Railway stations often become the go-to place for runaways. Many make their way to the station, hoping that by hopping on to a train, they will manage to escape not just their homes, but their circumstances. Several lost and abandoned children are also found wandering aimlessly in the sea of people characteristic of all railway stations in India. Exploitation, sexual and physical abuse and trafficking are just some of the things that these unaccompanied children can fall prey to.
In 2015, the Railway Protection Force rescued more than 7,000 such children.
Talking about the rescues, a senior RPF official said “We are at the forefront of rescuing children lost or abandoned or victims of trafficking and abuse. A total of 7,044 children were rescued due to the efforts of RPF personnel in 2015.”
The rescues were the result of a collaboration between the Women and Child Development Ministry, the National Commission on Protection of Child Rights and the Railway Ministry. On March 5, 2015 the three departments had issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure the safety of these children.
Currently, the programme is being implemented in 20 railway stations across the country. Some of these are: New Delhi, Old Delhi, Anand Vihar, Howrah, Chennai Central, Bangalore City, Nagpur, Secunderabad, Lucknow and Mumbai Central.
With the programme making such a significant impact in one year alone, we hope to see it implemented at railway stations across the country.