The Cyberabad police on Tuesday said though the month-long ‘Operation Smile’ campaign from January 1 to 31 had ended, the rescue operation would be continued by Child Welfare Officers (CWOs) in their respective police station jurisdiction.
Dedicated awareness campaigns would be taken up to educate parents and educational institutions in child safety, it added.
It may be mentioned here that the Cyberabad police had launched the ‘Operation Smile’ campaign from January 1 to 31 to identify, track, locate, rescue and rehabilitate children who were either kidnapped or left home on their own and had been subjected to abuse, exploitation and employed as child labourers.
To this effect, 11 Task Force teams were formed and trained on the plan of action by DCP Malkajgiri on January 2. Cyberabad Commissioner of Police C V Anand had nominated 43 Sub-Inspectors as Child Welfare Officers (CWOs) in each police station to assist the Task Force in tracing the missing children and to rescue children found abandoned. Rama Rajeshwari, IPS, was appointed nodal officer for the operation.
During the campaign, over 200 children were traced/rescued/rehabilitated as on January 31. Reasons for missing of children varied from poor financial background, elopement, ill-treatment at home and orphans.
The rescued children were handed over to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), which in turn referred them to shelter homes till their parents were traced. The children were rescued from railway platforms, bus stations, roads, religious places and so on.
It was found that most of the runaway children from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh landed in wrong hands, who made them to begging, rag-picking and such other activities. Some kids were from States like Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and others. The police drive revealed startling facts.
A boy was rescued from clutches of a rowdy-sheeter and many boys were addicted to illicit liquor, habituated to petty offences, girls in early teens had eloped and were subjected to sexual exploitation at a very young age and found struggling for livelihood.
Police said the particulars of both missing/identified children were uploaded in www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in of the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Verification of all children at registered and unregistered shelter homes and NGOs was done.
Efforts are on to bust gangs involved in trafficking, especially the ones who force children into begging, rag-picking at railway stations, temples, mosques, dargahs, bus-stands and other public places.