On 7th June, Friday, the British Asian Trust announced a new partnership with the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) at the Lords to combat child-trafficking in India. The partnership is backed by the domestic cricket team of Indian Premier League, Rajasthan Royals, and aims at starting a media driven awareness campaign to help 5.8 million children working in forced labour in India. Attended by cricketers across the board, including Shane Warne, MS Dhoni, Steve Smith, Graeme Smith and Morne Morkel to name a few, the event was hosted by actor Nitin Ganatra.
“We have focussed on four key areas in South Asia region and anti-trafficking is one of our priority programmes and especially in India where the scale of the problem is enormous. I was there just recently and saw some of the most appalling situations.
“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,” said Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust.
Speaking at the sidelines of the event and at the height of the Cricket World Cup, one of the co-owners of Rajasthan Royals and a key figure at the British Asian Trust, Manoj Badale, reflected on the significance of cricket in “cultural integration” today.
“I think that the Tebbit test is a dated perspective and what matters is that the people who come to live here, respect the values of the country they live in but at the same time they should be proud of where they come from,” said Manoj, following Lord Jitesh Gadhia's recent column in The Sunday Times.
But aside from cultural integration, and a boost in tourism, the boundaries of cricket can be extended to social contributions and philanthropy as symbolised by the British Asian Trust.
“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,” said Shane Warne, Australian cricket commentator and former captain of Australia’s National Cricket team.
Founded by the HRH The Prince of Wales, the Trust has been working for causes in South Asia for 11 years now. 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 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 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,” said Kate Hampton, Chief Executive Office of the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.
The event also hosted 'A Wicket Night of Comedy, an exclusive night of cricket and comedy.