Using Twitter, A Train Passenger Helped Save 26 Girls From Alleged Human Traffickers

"... as a citizen of India, it’s our responsibility to help people.”

Using Twitter, an observant train passenger helped save 26 Indian girls from two alleged human traffickers on July 5.

Adarsh Shrivastava was traveling through Uttar Pradesh in northern India when he noticed something suspicious about his fellow passengers. According to RT, Shrivastava saw 26 girls in his carriage – ranging in ages around 10 to 14 – who appeared distressed. Some were even visibly crying. Concerned that something dangerous was afoot, Shrivastava quickly created a new Twitter account where he then tweeted the rail authorities, the minister for railways, and the prime minister. 


Shrivastava shared his cabin and train number. In a follow-up tweet, he also shared his suspicions that this might be a case of human trafficking and that these girls may be in need of help. He included his current position, Hari Nagar, and the upcoming station stops, Bagaha and Gorakhpur, to ensure the authorities would know exactly where to find them.

In less than a half-hour, the Ministry of Railways responded to Shrivastava's tweet, and plain-clothes officers boarded the train a few stops later to arrest the men accompanying the girls. 

"[Twenty-six] girls were found with two men, aged 22 and 55 years. All of them are from West Champaran in Bihar," the Railway Police Force (RPF) said in a statement. "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."

"Their parents have been informed and the men have been taken into custody," RPF added.

While those on Twitter continue to praise the good samaritan and ask the prime minister of India to honor him for his actions, Shrivastava responded simply by saying: "Thanks, but as a citizen of India, it's our responsibility to help people."

The Epoch Times reports that, in 2016, 9,104 children were victims of trafficking in India, a 27 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

RT notes that the rescue "comes less than a month after India's Railway Board launched an awareness campaign to highlight the risks of vulnerable young children on the railway network. The campaign encourages railway passengers and employees to remain vigilant while using India's train systems to help railway police stamp out child traffickers."

"Many children are sold into slavery after being lured from their homes in rural areas to the city with promises of jobs," RT added. "Children, usually from poor and rural areas, are hoodwinked into leaving their homes on the promise of getting jobs in the city. They are then trafficked for child labor, sex work, child brides, adoption, and sometimes sent overseas. Earlier this year, the Ministry announced that it was increasing its effort to tackle trafficking." 

In recent years, activist across the globe have come together to pass legislation and create technology that protects the innocent and curbs human trafficking. By training everyday citizens to recognize the signs of human trafficking, more people can save lives each day, just like Shrivastava, as he recognized that he had a responsibility as a citizen to help those in need.

Cover image Ultimate Travel Photos / Shutterstock 


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