A train of woes

According to the Railway Childline help desk set up in the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station, it could rescue as many as  365 children from February 1, 2018 till  February 1, 2019.

Published: 19th February 2019 02:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2019 05:06 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The rising crimes against children including abuse and trafficking of minors have put authorities on their toes. However, despite the measures, the data from various agencies shows much more needs to be done to ensure children feel safe and secure.

According to the Railway Childline help desk set up in the Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway station, it could rescue as many as  365 children from February 1, 2018 till  February 1, 2019. The figures are alarming which show child-related crimes are on the rise. "Railway stations are used extensively by child traffickers, though the commencement of Childline desk has reduced the risk for children. But the crimes are prevalent. We are giving maximum awareness to the RPF officials to trace the victims through appearance and behaviour," said Fr Thomas, childline director, Thiruvananthapuram. The RPF officers aid childline in tracking unaccompanied children, those missing from moving trains as well as railway stations, children being trafficked or separated from their family, runaway children, children living and working at stations, or staying for long on moving trains, injured or ill children, abused minors or those who are vulnerable for abuse and those involved in drug addiction, rag-picking etc.

Other cases  show upward spiral

According to the reports, 23 runaway cases were reported in 2016-17, while they rose to 31 in 2017-18. "The children who become prey for sexual and physical abuse and those who have family issues are vulnerable to run away from home. Most of the runaway children have issues with their stepfather or stepmother,” said Fr Thomas on the psychology behind running away.

The number of abuses against children are also not encouraging. At least 92 phone calls were received from children regarding sexual abuse in 2016- 17 while in 2017-18, it has increased to 104. From April 2018- September 2018, a total of 35 calls have been received by the Childline help desk. Children are targeted by drug dealers which is why there is a profound increase in cases of substance abuse being reported among children. In  2016 -17, such cases was reported to be 29, while in 2017-18, 54 cases have been reported. From 2018 April to 2018 September, 54 calls were received and were intervened by Childline. However, the rate of child labour, child physical abuse and child marriage has reduced.



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