Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) founded by Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi in collaboration with Railway Protection Force (RPF) have rescued over 1600 children through raid and rescue, while 337 alleged traffickers have been arrested since 2020.
Lucknow: Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) founded by Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi in collaboration with Railway Protection Force (RPF) have rescued over 1600 children through raid and rescue, while 337 alleged traffickers have been arrested since 2020. Kailash Satyarthi and DG, RPF, Sanjay Chander released a Report today, ‘Railways – Making the Break in Trafficking’. Perhaps, this is one of the world’s largest operation by railways towards trafficking. BBA founded by Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi is a frontline anti-trafficking and anti-slavery grassroots organisation in India. Since inception in 1980, BBA has rescued over 1,13,500 child labour and trafficking victims.
Since 2020, BBA in collaboration with RPF have been working cohesively towards fighting against trafficking but they formalized their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in May 2022 for five years as a move towards making railways trafficking-free. The partnership is targeted towards three crucial elements, i.e. Raid and Rescue, Training and Capacity Building, and Sensitization and Awareness Campaign. 2737 stakeholders including railway police personnel have been trained across 15 zones of Indian Railways through 37 training workshops. Numerous sensitization and awareness programmes have been conducted to sensitize the people at all major railway stations to increase awareness as well as encouraging passengers and vendors to report any suspected cases of child trafficking.
As we know, trafficking is the third-largest international criminal enterprise and is a multi-billion-dollar global business. It is an old-age practice that has been prevalent in the form of ‘slavery’, which disgracefully exploits human beings as a profit-making commodity, rips their dignity apart and severely violates their human rights. Trafficking is a transnational organized crime, starting from the identification of the victims, their transportation, and lastly their exploitation, which operates seamlessly across national as well international borders. Sanjay Chander, Director General, RPF as the Chairman of International UIC Security Platform will be presiding over the function to be attended by representatives of 22 countries from across the world. This collaborative security model of BBA and RPF will be replicated by other countries as well.
According to Sh. Kailash Satyarthi, “One of the largest networks in the world, Indian railways is increasingly being used by traffickers to transport thousands of vulnerable children and women every year. I applaud the leadership of Railway Protection Force and the commitment of their team as they work round the clock to protect our children from the clutches of traffickers. Keeping our children safe should be our utmost priority. My organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan is committed to work together with the RPF to break the backbone of this crime in a more effective manner.”
During 2020, the devastating impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown pushed millions into extreme poverty. Since the parents were no longer in a position to take care of their children, the traffickers were on the prowl to take advantage of the heightened state of desperation. Following the eases of lockdown, families on the brink of poverty or facing starvation, fell to the traffickers’ lure, leading to an increase in trafficking. To address this steep rise in trafficking, BBA adopted the process of picketing and extensively engaged with the RPF to intercept trains and save victims before they could be exploited.
For future course of action, BBA along with RPF aims to develop child protection policy to safeguard the children who come in contact with Railways. BBA intends to leverage technological solutions to tighten vigil at railway stations, identify traffickers, share leads with RPF to expedite rescue, and prevent re-trafficking. Together, they will raise awareness at railway stations on trafficking with the medium of short documentaries and distribution of informative communication material to help commuters or passengers to join the fight against trafficking. Organize regular workshops and refresher training for concerned stakeholders to equip them with the requisite know-how to prepare and implement strategies.
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