Dear friends and supporters,
This little girl, about 4 years old was rescued by suspicious members of the general public in the early afternoon, when fortunately she started to cry when approached by a group of men whilst sitting by the road side who they subsequently told police were trying to entice her into their vehicle.
She was handed over by them to a local Police Station.
Under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 it is illegal to keep children overnight at police stations or jails. Therefore, as has become the norm in these matters Archana was handed over by the police to Rescue Junction at midnight. By the following day this frightened and bewildered little girl (who was only able to tell the police her name) had responded to counseling by our female staff and we were able to locate her family, who were so concerned they had hired a rickshaw and megaphone broadcasting her description in the locality in the hope that someone had seen her.
Archana is the 27th Child to be reunited with her family from Rescue Junction. I know supporters are only to aware of just how dangerous a place Bihar is for children, and RJ has been able to play a vital role in raising awareness and in the words of the Railway Children, "getting to children on the streets before the streets get to them "
But what alternatives exist for the police in such a case? Well as you know, the Bihar Government does not have any children's centre or Social workers ,or any safety net at all for children in Gaya District , not a single bed. Therefore this girl would have been transferred to the Girls Remand Home (read prison) in Patna. But the police do not have any funds for staff to accompany her or transport either, they do not have staff trained in counseling young people. The Remand home in Gaya has no phone connections or even a stamp so children can write letters home..
The bottom line is, as the police say off the record, the police very often in the past would turn a blind eye to such children, they simply did not have any resources to help them, they would become street children.
It is a huge credit to the work of the staff at RJ that they have made a significant impact in raising awareness with the police, the railways, the coolies and even the general public, and I am sure it has helped make Gaya a little bit safer for children.
Thank you for your support,
Nick Hansen and All At People First and Rescue Junction Gaya, Bihar India
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