India: The Railway Children

The Weight of Silence on India's street children, whose life centers around the Railways. “One, boys are more likely than girls to actually run away from home and leave their villages. Second, for the girls who do arrive, Gyan says they are the first to disappear. The sex trade swallows up the girls immediately. Obviously, some kind of more immediate intervention needs to occur, because once any child is plucked away from the station they are almost always lost.”


  • Shelley Seale

    Thank you for featuring my story, India’s Railway Children. Here are some more details about this issue:

    In Mumbai, children of all ages live at the railway stations, often begging or picking through trash for a living, with no families or real adult supervision of any kind. These kids sleep on the platforms, sometimes mere feet from where the trains race by, or on the footpaths or under bridges. They are vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation and abuse. According to social work estimates, a child arriving alone at a railway station will be approached by a predator, maybe a factory representative seeking cheap child labor or a brothel owner, within 15 minutes. They know where the children can be found who won’t be missed. Most are not from Mumbai, but are runaways from towns and villages as much as two or three days journey away, lured by Bollywood and dreams of making it big in Mumbai. It’s a familiar story for an American, where runaways end up in Hollywood or New York for the same reasons, also usually to be preyed upon.

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