Last night, the Prince of Wales announced American pop star, Katy Perry as an ambassador of the British Asian Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund for India at the organisation’s annual royal dinner at Banqueting House.
The Duchess of Cornwall accompanied her husband to the dinner where senior Cabinet ministers, global business leaders and other celebrities like Russell Peters also attended.
Anti-trafficking was the main focus of the evening with the Trust announcing its intention, together with Sir Chris Hohn and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), to develop South Asia’s largest-ever anti-trafficking fund. CIFF committed to match everything raised up to £25m.
Perry said of her new role, “My work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador has taken me to many parts of the world and opened my eyes to the many vulnerabilities of children. India has long held a special place in my heart, and on my last visit, I was able to meet with The Prince of Wales and other leaders in Mumbai, and I was impressed by their strong plan – from on-ground initiatives to fundraising – that will aim to cut child trafficking in half. That is why I am especially honoured to be named an ambassador for the British Asian Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund, and to help shine my light on the work that the British Asian Trust will be doing in South Asia, and to be a part of finding solutions to child trafficking. Children are vulnerable and innocent and have to be protected.”
The Prince of Wales also announced Indian philanthropist, Natasha Poonawalla’s multimillion-pound pledge to support the fund.
According to the British Asian Trust, “There are believed to be 5.8 million children working in forced labour in India with tens of thousands thought to be working in hazardous workshops in Jaipur alone, producing goods including bangles, embroidery and other products, with many forced to work for up to 15 hours a day.”
In 2019, the first conviction for a life sentence for a child trafficker was handed down in Jaipur which the Trust lauded as “a hugely significant milestone.” Two other such sentences have since been handed down.
The Trust works alongside business, government and civil society to stop child labour in supply chains, as well as encourage child labour free products in markets. In the next five years, it hopes to significantly grow its work in reducing child trafficking and abuse throughout India.