Human trafficking, especially of women and children, for sexual exploitation, prostitution, forced labour, forced marriage, domestic servitude, adoption, begging, organ transplant, drug peddling among others is an organised crime and the most abominable violation of human rights. The Indian Railways, being the major transport network of the country, is being used by traffickers for transportation of victims from source areas to destination areas.
The RPF has a pan India reach under a unitary structure of command and control. Over the years, it has developed an efficient response mechanism for redressal of security related grievances of passengers. During the last 5 years (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021), RPF has rescued 2178 persons from the clutches of Traffickers besides rescue of more than 65000 children and scores of women and men in need of care and protection.
In order to leverage its strategic positioning at stations and in trains, its pan India reach and its response mechanism to supplement the efforts of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) of police and other LEAs, the RPF has recently launched an operation against Human Trafficking called “Operation AAHT”.
As part of this initiative, the RPF has very recently set up 750 AHTUs across the country that would coordinate with Police, AHTUs functioning in Thana, District and State levels, Intelligence Units, NGOs and other stake holders and take effective action on Human Trafficking through rail. Recently RPF has signed a MoU with NGO i.e. Association of Voluntary Action (AVA) also known as Bachpan Bachao Andolan which will be supplementing RPF with training and will also be giving inputs regarding Human Trafficking to the RPF.
To take the momentum further, a month-long special drive against Human Trafficking through rail was launched in the month of July 2022. RPF field units were advised to work in coordination with state police, LEAs and other stakeholders in this regard for immediate response to inputs received regarding trafficking and detection of trafficking cases.
The police of various states/UTs were also requested to take joint action with RPF to bring synergy into the efforts made in this direction. During the month, sustained action under Operation AAHT led to the rescue of 151 minor boys, 32 minor girls (total 183 minors) and 3 women from the clutches of human traffickers with the arrest of 47 Human Traffickers.
The drive created a platform for all stake holders to come together to take joint action against Human Trafficking through rail. Synergy and smooth co-ordination among various agencies and stakeholders built during the drive will help in launching a sustained drive against human trafficking in future too.