India’s train stations are transit points for human traffickers, who tempt kids and others into cities, promising them good jobs, but sell them into slavery. These victims then land up as domestic, factory or farm workers, with some even being pushed into sexual slavery.
Help-desks at railway stations can curb the trafficking menace. The East Coast Railway set up a Woman-and-Child Desk at the railway station in Bhubaneshwar in March 2018. According to a Railway Protection Force (RPF) officer quoted in The Telegraph, 359 children, including 49 girls were saved from the station in 2016 and 198 children were saved in 2017.
In fact, back in 2016, the Ministry of Women and Child Development, in association with the Railway Ministry and Childline India Foundation, was to establish Railway Child Help Desks, in three stations in Andhra Pradesh.
In 2016, India had around 8,132 cases of which 434 were reported from Tamil Nadu. Well, this new help-desk at Tamil Nadu should be able to help the state diminish its record for registered human trafficking cases. In fact, in the last one and a half years, Childline Chennai’s volunteers have rescued around 847 kids from Chennai Central, and around 422 from Egmore railway station.
A recently-conducted workshop on the prevalence of trafficking was attended by 82 inspectors and sub-inspectors from across Tamil Nadu. The event saw C Sylendra Babu, Additional Director General of Police of the Railways, take a firm stand on trafficking. According to The Times of India, he said every collective effort would be taken to protect vulnerable kids and women.
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The victims of human trafficking end up in abysmal conditions, far away from home, to be abused and ill-treated. As many as one million toddlers and children reportedly fall prey to human trafficking, yearly. Read here, about how you could save a child from human trafficking.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)