Rescuing children from trafficking and helping restore childhoods

Child trafficking continues to be rampant in India
with children being moved from state to state within days, sometimes even
hours. Rapid action and swift coordination between authorities can help prevent
such incidents and ensure children are repatriated to their families.

Here Ashim Ghosh, AGM- Development Support CRY (East-working

Assam and Manipur State) shares how such timely action from CRY teams,
partners and government authorities recently helped ensure no precious time-
and childhoods- were lost.

Tell us about the recent rescue operation CRY helped

On Sunday, 14th
September 2014, around 5:30 in the evening, I received a call from CRY team
members (Jharkhand) that some children from Lohardaga districts in Jharkhand had
been detained by the Police at the Lumding railway station in Assam. Realising
the importance of timely action, I made two phone calls: one to Ms. Manorama
Ekka of Hope organisation, CRY partner in Lohardaga to provide information
about the missing children and the second to GVM and Bal Sakha Assam, CRY
partners in Assam, to procure the numbers of the concerned police department
and Child Welfare Committee (CWC). Within an hour, I was in contact with the
Social Welfare and Child Protection Officer (CPO) – Ms. Kishori Baruah in
Nagaon district, Assam.

What happened thereafter?

Once the CPO
was made aware of the incident by us, she immediately approached Childline
Nagaon who I also briefed personally. Childline Nagaon then contacted the
Government Railway Police Station at Lumding station to coordinate the plan for
the rescue. In the meantime, at CRY, we also contacted the Chairperson of the
Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPCR) and UNICEF
Guwahati to keep them informed and ensure support/cooperation if required.

Where are the children today?

The next day (i.e.
15th September 2014), early morning, once Childline Nagaon reached
the police station at Lumding, they initiated a medical check-up of all the
children with a medical officer and ensured they were sent to the Nagaon
children’s home. The GRPS of Lumding Station handed over the children (and a
list with their names and age) to Childline Nagaon. The same evening, we lobbied
with the CWC and Social welfare department/ women and child development
department to ensure the children were repatriated and reunited with their
families at the earliest. On 16th September, when the children were produced once
again before the CWC, the release order was obtained.

What, according to you, was critical in ensuring the
timely and swift rescue?

importantly, it was because of CRY’s widespread reach, from Lohardaga to Nagaon
that we were able to collect the information and act almost instantly. Having a
presence and responsive CRY partners on the ground was key to ensuring that no
time was lost and concerned actors were notified immediately. Also critical was
the successful collaboration and information-sharing between all actors
including the CPO, Childline, ASCPCR, UNICEF and CRY. We all worked together to
ensure the best for those who mattered the most- the children.

What about the restoration and rehabilitation of
children at community level?

Post the
rescue operation, CRY is focusing on the restoration and rehabilitation of the children
at the community level. The CRY team in both states (Assam and Jharkhand) are
in contact with the State government for proper rehabilitation of these
children and are advocating for the complete involvement of ICPS and the CWC
for an individual plan for all children. We are also attempting to bring the
SCPCR of Jharkhand and Assam in communication with each other, so that, in the future,
the state governments may also be able to take prompt action in such cases.

To know more about CRY and our work to ensure lasting change for India’s children, visit www.cry.org

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