GUWAHATI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has rescued over 600 children and arrested 16 individuals for alleged involvement in human trafficking in Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) zone.
Revealing this data through an official statement, the NFR said that, from January to October, a total of 623 children, including 196 girls, were rescued from potential trafficking situations, while 16 individuals suspected of human trafficking were arrested during the same period, a national news agency reported on Monday.
The NFR zone covers an extensive area, and these operations were carried out at major railway stations, including Guwahati, New Bongaigaon, New Jalpaiguri, Agartala, Rangiya, Katihar, Dimapur, New Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, and Rangapara North.
One of the most heartening aspects of this operation was the RPF’s commitment to reuniting the rescued children with their families.
The statement highlighted that all procedures for verifying the identities of minors were rigorously followed before the children were handed over to their parents.
Furthermore, the RPF worked in close collaboration with Childline and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provided invaluable assistance in identifying minors who had either run away from their homes or fallen victim to human traffickers.
In recent years, human trafficking has emerged as a pressing concern in the Northeast.
An incident from April witnessed the Assam Police successfully rescuing a group of ten individuals, of which eight were minors, from the upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Subsequent investigations unveiled a distressing pattern – all those rescued came from economically disadvantaged families residing in the tea garden areas of Assam.
Shockingly, they had been “sold” to middlemen in exchange for financial compensation.
The gravity of this issue is further highlighted by statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), which reveal a consistent upward trend in human trafficking cases within Assam over recent years.
In 2021, Assam recorded the highest number of human trafficking cases among all states in the Northeast, shedding light on the urgent need for measures to combat this menace.