Train passenger's quick-thinking tweet saves 26 girls from human trafficking
How much attention do you pay other people when your on your morning commute? If you're anything like me then answer is probably "not a lot." After all, nothing can make you more antisocial than waking up at the crack of dawn just so you can be crammed into an already-overcrowded, and very probably already-delayed, train carriage, sharing approximately three cubic centimetres of room with five other equally-irritable travellers. All it takes is an accidental elbow in the ribs, or a trodden foot, or a wet fat, to make you want to become a hermit and live in total solitude. And if you live in a city where making eye contact with other passengers is actively discouraged, then it can be in your best interest to ignore them completely.
But this week a good samaritan from India provided us all with a cautionary tale about why it's so important to keep your eyes and ears out for anything suspicious while on the train, and why a little bit of diligence and compassion goes a long way. Indian man Adarsh Shrivastava was travelling through the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh last week when, he noticed that he was sharing it with a number of terrified-looking young girls.
The children were all between the ages of 10 and 14, and looked nervous, restless and malnourished. Sensing that something was wrong, Adarsh trusted his instincts and contacted the Indian railway authorities. His one tweet ended up saving 26 lives. He wrote: "I am travelling in Avadh express (19040) ... In my coach their are 25 girls all are juvenile some of them are crying and all feeling unsecure ... Subject to human trafficking. My current station is Hari Nagar, my next station is BAGAHA and then Gorakhpur. Kindly help them out. Please help [sic]"
The transit authorities promptly replied: "Thank you Sir @CryptoHODLing .
#Dial182 or tweet to us at any time regarding security related issue On Indian Railways. Help us make our trains safe and secure. Every citizen can be an #EverydayHero like @AdarshS74227065 . #CommunityPolicing."
As a result of Adarsh's actions, plainclothes officers reportedly boarded the train a few stops down the line and promptly arrested two men, then took the young girls safely into custody. They have since been transferred into the care of child welfare, who are attempting to reconnect them with their families.
The Indian Railway Protection Force later released an official statement, writing: "26 girls were found with two men, aged 22 and 55 years. All of them are from West Champaran in Bihar. The girls were being taken from Narkatikyaganj to Idgah. When questioned the girls were unable to answer anything convincingly, so they have been handed over to the child welfare committee ... The girls are believed to be between the ages of 10 and 14 years ... Their parents have been informed and the men have been taken into custody."
If you're travelling in the near future, and suspect a stranger of being a victim of trafficking, then please do not hesitate to call the police, or call the Modern Day Slavery Foundation’s helpline on 020 3773 2040.