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World Child Labour Day: Trend of runaway children is a cause for concern

At a time when the world is observing World Child Labour Day

World Child Labour Day

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 Jun 2022 2:40 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: At a time when the world is observing World Child Labour Day, a disturbing trend has emerged of children from rural and tea garden areas of the State being found loitering on their own in various railway stations of the State, apparently waiting to catch trains bound for other States.

In the Guwahati Railway Station alone, as many as 25 children – including nine girls - were found moving around suspiciously on the railway platforms in May this year. Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel took custody of these children and later handed them over to the Childline for necessary action.

The children hailed from various places and communities of the State, including the tea garden community. They hailed from places like Hojai, Biswanath, Tinsukia, Sonitpur, Namrup, Dibrugarh, Barpeta, Sivasagar, Cachar etc. A few of these children were from Nagaland, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

Sources said it is suspected that while one or two of these children had run away from home for various personal reasons, many of them were trying to move to some other States after being promised lucrative remuneration for working as domestic helpers. The sources said that child traffickers are suspected to be involved in orchestrating the movement of these children.

The sources said that most of the children who do manage to evade the RPF end up working in households, mines, dhabas and in the flesh trade.

The children choose the railway because trains are the cheapest mode of travel and there is even scope for ticketless travel, the sources added.

They said that cases of trafficking are usually not identifiable when it is reported to the police as, in most cases, it is registered as a missing person report or case of abduction/kidnapping. It is only when victims are rescued that the trafficking aspect comes to light.

Also Read: Assam Government reconstituted advisory board on child labour

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