Human trafficking: SWR rescues 1,100 kids in one year

Human trafficking: SWR rescues 1,100 kids in one year

South Western Railways (SWR) rescued more than 1,100 children from human traffickers over the last 12 months in its operation 'Nanhe Pharishte' (innocent angels).

Railway officials surmised that there is usually a peak in child trafficking during examination months.

SWR Security Commissioner Debasmita Chattopadhyaya urged citizens to help security forces by alerting them of suspicious movement of children on trains and platforms.

“As part of Nanhe Pharishte, we have rescued over 2,000 persons and rehabilitated them with help of NGOs. Because we are short-staffed, the cooperation of the people is crucial,” she said.

She said the operation had helped them realise certain things about human trafficking capers.

“There are specific trains and times of the day when there is a surge in human trafficking. It seems exam months usually see a rise in the number of children falling into the clutches of human traffickers,” she said.

The city railway station on Monday became a forum for spreading awareness against human trafficking. 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 for the awareness program.

Nemmadi Street Theatre group staged skits in front of the station highlighting factors that contribute to human trafficking.

Stories from rural India where abject poverty has pushed crores of people to city slums and trapped them in bonded labour were enacted.

Prathima M, associate director of IJM, said most of the victims who were rescued from bonded labour revealed that they were transported by rail.

“Human trafficking victims often originate in 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.

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