Escaping from a situation of slavery and abuse is just the beginning for the women who come to Caritas Bakhita House.  Our Staff and volunteers walk alongside our guests, with patience and love, carefully building a bridge of trust.

In 2022, a former guest at Caritas Bakhita House, put together this video, full of poignant images representing stages of her own journey to recovery and a new life.

What happens when a woman arrives at Bakhita House?

Usually it starts with a phone call from the police, who have just discovered a case of slavery or human trafficking, and need to find a safe house for a woman who has been abused.

When a new guest arrives, a full assessment is made of the risks she faces and the needs she has. It is important to be sure that a new arrival will not disrupt the continued recovery of existing guests. A support plan is drawn up.

The woman is given a full medical examination, including a trip to the dentist, optician, and the sexual health clinic. Her level and type of trauma is assessed. 

The woman is invited to receive counselling and therapy, and can choose to take part in variety of activities which have a joint purpose – of providing therapy and building community. These include, art, music, gardening and cooking, as well as education and training, for example, learning English, and IT skills.  

Gradually the women learn to trust, not just the staff and volunteers, but each other, learning how to live with different people. Every evening they eat together, and they take it in turns to cook. This also has a double benefit – building the community, and checking that each guest is eating healthily.

With such a range of nationalities, religions and cultures represented, there can sometimes be misunderstandings, but there are also a myriad of festivals to be celebrated and the community at Bakhita House love nothing better than a party, especially one with house manager Anna’s cake!

And finally, the Bakhita House cat, Marley is always on hand to provide a little quiet stroking or purring therapy!

For more information please contact Bakhita House.

photo credit: Elena Heatherwick

If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call the modern slavery helpline on 08000 121 700.

If you are in the EU, this website has a list of phone numbers for help in EU member countries. If you are in the US you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline on 1-888-373-7888

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