The FRS software automates TrackChild’s ability to compare photos. Photos are fed into the system and then it presumably uses a facial recognition algorithm to identify missing children.
From 2012 to 2017 alone, 242,938 children disappeared in India, The New York Times reported.
Often missing children have been sold off and become victims of child labour or human trafficking, and many cases of missing children still go unreported.
Ribhu believes the number of missing children is actually closer to 500,000 per year, according to The New York Times.
The city police department was able to set up the software after the Delhi High Court intervened and secured its application to help police.
After using photos of 45,000 missing children from the TrackChild database, in its first four days, the software identified 2,930 children. Ideally, this type of software will help reunite children with their families.
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