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Rescue children on railway platforms from abuse and trafficking

Campaign by CHILDLINE India Foundation

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Story

India’s railway network spans a distance of over 1.2 lakh kilometres, and ferries around 22.7 million people traveling across 7,300 railway stations, every day. It is among the cheapest modes of transportation in the country. It is estimated that 1,20,000 children arrive unaccompanied on railway platforms every year - this includes children who have run away from home, children who have been separated from their families and more. For many of these children, railway centres become their first point of contact with an urban centre. A sizeable number of runaways and street children also end up living in and around railway stations. Then there are those who are kidnapped or trafficked; many are transported through the railway network, and many others are abandoned at railway stations. 

All these children can be categorised as children in need of care and protection. They are constantly at risk and are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, violence, substance addiction and more. Therefore it is imperative that efforts are made to identify and rescue vulnerable children in and around railway stations, and bring them under the child protection system. 

Railway stations are key transit points from where vulnerable children can be brought under the safety net, before they fall into the hands of abusers. CHILDLINE with part-support from the Ministry of Women and Childline and the Ministry of Railways has set up Child Help Desks (CHDs) at Railway Stations to provide immediate assistance (food, medical care, temporary shelter) to vulnerable children found in and around railway stations. 

The Program for Children in Contact with Railway Stations (PCCRS) was instituted in April 2017, in partnership with Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, to create an enhanced model of the Child Help Desk at key railway stations where daily footfalls are especially high. This enhanced model aids in identifying and rescuing a larger number of vulnerable children, and also create provisions for the following: 

  • Restoration of rescued children 
  • Open shelters that provide immediate shelter to children who are rescued 
  • De-addiction services for children under the influence of substances
  • Sensitisation and training programmes for station-level stakeholders including Railway Protection Force, ticket collectors, porters, vendors, even passengers

Case study - A girl child saved from being trafficked Meena, 14-year old had been trafficked from Gurugram to Itawain Uttar Pradesh. CHILDLINE team Aligarh received a call from Gabhana Police Station that a girl child was found. Project Coordinator and CHILDLINE team member reached the spot and met the child. On interrogation, it was revealed that a man named Kallan, who works nearby her home and was known to her parents had brought her there to show her a temple. But he had some other intentions as after their temple visit, he took her to an Ashram where they stayed a night and in the morning boarded a bus. The girl questioned the man but was scolded and made to stay silent. As the bus passed by Gabhana area, the man misbehaved with the child and she started crying. This alerted the bus driver and other passengerswho asked the girl and stopped the bus at Gabhana Police Station. They handed over the child and the man to the police. Gabhana Police arrested the man, called CHILDLINE team and handed over the childto the team for care and protection. CHILDLINE team Aligarh then searched for the child’s address and informed the concerned Police Station of Badshapur in Gurugram. It was found that child‘s father had already filed a missing person FIR. Then CHILDLINE team co-ordinated with Badshapur Police and contacted the Gabhana Police. The Badshapur Police arrived with the parents to Aligarh. They arrested the man and took him under their custody. CHILDLINE team presented the child and her parents to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Aligarh. For the best interest of child, the CWC restored the child to her parents and transferred her case to Gurugram CWC for further trial and investigation.

Case study - Lost child found at railway platform CHILDLINE team received a call from a Railway Police Force (RPF) PSI, who informed them about a missing child and asked for help. On the same day CHILDLINE team reached RPF Valsad, where they were informed that they found the child alone in an Ahmedabad passenger train. On enquiry, the child informed them that he was travelling with his uncle to Ajmer from Surat station, but his uncle had left him in the train. When asked for his Surataddress, he gave an address of Kadodra Char Rasta, Bhavani. CHILDLINE team Valsad immediately informed CHILDLINE team Surat to locate the address given by the child. CHILDLINE team Valsad along with RPF Valsad started the documentationprocess and presented the child to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The child was shifted to Children Home Dharasana with RPF protection on orders of the CWC. CHILDLINE team Valsad also got involved in locating the child’s home. Further coaxing resulted in the child sharing his brother’s contact detail with the superintendent of the Children Home. The CHILDLINE team called the number on the same day that they received it from the superintendent and informed his brother of the situation. They were also able to get their father’s contact number and address. The child’s father was contacted. The father expressed his inability to come to Valsad and requested that the child be handed over to his brother. This information was shared with the CWC. The brother took custody of the child after his documents were verified.

(*Name and details changed to protect the child)

Your support will help us rescue many more such children in the need and give them a better life.

Reunite lost children with their families, give them a better life. Don’t let them disappear forever, donate now.

Organisers
CHILDLINE India Foundation

CHILDLINE India Foundation

Beneficiary Charity

Aditi Kharde

Aditi Kharde

Organiser

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