City Police Commissioner Mahesh Kumar Aggarwal on Monday said 7,994 missing children were traced and reunited with their parents in Chennai in the last 10 years. Efforts are on to trace 118 missing children.
“From 2010 till date, 8,112 cases of missing children were registered in Chennai city, of which 7,994 children were traced. Though it is a high percentage of success, it is still a matter of great concern that 118 children remain missing,” said Mr. Aggarwal at the launch of Operation Smile-2021 programme to rescue and rehabilitate missing children. Special teams would take maximum effort to trace the missing children.
In the last fortnight 17 missing children were traced and handed over to their parents by the Anti-Child Trafficking Unit (ACTU). In the last year, 80 children, working as bonded labourers, were rescued with the assistance of a task force comprising personnel from police, revenue, labour departments and other stakeholders. They were sent to their native places.
He also added that about 50 child marriages were prevented in the last one year with the assistance of officers of the Social Welfare Department and other stakeholders.
Around 2,000 children found begging and wandering on the streets were rescued and lodged in government homes after being produced before Child Welfare Committees to reform and rehabilitate them.
Seema Aggarwal, Additional Director General of Police(ADGP) and Head of Special Wing for Crime Against Women and Children said the objective of Operation Smile is to rescue children who need care and protection or who are in conflict with the law and rehabilitate them. The target group is runaway children who are vulnerable and are liable for all kinds of exploitation and misguidance.
The special teams constituted for the purpose will also concentrate on reuniting the children in child care institutions with their parents. They will also focus on rescuing children begging on roads, child labourers and victims of flesh trade.
R. Lalvena, Commissioner of Social Defence Department called upon stakeholders to work together to bring smiles on the faces of children.