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David Beckham, Ole Solskjaer, Ryan Giggs and Wes Brown

Manchester United players took a day out of their hectic 2001 Far East tour in order to focus attention on the millions of children around the world whose basic rights are abused day after day.

  Wes Brown learns how to weave traditional Thai materials.

Four players - David Beckham, Ole Solskjaer, Ryan Giggs and Wes Brown - spent the afternoon at the UNICEF-supported Kredtrakarn Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, a protection and development centre for girls who have been abused or exploited.

The Kredtrakarn Centre provides medical treatment, counseling, education and training for some 300 girls who have been abused, involved in child labour, forced into prostitution or trafficked from the neighboring countries of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Laos.

"We've all heard about child exploitation but meeting these girls face to face brings home the vulnerability of these innocent victims. Their shattered childhoods are being rebuilt at this school, and without UNICEF's support they wouldn't get this second chance," said Sir Alex Ferguson.

David Beckham learns the art of batik painting.  

All four of the players spent time with girls who were making crafts out of plastic, being taught how to make fish for mobiles. Beckham even turned his hand to batik painting. Giggs and Solskjaer were given new hairstyles in the beauty salon, while Brown learned how to weave traditional Thai materials.

Shocked to learn that these girls had been forced to leave their families, David Beckham said: "It's just so sad to think about how these girls are growing up without their Mums and Dads. You can tell they just want to be loved."

Solskjaer, an Ambassador for UNICEF Norway, said: "Seeing it for yourself makes it so real. I had heard of these things happening, such as girls being trafficked from their own countries and being forced to work as prostitutes or in factories, but I can't believe how young some of them are. It really is tragic."

"It is very good to see that UNICEF is helping them to have a future. There were lots of smiles at this centre, and lots of hope," he added.


© UNICEF / Photo taken from the TV spot  The power of football  by Leonardo Ricagni
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