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To mark the ninth anniversary of its foundation, Caritas Bakhita House today released its Impact Report. The report was commissioned to investigate the impact of the centre and its services on the lives of former guests, and is based on interviews with 16 women who stayed at the house between 2015 and 2022.

Since its opening on 30th June 2015, Caritas Bakhita House has provided accommodation to 195 women and 16 babies from almost 50 different countries, as well as holistic support to survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery. The Impact Report highlights the centre’s crucial role in providing a safe space in which to begin the process of recovery, as well as equipping guests with the skills and resources required to find work and live independently.

Alongside multifaceted therapeutic support, Caritas Bakhita House also assists guests with moving on to safe long- and short-term accommodation, legal advice for remaining in the UK, and collaborating with the Police to report the crimes committed against them. By 2022, Caritas Bakhita House had helped to secure over 147 years’ worth of prison sentences for people trafficking and exploiting women.

Karen Anstiss, Head of Caritas Bakhita House, reflected on how the team’s support has evolved over the last nine years: ‘Since opening we have reviewed the structures within the house with current guests, former guests and others within the sector. As a result, we have developed and increased the therapeutic aspects of our service over the years to offer more opportunities to each individual woman.’

Caritas Bakhita House benefits from a flexible approach to length of stay and an open-door policy for former guests, enabling the team to offer personalised support that is both practical and compassionate. Staff and volunteers are committed to fostering a safe environment with a strong sense of community, with guests dining together on a daily basis and participating in activities ranging from English and cooking lessons to Music and Drama Therapy.

Anstiss stresses that every contribution is significant, including that of the house’s beloved cat, Marley: ‘Each one of us has a part to play in the recovery of others. Your part may seem small – a prayer, a donation of clothing, toiletries, or money, volunteering or raising awareness – but it is important. Look at Marley, he does whatever he can; a purr to welcome our guests when they arrive, or simply a fluffy cuddle to help stop the tears.’

The Impact Report offers eye-opening insight into the reality of human trafficking and the lifeline that a service like Caritas Bakhita House can provide to the most vulnerable women in society.

Anstiss concludes: ‘It is imperative that we learn from our journey so we can enable our guests to move on to an independent life, free from exploitation. Our Impact Report indicates the value of our holistic, therapeutic and trauma-informed approach, and its enduring impact on women’s lives.’

Read the full report here.