CHILDLINE is India’s first 24-hour, free, emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. At present, it is operational at 450 locations. As Railways often act as carriers of trafficked children, the Ministry signed an MoU with the Ministry of Railways to rescue and rehabilitate runaway, abandoned, kidnapped and trafficked children via Railways. The Ministry launched an awareness campaign via posters in railway coaches in November, 2015, and around 2 lakh posters have been put in trains which caution passengers about children around them who may need protection.
“Whether you are a concerned adult or a child, you can dial 1098, the toll free number to access our services. We not only respond to the emergency needs of children but also link them to services for their long-term care and rehabilitation,” said Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, Union Minister for Women and Child Development, while adding that such online contests were a means to connect with citizens and engage them in spreading information about this great initiative towards curbing trafficking.
To familiarise children with Childline 1098, Gandhi had earlier requested Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, to popularise it through the National Council Of Education Research and Training (NCERT) publications and screening of educational films on child sexual abuse in schools. Based on the request, NCERT has published the information regarding Childline (1098) on the back side of the front cover of all course books from Class 6 to Class 12.
In order to address various aspects of trafficking in terms of its prevention, protection and rehabilitation of victims, the Ministry drafted the comprehensive Draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection & Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018, which was approved by the Cabinet in February, 2018, and is expected to be approved by the Parliament in the Monsoon Session.