There is probably no one more vulnerable than a lost child and no one more distraught than its parents. Some 26 runaways rescued from the city railway station were reunited with their parents by the Society for Assistance to Children in Difficult Situation (Sathi) here on Saturday.
U. Nisar Ahmed, Additional Commissioner of Police, Administration, said there were agents operating at railway stations who sold these children to hotels for a mere Rs. 150. “Many children working in hotels are actually runaways,” he said.
Explaining why some children run away from home, Nagasimha Rao, Associate Director, Child Rights Trust, said: “It could be as trivial as curiosity to see a different place or factors such as poverty, physical abuse or dysfunctional families.” He urged children and parents to use the childline 1098 when in need of help.
Mukhthiyar alias Sethu, who has run away thrice, seemed to fall in the first category. “I ran away because my friends asked me to,” he said, admitting that he engaged in theft and substance abuse during the week he spent on the street. On the other hand, Manikanta, who ran away from his home in Bagalkot to get away from his father and grandmother, said he would not go back as they treated him badly. “Neither have they come to take me back, nor will I go on my own. I will go to Hubli and find work,” he said.