Around 270 children were rescued from being trafficked to other states in recent months by childline activists and Government Railway Police (GRP) from the railway station in Berhampur, which seems to have become the transit point for child traffickers.
Most of the children, rescued since 2014, are teenage girls from Kandhamal, Gajapati and Ganjam districts, said director of an NGO ISRD-Childline, Sudhir Sabat.
Acting on a tip-off, child rights campaigners with the help of GRP personnel have been raiding trains and railway stations to foil trafficking bid, while in some cases, the traffickers escaped from the spot, he said.
Giving details about some operations, he said the campaigners rescued 16 teenagers on May 20. Five of them were from Kandhamal, while others were from Cuttack and Dhenkanal districts.
The GRP arrested four persons, including three women, for trafficking the girls to Samalkot and Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh promising them jobs in different firms, said co-ordinator of Childline, Berhampur, Prabhu Prasad Patra.
Similarly on June 6, police rescued four children from the bus stand at Daringibadi in Kandhamal district, while they were waiting for a bus to come to Berhampur railway station from where they would have taken a train to Mumbai, in which a person from Jharkhand was arrested.
Two children belonging to Kandhamal were rescued after being trafficked to Tamil Nadu, while three others of Gajapati district had been rescued from Goa, childline activists said.
Berhampur railway station has emerged as a major transit point because it has good road connectivity with Gajapati and Khandamal districts. They come here in buses to catch trains of Tamilnadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh, the campaigners said.
An anti-human trafficking unit should be set up at Berhampur railway station to crack down child traffickers, said Sabat. At present, one unit is operating in the police headquarters of every district.