Mumbai, Aug 21 (IANS) The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Western Railway (WR) has rescued 422 children and 45 women in the last six months and handed them over to their families or NGOs.
The children were either trafficked, lost, missing, runaway or abandoned.
WR Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar on Wednesday termed it a significant jump from 301 children and 28 women rescued in 2018 and handed over either to their families or NGOs and shelter homes.
He said setting up of seven Child Help Desks at the WR network stations in Maharashtra and Gujarat had helped. 15 more Child Help Desks would soon be set up at stations in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, he added.
The WR is also using technologies, like talk-back system, 251 CCTVs in ladies’ compartments in suburban and long-distance trains, WhatsApp group SAKHI for women’s safety and security, and a helpline no. 1512.
The WR had deployed 232 personnel of the Maharashtra State Security Corporation, 97 women home guards, 84 women staff under the Mahila Vahini in the Mumbai Division, and the Government Railway Police (GRP) escorts on 122 long distance trains and on Mumbai suburban locals between 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., for security, said Bhakar.
“Many a times the children are noticed living in trains or railway premises. With coordination of various stakeholders, including state police and intelligence agencies, we enforce security measures to prevent trafficking or exploitation.” said Bhakar.
The WR has also deployed Quick Response Teams at major stations on its network and conducts regular passenger awareness campaigns to highlight safety of women and child travelers.