A child goes missing every 10 minutes in India. Only half of them are found. Some are abducted or sold to child traffickers; most run away to escape poverty, abuse or mistreatment by their families. They use the railway system to travel to the larger cities, where they hope to find a better life. But once on the platform at their arrival point, they find themselves lost and frightened in the midst of chaos, without knowing what to do.
They find themselves begging or picking up rags and garbage left behind by passengers. They are also easy prey for child traffickers who recruit them for criminal activities or force them into prostitution or forced labour.
Many long-distance trains go through Jaipur, making it a hub for tourism and trade and an attractive destination for young runaways. In collaboration with other NGOs and the railway police, FXB India Suraksha tries every day to intercept these children upon their arrival at the station. They are then placed in temporary care facilities while contact is made with their families to arrange for a reunification. If the negotiation is successful, the children are returned to their hometowns and cared for by protection committees set up by the government to ensure that reunification takes place in the best interests of the child. If family reunification isn’t possible, FXB and its partners work to place them into government programmes.
FXB Daycare Center
However, every day, children fall through the cracks, and many have been on the streets for far too long. Temporary shelters and already crowded government programs can no longer be an option for them.
The FXB Shelter welcomes 20 to 40 children from the streets and slums around the city every day. For these boys and girls aged 4 to 18, the FXB shelter is their only haven of peace and security. They come here to feed themselves, wash themselves, wash their clothes, rest from the chaos and receive appropriate medical and psychological care. Many try to escape from their harsh reality by consuming cheap psychotropic products such as Tip-Ex or paint thinners, so FXB teams also teach them about the risks linked to drug addiction and try to wean them off it. Children also benefit from informal education and basic computer training is offered to the older children.
Develop psycho-social and interpersonal skills
Considerable work is being undertaken to develop essential psycho-social and interpersonal skills that will help build the resilience of youth and help them become better integrated within society. Topics such as gender equality, sexual and reproductive health education, prevention of HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and violence, respect for oneself and others, leadership skills or financial planning are addressed throughout the sessions.
The FXB team is of course continually working to take these children off the streets and the clutches of traffickers by reuniting them with their family or placing them in foster families or government structures. Unfortunately, the older the child is, the more complex the work becomes.