Railways rescued 1,100 trafficked kids in a year

Railways rescued 1,100 trafficked kids in a year

The Nemmadi theatre group performs a street play during an awareness drive on World Day Against Trafficking, organised by the International Justice Mission on Monday.

The South Western Railway (SWR) said it has rescued more than 1,100 children over the last 12 months during its operation to check human trafficking, with officials observing a rise in such cases during exams.

SWR security commissioner Debasmita Chattopadhyaya said citizens should help security forces by alerting them of suspicious movement of children on trains or platforms. “As part of Nanhe Parishte, we have rescued over 2,000 people and with the help of NGOs and rehabilitated them. Cooperation of people is crucial as we are short-staffed,” she said.

She said the operation has helped us learn some things about the trafficking. “There are certain trains and times when there is a surge in the activity. It seems the months around the exam season see a rise in the number of children getting into the clutches of the trafficking network,” she said.

The city railway station on Monday became a platform for spreading awareness against human trafficking as officials joined hands with NGOs to create awareness on the growing menace.

International Justice Mission (IJM), an NGO working with the government to rehabilitate bonded labourers, brought together railway officials and NGOs working in the sector.

Nemmadi Street Theatre group performed skits in front of the station highlighting the factors that contribute to trafficking. Stories of rural India where a spiralling crisis in agriculture has pushed crores of people to slums in cities and trapping them in bonded labour were enacted.

Prathima M, associate director of IJM, said most of the victims who were rescued from bonded labour said they were transported by trains. “The victims of human trafficking often originate from Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and West Bengal. They are lured with promises of better jobs and facilities before they are exploited and trapped into situations from which they can’t escape,” she added.