Public bus stands: a target point of human trafficking

 In Human trafficking

The public bus stands are frequent target points to kidnap for the traffickers.

For vulnerable people, such as unaccompanied minors, there are meeting points where it is easy to group together and try to survive. And it’s just a good place to kidnap lost children. This happens in many cities, but in huge cities with a high population density, like Mumbai, where going unnoticed is relatively easy, even more so.

That is why it is essential for Mumbai smiles to work with a unit as a team, a team of the Railway Protection Force (RPF). This is the Indian police specialized in controlling railway stations. With their collaboration we managed to carry out a new rescue in the early hours of November 11.

Estaciones de autobuses_Sonrisas de Bombay

We could prevent Vikas, not an original name for privacy reasons, a 13 year old boy, from falling into the trafficking and exploitation network.

During the last few months we have been working with the RPF, providing training to raise awareness in the detection of cases of trafficking and also designing a joint action protocol to react in the event of detection of a possible case.

That night RPF officers found Vikas at Vile Parle station. They approached him, who was quite dazed, and the boy explained that a man had offered him and his two friends something to eat. They accepted and it is the last thing he remembers. He woke up alone and started running, that’s how he arrived at the station around 5 in the morning and two hours later the RPF agents found him and informed the Mumbai smiles team.

At first, their efforts were focused on calming the boy and making him feel good and calm. They called his father who confirmed that he had been missing for a day. The boy and his family live in Madhya Pradesh, a 19-hour drive away. So his father took a while to arrive. In parallel with this management, Vikas already received medical assistance, in which it was confirmed that the little boy had been drugged and kidnapped. At the same time we requested admission to a shelter home so that he could receive the necessary care while his family was reaching for him and his participation in the trafficking was ruled out.

The investigation is still in process and the minor is doing well. We hope to continue reporting on his positive development and hear from his friends, although in cases like this it is really difficult to get clues. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we don’t try.

Ten days after the events, Vikas has finally been able to return to his family. This is a really important fact, as he rules out his involvement in the trafficking. For the rest, the police are trying to find some clue that will lead us to his companions.


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