New Delhi: Encouraged with the success of campaign launched by Railway Protection Force (RPF) to rescue distressed children, Ministry of Railways has now decided to implement this campaign in 47 additional Railway stations in addition to existing 35 stations. With these additional stations, the RPF campaign to rescue children will be implemented from 82 Railways stations. In this way, all A1 Category stations numbering 75 will be covered under this campaign.
‘Operation Muskaan’, is an initiative of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs to rescue/rehabilitate missing children. It is a dedicated campaign where several activities are taken up by Police organizations to trace and rescue missing children and reunite them with their families. The Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force are required to take preventive measures and also take action in case children in need of care and protection are found in trains and Railway Premises.
During the years 2014, 2015 & 2016, Railway Protection Force personnel have been able to rescue 20,931 children including 1,317trafficked children (944 Boys & 373 Girls) over Indian Railways. In the current year 2017, upto August, 7,126 children have been rescued by RPF including 185 trafficked children (124 Boys & 61 Girls).
The Railway Protection Force rescue 20-25 such children daily from trains and Railway premises and hand them over to the safe and secure hands of their parents, relatives, NGOs, Child Welfare Committees or other legal rehabilitation institutions established by Law and thereby bring smile on the faces of thousands of aggrieved parents/relatives of missing children every year.
As a result of tireless, vigilant and prompt action with compassion and humane touch, RPF has been conferred with the ‘Service of Excellence Award’ by the Ministry of Home Affairs for the efforts in rescue of missing children under operation “MUSKAN’’ drive.
Special Kiosks/Child Help Desks are set up at the designated stations which are manned round the clock by RPF staff and the staff of Childline/NGO nominated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. This entire exercise is being undertaken as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Railways to ensure care and protection of children in contact with Railways jointly developed by Ministry of Railways , National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and Ministry of Women and Child Development.
A large number of run-aways, unaccompanied and trafficked children travel to different parts of the country. The Railways carry significantly large proportion of such children and many use railway premises for shelter and livelihood. These children are highly vulnerable to all forms of abuse, violence, neglect and exploitation.
With the aim to prevent the plight of millions of children, who lose their way and get separated from their parents in Railway network, Railway Protection Force is dedicated to prevent trafficking of children and take appropriate action to rehabilitate destitute children found in Railway areas