Fifty-one girls were among 171 runaway children in Mumbai rescued by the Government Railway Police till August this year. Most of these children left their homes either to work in the city or because of issues with their families.
Officials said last year, fewer girls — 45 — were rescued in the same period and called the rise a worrying trend.Till August 2015, 188 children were rescued.
Most of the rescued children were found begging.
“We find children begging or being hired for work. They all stay alone in the city, some even coping with disabilities or diseases. We take their details and try ti reunite them with their parents quickly,” said Ritesh Aher, the GRP’s spokesperson.
Officials, however, pointed out that a majority of the girls left because problems at home or harassment and refused to be sent back. Of the 51, 25 were reunited with their families, while 26 have been sent to children’s homes across the city. The child welfare committee (CWC) will now counsel them and work on sending them back to their families. In cases of harassment or violence, the CWC takes a written bond from the parents to ensure it is not repeated and the children do not run away again.