Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Aug 17:
As many as 87 child workers from Odisha have been rescued from various parts of the country during raids under ‘Operation Muskan’.
As per reports, seven teams were formed last month by the state Home and Women and Child Welfare departments comprising senior Crime Branch officials and protection officers of Odisha State Child Protection Committee.
These special teams were despatched to seven states where they rescued as many as 87 child workers. While some were engaged in begging, some were employed in hotel and restaurants.
West Bengal tops the list where 22 children were rescued followed by Tamil Nadu (12), Delhi (9), Chhattisgarh (9) and Madhya Pradesh (7).
Besides, 22 children were rescued from Hyderabad and Vizag cities. Six were rescued from Bihar and Jharkhand.
Of the 87, 66 children were minor boys and the remaining 21 were minor girls.
Five children from Cuttack area were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) Chairman Bikash Mohapatra on Friday and have been kept at a city-based NGO—Basundhara.
“The statement of the rescued children would be recorded today after which they would be provided proper rehabilitation facilities with free education,” official sources said.
It may be mentioned that as many as 12 child labours were rescued from the Millennium City on November 26 last year. Earlier on January 3 this year, Chauliaganj police had rescued 10 minors being trafficked from West Bengal to Kaniha in Angul district and a middle man was also arrested during this operation. Similarly, on July 14 this year, Madhupatna police had rescued 15 child labours while they were being trafficked outside the state.
Notably, as per data available, the rescue rate of missing children in the state has increased considerably from a meagre 18.6 percent in 2011 to 75.43 percent in 2014.
Earlier in May this year, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) had asked states to launch ‘Operation Muskan’ to trace missing and destitute children and reunite them with their parents.
The prime objective of the programme was to prevent child trafficking and rescue children from persons who try to engage them in begging, sexual trade and other antisocial activities.