Church's Response

Introducing the Bakhita Initiative

26/11/2014 7:26 pm

Bakhita Initiative

The Bakhita Initiative embodies the union of the Roman Catholic Church in its local, national and universal dimensions in communion with Pope Francis and expresses the Church’s commitment to support those who have experienced human trafficking.

In the UK there are strengthening partnerships between law enforcement agencies and those involved in working with those who have been trafficked.

In particular, the Metropolitan Police is working with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, Congregations of Religious, and other support agencies.

This unique collaboration aspires to become a forward-thinking and influential national anti-trafficking hub.

There are four main elements to the Bakhita Initiative:

Bakhita Foundation

Bakhita Institute into Human Slavery

Caritas Bakhita House

Santa Marta Group


Through the witness of many organisations and individuals, especially women religious, plays a significant role in helping those afflicted by this invisible and iniquitous trade. There is now a clear need for resources to sustain a coordinated response based around the following objectives:

  • to offer direct assistance and protection to victims via the pastoral care available through the parish network
  • to seek rigorous enforcement by the criminal justice system for those who are the main perpetrators of this illegal trade
  • to encourage greater international solidarity and closer working practices, for example, agreeing signposting and victim referral protocols
  • to work towards prevention via a sound and sympathetic migration policy
  • to provide specialist training and make awareness-raising available to law enforcement agencies, local authority professionals, frontline volunteers in the parishes, teachers and schoolchildren
  • to maintain a venue serving England and Wales and with services accessible to all police forces and law enforcement agencies


There is a compelling and basic human need that must be addressed and the Catholic Church is well placed to help, as it can often work effectively on many levels. Indeed, the Metropolitan Police have credited the Church for its awareness raising activities both here and across the rest of Europe. The Church now aims to play a leading role in the prevention of, and the fight against all forms of trafficking occurring in the public or the private domain, but this will only happen through closer working amongst all the agencies involved.

To successfully fight trafficking there must be both a national and international response with local interventions in the countries of source, transit and demand.

There are several Catholic religious and their Orders, immigrant chaplaincies and committed individuals involved with trafficked persons. However this valuable work remains somewhat fragmented and isolated. The Bakhita Initiative will tackle this shortcoming.

As Catholics we care for all who are compelled by severe political, economic and social conditions to leave their homes and their cultures – regardless of the labels they are given. This way we can help our parishes to rediscover their identity, their integrity and their vocation as the Church of the Stranger.


Bakhita Initiative

traffick-booklet-28052015.pdf 1.71 MB

A 10-page PDF booklet giving you detailed information on the Bakhita Initiative - the Catholic Church's response to human trafficking.