The railway stations are nothing less than a 'lost and found' unit for railway authorities. The Railway Protection Force of Central Railway has rescued 504 children who had either lost their way or were trafficked.
According to data provided by the Central Railway, from January to April this year, they rescued hundreds of children under operation 'Nanhe Farishte'. These include 330 boys and 174 girls who were reunited with their parents with the help of NGOs like Childline.
The CR officials said that the RPF is entrusted with the responsibility of security of railway property, passenger area and passengers. It is also discharging responsibility as mandated by the standardised operating procedure for rescued children issued by the Ministry of Railways and working with other stakeholders to rescue children under “Operation Nanhe Farishte”.
"These 504 children were rescued from railway stations and platforms in coordination with various other departments and help of frontline railway staff. In the past 4 months i.e. from January to April of 2022, we have rescued 504 children who in most cases have left their homes without informing their parents and families," said a senior CR official.
The children who come to the railway station without informing their families, due to some fight or some family issues or in search of better life or glamour of the city; are found by well-trained RPF personnel. This trained RPF personnel connects with the children, understands their problems and counsels them to reunite with their parents. The railway officials claim that many of the parents express their deep gratitude and thankfulness for this noble service provided by the Railways.
The Mumbai Division of Central Railway registered the highest 285 cases of child rescue during the year 2022 from January to April, which includes 206 boys and 79 girls. Pune Division registered 71 children rescue cases including 50 boys and 21 girls, Bhusaval Division registered 92 cases of children rescue including 47 boys and 45 girls.
Nagpur Division registered 32 cases of children rescue including 12 boys and 20 girls and Solapur Division registered 24 cases of children rescue including 15 boys and 9 girls.
Last year in 2021 from January to December the RPF rescued 971 children including 603 boys and 368 girls. "We have also signed an MoU with Association for Voluntary Action (AVA) to work on the project to end human trafficking through railways in the country. This association is also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which is associated with Noble laureate Kailash Satyarthy’s Children foundation," said Shivaji Sutar, Chief PRO, Central Railway.
The RPF launched “Operation AAHT” (Action Against Human Trafficking) to take stringent action against human trafficking through rail and has been rescuing victims of Human Trafficking from the clutches of traffickers.