19:02 GMT +3 hours27 November 2014
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Top investigator says 12,500 children missing in Russia

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Russia's top investigative body said on Thursday that 12,500 children are currently officially listed as missing in the country.
MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's top investigative body said on Thursday that 12,500 children are currently officially listed as missing in the country.

Investigation Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin also said that 1,500 children have been victims of crime since the start of 2008, of whom 400 were raped or murdered.

Addressing the committee, he called for urgent measures to improve the situation, including steps to raise awareness among parents, schools and police.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund, between 20,000 and 100,000 Russian children live on the streets, and 730,000 have no parental care. The main causes are believed to be poverty, alcoholism, domestic abuse, lack of funds among orphanages, and inadequate resources of child protection organizations.

Human rights organizations say trafficking in children continues to be a major problem in Russia, and have urged the government take measures to improve child protection.

In its 2008 report, the UN Refugee Agency said: "The Government of the Russian Federation does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking," but "it is making significant efforts to do so."