Hyderabad: The month-long, sixth edition of Operation Smile carried out by the Telangana State police from January 1 has helped them in rescuing as many as 3,600 children, including 677 minor girls.
Of the 3,600 children, 1,982 were handed over to their parents or guardians, while 1,618 of them were admitted to rescue homes.
In a statement here on Saturday, IG (Law & Order) and In-charge (Women Security Wing) Swathi Lakra said the unique feature of Operation Smile this time was the extensive use of technology by rescue teams in the form of facial recognition apps like Darpan. While there were 855 enrolments of missing/traced children on Darpan in January, as many as 3,337 records were searched and two children were traced as well using the app.
Stating that Operation ‘Muskaan’ and Smile would be conducted every year in July and January respectively to trace missing children and rescue children involved in child labour and bonded labour, begging and trafficking children, Lakra said the police would later hand over the rescued children to their family members.
Teams consisting of a Sub-Inspector and four police constables in each sub-division took part in the operation in coordination with the Women and Child Welfare, Labour and Health departments, representatives from the Child Welfare Committees, District Child Protection Unit, NGOs and shelter homes.
A training session was conducted for them on December 20 to ensure coordination among all stakeholders and to explain the teams on conducting the operation apart from standard operation procedures to be followed and laws to be invoked.
A detailed presentation was given on using technical apps of Telangana police, facial recognition features on TS cop app, Darpan and utility of child track portal to motivate the teams.
Since the launch of the programme, the teams rescued vulnerable children from railway stations, bus stations, religious places, traffic junctions, mechanic shops, brick kilns, tea stalls, footpaths etc.,
Specific daily situation reports for collecting data were framed and such collated data was further used to know potential places of black spots where most child labour and children were found under vulnerable conditions, Lakra added.