Campaign to trace missing children

Campaign to trace missing children

The Operation Smile-2 campaign - which seeks to trace missing children, prevent trafficking of children, besides protect and rehabilitate trafficked children - has taken off in the State.

The operation is on since January 18 and will continue till February 18. It is being undertaken with participation from 12 departments, including police, health, social welfare, labour and women and child development. 

A similar exercise undertaken in 2015 had not been very successful. The police department has taken up the second phase of the campaign in all the districts as per court directions. This is because it had not been possible to trace children (those below 18 years of age) who went missing between 2011 and 2015.

Teams have been set up at the level of local police stations to find children who may have been employed in hotels, factories, garages, bus stands or found begging on roadsides. The police stations have been told to inform the teams in case they come across such children. The children so found will be produced before the children’s welfare committee for counselling. Their families will be identified and the children will be handed over to the families.

“There have been cases of girls being pushed into prostitution or married off at an early age. There have also been cases of children being forced into beggary. If the rescued children are orphans, they will be admitted to schools, colleges and sent to hostels, besides being provided healthcare, if necessary,” K T Balakrishna, district superintendent of police, told Deccan Herald.

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