GUWAHATI: To check the widespread increase in human trafficking from northeast India, the railway authorities have taken steps to curb the menace with around 500 children being rescued by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and 14 traffickers arrested in 2017, an official said on Wednesday.
“In all, 498 children have been rescued by RPF and 14 traffickers were arrested last year. During 2016 and 2015, the RPF has been able to rescue 437 and 206 children respectively,” Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.
“In the face of the widespread increase in human trafficking from northeast India, the NFR and RPF have continued an all-out offensive for combating the menace in railway stations and railway premises. Trains are frequently used for ferrying trafficked children,” Sharma said.
“The NFR and RPF personnel have been able to apprehend a large number of offenders by putting in place foolproof security arrangements in stations,” he said.
Sharma also said that all the five NFR divisions have pressed mobile security squads into service to watch for any suspicious movement in trains and station premises.
The rescued children were handed over to their guardians or to NGOs for proper care and rehabilitation.
The NFR serves seven districts in West Bengal and five districts in north Bihar, besides seven northeastern states, excluding Sikkim.
The CPRO said that the RPF of NFR has also been doing commendable work in detection and recovery of contraband goods.
“The RPF has recovered smuggled goods worth of Rs 5.1 crore in 160 cases last year and arrested 68 offenders. This is much higher than the figures in 2016 where goods worth Rs.3.6 crore were recovered and 134 cases registered.
“This recovery of contraband goods has been possible due to frequent raids, ambush and checks conducted by RPF in sensitive areas within the scope of implementation of integrated security system programmes on the major stations of NFR. CCTV cameras have been installed and control rooms have been set up for real-time monitoring of stations and railway premises,” Sharma added.