Test of measure

The government’s plan to launch the National Help Line (NHL) service within a day or two proposes to locate and rescue the missing children, as well as curb the incidents of kidnapping and child trafficking. The NHL office, to be operational round the clock, will be manned by police personnel and others associated with all the non-governmental helpline services for children. Information received about the missing kids will be promptly disseminated through the electronic and print media.

Given the sharp rise in the number of cases of child abduction, the setting up of a modern NHL can become really effective if it can enlist the help of the citizenry. But firstly, it should inspire public confidence that it does not tolerate crimes against children. This means that the police force will have to do a lot of soul-searching and self-correction. It is also necessary for those in higher decision-making slots to take undelayed action against any member of the force if found complicit in the crime. The import of this determination cannot be discounted as in recent times a number of securitymen have been found to be guilty of one crime or another. Kids are exploited within the country and are also taken across the border for prostitution, slavery or hazardous work in a circus. A tight border surveillance and tough action can add teeth to the campaign against child abuse. But the test of any measure, including the establishment of a separate cell, will again and conclusively be gauged on the basis of whether crime against children has been effectively curtailed or not.