News: ActionAid Campaign

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Jyothi Kanics---Global Survival Network (jkanics@igc.apc.org)
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 13:27:48 -0800 (PST)


Celebrities spearhead campaign to end sex slave trade

On November 25, International Day Against Violence to Women, ActionAid is
launching a campaign to end the trafficking of women and children in Asia.
ActionAid describes trafficking as a contemporary form of the slave trade
and blames increasing poverty for allowing this cruel trade to flourish.
The charity says that organised crime networks are targeting poor people in
Asia. In Nepal, where most people live on less than 70 pence a day and
cannot grow enough food to survive, trafficking agents lure or force
thousands of women and children to leave their homes - many are taken to
brothels in India. In Asia:
one million women are sold into prostitution each year;
more than 650,000 children work as prostitutes;
victims of sex trafficking are as young as ten.

HRH The Prince of Wales, patron of ActionAid, has already spoken out
against trafficking. The charity is now appealing to British people to
support an international letter writing campaign calling on heads of south
Asian governments to end trafficking. Sue Lawley, Miriam Margolyes (both
long-term ActionAid supporters), Felicity Kendal and Helen Mirren are
supporting ActionAid's campaign. Sue Lawley says: "Children as young as ten
are left with little hope for their future. Everyone should sign up to
ActionAid's campaign against trafficking and help to end this sex slave
trade."

The charity is calling for international agencies and governments to
enforce international law to protect women and children and provide
rehabilitation for those who have been able to escape prostitution. Archana
Tamang, an ActionAid worker in Nepal, says: "It is not acceptable to sit
back and allow trafficking to continue - it is brutal and demeaning and is
ruining the lives of thousands of women and children. ActionAid is working
to end trafficking but we need help. We need help from individuals and
governments to stop trafficking and reduce poverty which is making so many
women victims of sexual exploitation."

For further information:
Jenny Driscoll, ActionAid press office on 0171 561 7614/561 7561(w), 0181
690 0479(h) or 0831 391131 (m) E-mail: Jennyd@actionaid.org.uk


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