Move to safeguard children loitering on railway premises, to prevent child trafficking

A child protection committee will be formed at Madurai Railway station to take adequate care of children found loitering on the railway premises and to prevent trafficking of children by trains.

After a meeting with railway officials, representatives of Railway Protection Force and Tamil Nadu Railway Police, Programme Officer (South) of Railway Children T. Thirupurasundari said the Railway Board had approved to put in place a standard operating procedure to protect children roaming on railway station premises.

This was following a Delhi High Court directive, she said.

“Often, the children found loitering on railway premises are seen as a nuisance by the people in uniform who fear that they might get involved in theft or breaking things at the railway stations. They are chased away by the police and RPF personnel,” Dr.Thirupurasundari said.

Stating that the attitude of the officials should be changed and they should be made to play a pro-active role in protecting the children, she said the officials should develop a friendly approach while handling children till they were handed over to the Child Welfare Committees at the district level.

“The officials have been asked not to deal with children in uniform as they might get frightened. Similarly, a short stay home should be constructed at the railway stations to provide a decent shelter for them. This should include beds, toilets and also telephone access,” she said.

The Divisional Railway Managers had to allot funds for homes, she added.

The TRP and RPF personnel had been asked to look out for children travelling alone in railway coaches and those being taken by unauthorised persons. “Children are being trafficked to be involved in cheap labour, flesh trade and begging,” she said.

Child Protection Committees would be formed at the station and division levels, she said.

Madurai Railway Station Manager C. Solomon Sevathaiah said railway officials and TRP and RPF personnel should not avoid rescuing loitering children in the name of jurisdictional problem.

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