Standing (L-R): Hitan Mehta Executive Director, British Asian Trust, Richard Hawkes Chief Executive, British Asian Trust, Former Indian Captain MS Dhoni, Manoj Badale -Lead owner Rajasthan Royals and Royals Brand Ambassador Shane Warne. The British Asian Trust and Rajasthan Royals announce partnership to support bold new initiative to combat child trafficking in India, backed by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) The partnership was launched at star-studded event at Lord’s on 7 June, with players from the cricketing fraternity The exclusive night of cricket and comedy at the Home of Cricket was attended by cricket legends Shane Warne, MS Dhoni, Steve Smith, Graeme Smith and included entertainment from comedian Nish Kumar The British Asian Trust, the leading South Asian diaspora development organisation, which was founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, announced a major new partnership with leading Jaipur-based Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket team the Rajasthan Royals. The partnership, backed by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), will launch a media driven mass awareness campaign to combat child-trafficking in India. The partnership was announced at a star-studded fundraising event on 7June 2019 at Lord’s Cricket Ground – A Wicket Night of Comedy, an exclusive night of cricket and comedy. The evening raised funds to scale up the British Asian Trust’s anti-trafficking programme in India and develop a mass awareness campaign to combat child trafficking. Funds raised at the event were matched by CIFF. The event was attended by a host of cricket legends such as Shane Warne, MS Dhoni, Steve Smith, Graeme Smith and many others at the Long Room at Lord’s. Guests were hosted by British Asian Trust Ambassador and actor Nitin Ganatra and treated to comedy from Nish Kumar. The Rajasthan Royals has a long-standing relationship with the British Asian Trust. Last year, England and Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes visited British Asian Trust projects in Jaipur, to show support for its campaign to end child labour in the city. According to an ILO study, there are 5.8 million children working in forced labour in India and it is estimated that there are more than 150,000 new instances of human trafficking in South Asia every year, leaving women and children particularly exposed to abuse and sexual exploitation. The British Asian Trust is determined that this has to stop. It is using fresh thinking and innovative solutions - engaging technology and working with businesses to champion child-labour-free practices and remove the demand for forced labour and protect those at risk. This includes the introduction of a certification for Child Labour Free products made in Jaipur and the launch of a child-labour awareness campaign in the city. Since 2012, the British Asian Trust has supported over 18,000 children and young women in India who were particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation, building their resilience to abuse and trafficking and offering rehabilitation for victims. Shane Warne, Australian cricket commentator and former captain of Australia’s National Cricket team “The British Asian Trust and CIFF do great work in tackling child trafficking in South Asia and I am pleased to play my part to support and contribute to a South Asia that is better for all." “Cricket has a huge role to play as both a catalyst for change and as a force for good. As a brand ambassador of the Rajasthan Royals I have seen first-hand the difference that resources and awareness campaigns can make on the ground in Jaipur. I look forward to building on this work between the Rajasthan Royals and the British Asian Trust for years to come.” Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust, said: “It is great to see so many people come together to tackle the scourge that is child trafficking. This is critical in India, where 100,000 children are reported going missing every year, with unofficial numbers likely to be higher. “We are delighted to be working in partnership with CIFF to support our anti-trafficking programmes. By combining resources and building awareness through a media driven mass awareness campaign to combat child trafficking, we will be able to significantly step up our activity in India and provide a massive boost to our ambition to save tens of thousands of children from a life in slavery. As part of the partnership and a longstanding connection with cricket, we were honoured to have had Rajasthan Royals all-rounder Ben Stokes visit our projects in Jaipur. We are proud to be strengthening our enduring relationship with the Rajasthan Royals. Kate Hampton, Chief Executive Office of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, said: “The Government of India has demonstrated considerable political will and leadership in tackling Child Trafficking. Over the last few years, we have seen the Government of India ratify Core ILO conventions and introduce strong legislations against trafficking in the country. “We have also seen the state Government of Rajasthan and its various departments come forward to join hands with businesses and civil society to pursue a child labour free vision for Jaipur. “We are delighted about this partnership between the British Asian Trust and CIFF, as it will raise awareness about trafficking and will further support the Government’s relentless fight to end child trafficking.”