NEWS: Prince Charles appeals to save sex slave children

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Wed, 22 Jul 1998 05:59:57 -0700 (PDT)


Prince Charles appeals to save sex slave children

By Paul Majendie
LONDON, July 15 (Reuters) - Prince Charles has appealed directly to readers
of Britain's best-selling tabloid to help save Nepalese children from prostitution.

The heir to the throne took the highly unusual step of writing an open
letter in The Sun appealing for funds and offering a limited edition of one
of his watercolour paintings.

He hopes to raise at least 50,000 pounds ($81,900) to help a refuge for children forced to work as prostitutes. It is run by ``Angel of Mercy'' Anuradha Koirala in Kathmandu.

Charles, who visited the refuge in February, said: ``Her story of child
trafficking and prostitution was horrifying and it seemed to me I might
be able to help in some way.

``The reality was grimmer and even more heartbreaking than I could have
imagined. The girls' tales of abuse and exploitation were truly appalling.''

His letter was reproduced in a two-page spread in Thursday's
 Sun which was offering for sale 500 framed, limited-edition prints of a Charles water-colour.

Charles was clearly impressed by the efforts made to save the Nepalese
children.

``There was, at the same time, a heroism, a selfless dedication and
sacrifice about Anurada, who was living under constant threat of
retribution from the traffickers, which I found both humbling and
uplifting.''

About 130 unwanted children, rape victims and girls are cared for at the
centre. Many have been rescued from red-light districts in neighbouring
India where an increasing number of poor Nepali girls are lured with
false promises of jobs, only to be forced into prostitution.

Charles said that the money raised in the unique appeal would help to
dispel the chronic uncertainty of the children and make an immense difference to their lives.

The print being offered to Sun readers is of a water-colour painted
during a private trekking holiday to Nepal in 1992. It shows the base of the
Annapurna range in the Himalayas.

The royalty-obsessed tabloid, which was a constant source of
 scoops during the painful break-up of Charles' marriage to the late
Princess Diana, hailed his appeal.

``We have always known Prince Charles was full of compassion.
 It is just that like most men -- especially royal ones -- he finds it
hard to show it.''

It told the heir to the throne: ``Well done Sir. We're proud to be able
to help.''

Charles has long been attacked for his buttoned-up public image. But he
was dubbed the Prince of Hearts for showing a softer, more gentle touch on
his February visit to Nepal.

The Asian visit reinforced a media rehabilitation for Charles whose own
charity work had often been overshadowed by the efforts of Diana.

Diana, who was killed in a Paris car crash last August, had wanted to be
known as ``The Queen of People's Hearts.''

18:30 07-15-98


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