CHENNAI: The railway police have rescued 203 runaway children since early this year, when they set up a help desk and got cracking on a child protection scheme in railway stations under the jurisdiction of Southern Railway to identify children in need of help and prevent child trafficking.

They rescued around 100 children from Chennai Central railway station. They have made similar attempts to identify and help lost children at other major railway stations across the country.

The system was set up on a Supreme Court order and involved the railway police, Railway Protection Force and Child Line.

RPF and railway police personnel, with members from the Brother Siga Social Service Guild scout at Chennai Central every day for runaway, kidnapped or lost children.

One of the major rescues took place on August 8. On a tip of off, the RPF in coordination with railway police rescued 40 children under the age of 14, who two suspicious-looking men were escorting, from Tondaripet.

The men were trafficking them from Bihar to Chennai by the Guwahati-Kochuveli express. They planned to take them on to Bengaluru.

On the same day, the RPF in Kayankulam rescued seven children from Jharkhand on the Mangalore-Nagercoil express. In both cases, teams apprehended the traffickers and handed them over to police.

They handed over the rescued children to the Child Help Line.

The officer said families have to display proof, in the form of Aadhaar cards or ration cards or photographic evidence that the children are theirs before police issue a memo to hand over children.

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Source: TOI-Che