Deccan Chronicle

Interview | Operation smile' has rescued 3, 176 children in July: Swati Lakra

Deccan Chronicle.| Bansari trivedi J

Published on: July 31, 2022 | Updated on: August 1, 2022
Swati Lakra, additional director general of police (women's safety).

Swati Lakra, additional director general of police (women's safety).

Hyderabad: The month-long ‘Operation smile’ has helped rescue 3,176 children across the state in July, the police said here on Sunday. The operation was headed by the Women Safety Wing of the police which worked with health, education, labour and women’s development and child welfare departments and NGOs.

"Telangana has so far rescued over 45,000 children," said Swati Lakra, additional director general of police (women’s safety), in an exclusive conversation with Deccan Chronicle

The rescue operations in July yielded major results in Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Narayanpet and Vikarabad. Police registered 471 cases against those employing child-labour or bonded labour and rescued 2,776 boys and 400 girls.

Around 19 boys and four girls were rescued from brick kilns in addition to 187 children from begging, including 89 girls while 50 girls and 401 boys were rescued from the streets.

Rescues in other categories totaled 850 boys and 146 girls, she said, providing the figures exclusively to Deccan Chronicle.

Police faced major difficulties to trace victims, who were asked to keep mum by the accused during the rescue operations. Police used the Darpan app which has details of children and a face verification system. A total of 35,000 missing children have been rescued through the Darpan app. There were some from other states, she said.

Speaking about two cases, Lakra said that they were delighted while reuniting an eight-year-old boy with his parents after two years of separation. The anti-human trafficking unit of Nalgonda visited a child care institution (CCI) and identified the eight-year-old boy who belonged to Odisha. 

Another achievement, she said, was in tracing a 12-year-old girl the very day she went missing in the Warangal commissionerate. She was spotted at the Hanamkonda railway station.

Asked why the operation is conducted only in January and July every year, Lakra said not all departments can focus on the same operation throughout the year.

"All the departments are trained rigorously and the task of each is cut out. There are subdivisions which are allotted in the whole state. Only then does the operation become a success. However, the anti-human trafficking unit keeps rescuing children throughout the year," she added.

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