A non-profit organisation led by Indian Americans has raised over $120,000 for a shelter, 'Haven of Freedom', for the victims of child trafficking.
The amount was raised by Charity Network Inc (CNI) at an event in Washington to auction paintings donated by artists from India and America.
Bill Mack's piece of Hollywood history, a portrait of Rita Hayworth on the original Hollywood sign went for a whopping $ 67,000. Another American painter Howard Behrens' painting fetched $ 40,000. Subhash Awchat's figurative live painting was auctioned for $15,000.
"It was indeed heartening to see the turnout and the commitment of people to make a difference in the lives of the victims of child trafficking," noted Lavika Bhagat Singh, Chief Operating Officer of CNI.
Earlier, Grammy award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt held the audience captive with his music, while Subhash Awchat painted on canvas depicting the plight of trafficked children.
CNI has worked closely with the Department of Justice and other organisations to drive home the urgency of building a shelter as now victims are taken straight to detention centres, due to the lack of specific shelters for trafficked victims. The shelter will be completed by 2008.