In these times when many are losing their faith in mankind, the courageous story of Triveni Balkrishna Acharya and her husband would definitely move you.
It is heartbreaking to see how pushing helpless young girls and women into sex trade has become a million-dollar industry. What is even more disappointing is the fact that in South Asia, it is India that has become the epicenter of human trafficking.
Out of 20 million sex workers in the country, an overwhelming number of 16 million women and girls are victims of sex trafficking. The helpless trafficked girls and women are sold as slaves, forced into prostitution, and often supplied to other countries.
While many of us ignore to see their helplessness and pain, the inspiring couple Triveni and Balkrishna Acharya refused to let these innocent lives suffer in silence.
While speaking about the couple’s inspiring story of rescuing thousands of helpless girls, Triveni shared with HOB:
“My husband was in the military, but after we shifted to Mumbai, he opened his own business and I worked as a journalist. One day, I went to cover the story of a celebrity who was going to be in a red light area for an event.
When I reached there I saw a young girl who was only 13-14 years old. When I asked her where her mother was, she said was from Nepal and had come here to work, but was sold instead. I was traumatised, but before I could say or do anything, a few people came and asked me to get out.
My husband and I decided to tell my contacts in the police, and he went with them to rescue the girl. But when they got there, they found at least 15 other girls who wanted to run away. He convinced the police to save them all, so that we could help them get home.
That day, we realised we needed to do something to help other girls in the same situation. So, my husband sold his business and began rescuing girls full time, while I continued working to maintain contacts, and sustain us financially.
My husband would either pose as a customer, or a dealer. He’d then find out where the girls were kept and by whom. Once we had the information, we would tell the cops and get them out of there. We rescued over 300 girls in the first year itself!
I remember this one time, we had eyes on a particular area and were going to rescue girls from there very soon. Just a day before we were set to go, one of the sex workers committed suicide there. She left behind a baby, who we decided to adopt as our own. We were happy making a difference!
But pretty soon, we started getting threats. One day, we got a letter that said, `Either join forces with us or you’ll be in your grave’. I was terrified for my husband, because two days later, he had to go on a rescue mission. Before he left, he asked me not to worry and that everything would be okay.
But the next day, when he was on his way back, a truck rammed into him, and he died on the spot. I fought to prove that it was murder, not an accident, but the investigation proved otherwise. I lost all hope, and even thought about shutting down the foundation.”
“The girls we’d rescued became my anchor. They reminded me of all the lives my husband had saved, and encouraged me to continue his legacy. Today, we have 4 shelter homes — we provide counseling, healthcare, education and even legal aid. Some of the girls are happily married, settled abroad, or building their careers!
It’s been 12 years since I lost him. I’ve faced a lot of hardships along the way, seen the worst kind of people doing the worst kind of things. But with every girl we save, with every convict we bring to justice — I can feel my husband by my side, holding me, telling me that we’ve got to keep fighting, no matter what.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of Triveni and her husband. It is heartwarming to see how this brave soul is striving hard to save the lives of thousands of girls, who would have otherwise succumbed to prostitution.
We need more heroes like Triveni & Balkrishna, who make us realize what humanity looks like. We salute this brave soul and hope many more would seek inspiration from her.