LONDON: The Prince Charles has named pop star Katy Perry as a new ambassador of his British Asian Trust in a major drive against child-trafficking. The US star joined Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at a black tie reception and dinner at Banqueting House in London.
DJ and music producer Naughty Boy, comedian Russell Peters and broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake were among the guests gathered as the prince announced the singer as an ambassador of the Trust’s Children’s Protection Fund for India, the Asian Image has reported.
The British Asian Trust (BAT), along with billionaire Sir Chris Hohn and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), is to develop the largest anti-trafficking fund ever seen in South Asia.
There are believed to be 5.8 million children working in forced labour in India, with tens of thousands thought to be 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.
Perry, who first met Charles in Mumbai in November when she attended a BAT meeting to learn more about its work, said: “I was impressed by their strong plan – from on-ground initiatives to fundraising – that will aim to cut child-trafficking in half.”
The star, who is also a Unicef Goodwill Ambassador, said she hoped she could “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”. Perry added: “Children are vulnerable and innocent and have to be protected.”
Indian philanthropist Natasha Poonawalla has made a multimillion-pound pledge to the fund, while CIFF will match everything raised up to £25 million.
BAT has been working with business, government and communities to remove child labour from supply chains and encourage child labour-free products in markets as part of the Child Labour Free Jaipur Initiative. Charles founded the organisation with British Asian business leaders in 2007 to tackle widespread poverty, inequality and injustice in south Asia.
According to People magazine, the singer first met Prince Charles in India, at a meeting in Mumbai of British Asian Trust supporters and advisors. Katy said: “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.” She further mentioned that Charles’ strong plans to cut child trafficking played a large role in her joining his team.
Since its launch, The British Asian Trust has already had a positive impact on the lives of 4.8 million people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.