16-yr-old braveheart helps police find trafficked friends

  • Never-ending search for their missing children Faizan Haider faizan.haider@hindustantimes.com New Delhi: Meena, 32, ever allows her son to go to school alone. There's a good enough reason behind her obsessive behaviour: Meena's elder son had gone missing in March 2011 and she is now scared that she might end up losing her second son as well. Kunwar Pal has another heart-rending story to narrate. After his 12-year-old son went missing in November 2010, Pal sold off his Sangam Vihar house to search for him. So far, he has travelled to Kanpur, Sonepat and several other cities and pasted his posters everywhere. These days, families in border areas of Delhi are living in constant fear of losing their children as the number of missing kids here is much higher than the rest of the city. In Sangam Vihar alone, at least 40 children have never returned home. "It has been four years, but I haven't lost hope. On May 15, 2008, my son had taken permission to go outside to play with his friends but he never returned. I haven't stopped going to the police station since then," said Sheila Devi, another parent from Sangam Vihar. Darshani Devi has visited five states and over a dozen cities. She has contacted several NGOs for any clue of her grandson, who went missing in March 2011 from outside her house in east Delhi's Gokulpuri. Vaibhav, 16, had been kidnapped two times earlier, but was traced by the police each time to the same man, who had forced him into child labour. This time, the police have refused to help her and so she has started looking for him on her own. "Whenever I hear news of any rescue operation, I rush there to check if my grandson is one of them," she said. There are several families, who have been running around, to trace their child. "Someone told me that my son could be in Meerut and I immediately rushed there. I take every tip-off seriously and leave my work. After my wife died, it was my responsibility to look after him, but I failed," said Pal. ----- Police to pay special attention to dark spots Faizan Haider faizan.haider@hindustantimes.com New Delhi: Unable to control the rising number of missing children, the Delhi Police have now identified 18 dark spots from where a number of kids have gone missing. There are five areas from where over 100 children went missing within a year. All these areas lie in the city's outskirts. While focusing on these areas, the police plan to launch schemes to reduce the number. "We have 180 police stations of which 18 have been shortlisted and put under a specific category," a senior police officer said. Some of these areas include Khajuri Khas, Karawal Nagar, Ranhola, Aman Vihar, Gokulpuri, Shahbad Dairy, Sultanpuri and Vijay Vihar, among others. Apart from that, a programme named 'Pehchaan: Safeguarding the Childhood' has been launched to maintain a database of minors in the city. Children from slum clusters and resettlement colonies - largely from below poverty line families - will be registered and photographed from time to time. "We have already registered nearly 80,000 kids from slum areas. The parents usually don't have their children's pictures, which made it difficult to trace a missing child," a police officer said. NGOs will assist the police and brief parents and children about the importance of being registered. Police said the photographs will be given to the parents in a CD. "If photographs are available, they can be uploaded to ZIPNET, a network that connects Delhi Police with other state police, and tracing children will get easier," the officer added. --------- 16-yr-old braveheart helps police find trafficked friends Faizan Haider, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Oct 11, 2012 00:53 IST

A 16-year-old, who was trafficked from West Bengal four years ago, showed incredible courage in the face of adversity and helped a number of others like her to escape harassment at the hands of their employers.

Richa (name changed) managed to escape from her employer's house in Paschim Vihar last month. But, instead of returning home, she decided to stay back and help the police rescue other girls who were also forcefully brought to Delhi with her.

From writing to the Delhi Police commissioner to informing NGOs, she did everything. And with her help, the police have been able to rescue two girls and are in the process of rescuing others too.

"In December 2008, I was lured with a job to Delhi along with my three friends. I was taken to a placement agency and was forced to work as a domestic help. I did not get any salary and they didn't even send money to my home," she said.

After escaping from her employer's house, Richa took an auto and reached a relative's house in Okhla. "The first thing I thought of was of my friends with whom I had come to Delhi. I told my cousin that I wanted to lodge a police complaint. I informed their parents in West Bengal and asked them to come to Delhi," she added.

Bachpan Bachao Andolan, an NGO, along with Delhi police's crime branch are conducting raids to rescue other girls too. One girl was rescued on Tuesday, who praised her brave friend. "In the past four years, our employers didn't allow us to talk to each other or our parents," said Shikha (name changed).

Richa said she will stay in Delhi and will help the police to rescue her friends. "I also have the details of the placement agency and police must take action against the agents for ruining our lives," Richa said.


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