Children who runaway from houses become easy prey for human
traffickers. People involved in this illegal business find it easy to
watch for such children at Railway Stations and Bus Stands. They are later trained in anti-social activities which earns them money.
In order provide care and protection for such runaway children found on Railway platforms and prevent them falling into the clutches of the child traffickers, a special committee has been formed called Child Protection Committee of Southern Western Railways. It has rescued 23 runaway children since September 2014 in Mysuru division of SWR.
While 15 of them have been sent back to their parents, the remaining are being housed in NGOs and other rehabilitation centers. A team comprising of five members functioning at Mysuru, Hassan, Arsikere, Chikjajur and Davangere stations will be keep a regular vigil over the movements of such children wandering in railway platforms. On finding them, the officials will approach the children and collect their details.
Children runaway from homes for petty issues with parents and most of them invariably come to railway station to catch a train to escape from their hometown. The team's task is to counsel such children and ensure they return back to their parents. Those children whose whereabouts cannot be traced will be rehabilitated at the designated NGOs.
The team also keeps an eye on the 'Look out Notice' (Missing Child) advertisements carried in the newspapers which will help them easily identify such runaway children, while making all efforts to make them reach their parents safely. This apart, the team also provides counseling for the parents and inform them about child rearing. This initiative of Railways to safeguard and rehabilitate runaway children has been receiving good appreciation from many quarters.
V Channamallikarjuna, Divisional Security Commissioner, SWR Mysore Division said that children of different age groups have been traced and rehabilitated.
'There is need to creating public awareness about protection of such children. The public if they spot any such child, should immediately alert the officers, so they can be rescued and rehabilitated. A 24x7 helpline number 182 has also been launched for the protection of passengers, especially women and children,' he added.
Parushuram, Founder of Odanadi Seva Samsthe, working for the rescue, rehabilitation and empowerment of trafficked and sexually exploited women and children said that it is essential to provide a separate bogie with child rescue team in trains leaving to Mumbai and Delhi, as most of the children are transported to this two cities.
'Presently children found on platforms are being rescued. Whereas,
traffickers take away children in a very systematic way and operate very secretly. Railway cops should keep eye on such groups. The child should be quizzed about his background and whether he is accompanied by any of his family member. Frequent announcements about human trafficking should be made. As a result large number of human trafficking cases can be curbed,' he suggested.
Statistics of Child Rescued
* Runway children:
Mysuru (5); Davangere (5); Shivamogga (3), Hassan (5), each from
Kasargod, Chikkamagaluru, Ramanagar, Ballari and Bengaluru.
* Rescued at: Davangere Railway Station (10); Mysuru (2); Hassan (4); Arasikere (3); Sakleshpura (1); Shivamogga (3).
* 23 children have been rescued since September 2014
* 15 children have been sent back with parents
* Child Activists say dedicated bogie for the protection of children
is required in trains leaving to Mumbai and Delhi.