In December last year, the Ghaziabad police had launched a special drive called ‘Operation Smile’. The mission was to rescue missing children. The police was able to rescue 227 missing children in 30 days
. Such was the success of the mission that the Home Ministry took note of it and asked other states in the country to follow suit. Today, 19,000 boys and girls have been rescued under that special initiative taken by the Home Ministry.
Haryana and Maharashtra took the lead in the most rescue among states with 5366 and 4350 rescued children.
Odisha rescued 1000, West Bengal 985 and UP 700. The MHA under Rajnath Singh plans to hold a one-day national seminar on human trafficking on October 7 with a special session on child trafficking.
The phenomenal success of ‘Operation Smile’ has also brought the roles of shelter homes under scanner.
An official of the Home Ministry told ET that interviews with many missing children revealed that the shelter homes rarely made efforts to reunite them
with their parents out of greed for grants given by the government. Thus a proposal for an amendment in law that governs shelter homes might be presented during the seminar.
It was also found that the number of rescued boys was higher than girls, who are mostly pushed into prostitution.
Not only has the Home Ministry asked all state governments to sensitise and train police officers at various ranks about issued related to missing children and various laws, but also plans to reward individual officers based on their performance. The Operation’s has been successful so far but the government needs to continue its efforts because every 8 minutes, a child goes missing in India.