Honoree Triveni Acharya’s Rescue Foundation recently received an urgent request. Priya*, the daughter of a member of the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s household staff had disappeared and it was suspected that she was a victim of trafficking. Calls came in from representatives of both the Bangladesh and Indian governments. Could Triveni and her organization trace Priya?
Within three days, the Foundation had successfully traced Priya to Kamatipura, a red light district in Mumbai. She was rescued from her traffickers and admitted to the Mumbai Protective Home of the Rescue Foundation. The Foundation applied to the Bangladeshi Embassy for a travel permit for Priya to return to her country. Despite existing agreements between the Indian and Bangladesh governments, the process of repatriation for Bangladesh trafficking victims can be long and arduous. In the Foundation’s experience, travel permits can take up to three years to process as the government works through a painstaking review process to find satisfactory evidence that the victim was originally a Bangladesh citizen.
Priya’s travel permit arrived in a mere matter of days. At the time, there were more than 50 other Bangladesh girls in Rescue Foundation homes, all waiting for their paperwork to come through.
Surprised by the swift turn around, Triveni saw an opportunity to cut through the usual bureaucracy and provide swift repatriation to all of the girls. She spoke with Priya and asked whether she would be willing to take a stand to help her Bengali sisters, who were also waiting to go home. Priya readily agreed.
Triveni informed the government representatives that the girl in question would not be repatriated until all of the waiting girls from Bangladesh also received paperwork.
The Rescue Foundation received travel paperwork for every single one of the girls within a week.
Thanks to Triveni’s quick thinking and Priya’s courage, all of the girls have now returned to Bangladesh, and are able to begin rebuilding their lives there.
*Not her real name