“Human trafficking is an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ. It is a crime against humanity”Pope Francis
Our Catholic faith teaches us that all people deserve to live a life of dignity, free from exploitation and fear.
According to the International Labour Organisation 49.6 million people were living in modern slavery in 2021, of which 27.6 million were in forced labour and 22 million in forced marriage.
Slavery can be found everywhere – in every town and borough there are likely to be people living in slavery or who have been trafficked. Take some time to read the signs that someone might be being exploited in this way, on the website of anti-slavery charity Unseen. You might be able to save a life!
Through the Santa Marta Group the Catholic church is working with police forces around the world to help fight modern slavery and stop human trafficking.
Caritas Bakhita House is part of this – alongside our work supporting women who have been rescued from slavery, we contribute to research and help raise awareness of the issue. Alongside others we speak out about government policy when necessary, amplifying the voice of the women we walk alongside.
We are part of a network of charities and organisations working within the UK and worldwide to protect people from trafficking and slavery. This includes The Clewer Initiative and the Santa Marta Group and we have contributed to research by the Bakhita Centre for Research on Slavery, Exploitation and Abuse at St Mary’s University.
As part of this network, Karen Anstiss, the service manager, was interviewed on radio 4 in March 2021.
You can hear the interview on BBC Sounds here. Listen from about 25 minutes in.
Illegal Migration Act 2023
Caritas Bakhita House, along with many other organisations in the anti-trafficking sector, is disappointed that the Illegal Migration Act was passed in July. We had signed a briefing paper which stated unequivocally that the Illegal Migration Bill is cruel, inhumane and unworkable and a “charter for traffickers”. We fear that aspects of this Act will reduce the likelihood that people who have been trafficked will come forward for help, and that it will in fact make it harder to bring traffickers to justice.
Bringing Traffickers to justice
Guests at Bakhita House have bravely co-operated with the police to bring their traffickers and abusers to justice. They have helped secure prison sentences totalling nearly 150 years for men and women convicted of these crimes. Here you can read one example of a woman, who we are calling “Sam” who helped bring a serial sex offender to justice.