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Railway Childline

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The Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of Railways jointly took an initiative to ensure the care and protection, security and well- being of run-away, unaccompanied and trafficked children who come in contact with the railways. Since the inception of CHILDLINE service in Mumbai, among all support organizations in the country, Hamara Foundation is the oldest CHILDLINE organization. Between the periods of 2006-2010 alone, nearly 3000 children benefitted from CHILDLINE support services.

Urban areas have the largest number of homeless children, pavement dwellers, street and working children, child substance abusers and child beggars left on their own and in need of care and support. These children lack shelter and access to basic services for survival thereby suffering from extreme deprivation. Many children use railways to travel from small towns and rural areas to urban areas, alone or with families, in search of livelihood, or hope for a better life, or in anger, or on impulse. Some children are trafficked through railways. Also a number of children get separated from their guardians during the course of their journey through railways. Such children are vulnerable to the harsh reality of street life and are often victims of various forms of abuse; physical, sexual, emotional as well as economic exploitation. They often end up living on their own in streets, market places and especially at railway stations. All these places are transit points for trafficking and need focussed programmes and attention for rescue and rehabilitation.

The railway helpline, set up at Mumbai Central, Churchgate and CST, has a small task force to take care of children in need of care and support. They have helpline booths on the railway stations that act as an office. They usually encounter cases of run-away children. They position their staff towards the beginning and end of the train station, as usually these children get off at the end when the train is almost emptying. Their expressions usually give away their confusion and amazement. In May 2016 alone, this helpline had registered 21 cases. And more cases are recorded in Churchgate and Mumbai CST helplines than in others. They maintain their records in a register and co-ordinate with the 1098 call centre to generate a case id for each child rescued so that all specifics related to the child can be recorded in detail. Once in contact with a child, they console the child, record details provided by him/her, perform the child’s medical check-up to identify any medical needs at the earliest and then advance the child to CWC for further counselling. They conduct follow-ups to ensure that the child is returned home or appropriate care is taken to place the child in a secure environment.

Railway CHILDLINE Process

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