Catholic safe house helps jail sex traffickers

A Catholic safe house for women in London has been partly responsible for ensuring two sex traffickers are jailed.

The Catholic Diocese of Westminster’s Caritas Bakhita House enabled the traffickers’ 20-year old victim to report their crimes to the police.

The traffickers were sentenced to prison terms of 15 and 16 years.

Their victim’s nightmare began when she arrived in the U.K. from Romania in April 2019 to take up a factory job.

However, the traffickers forced her to work on the streets of London as a prostitute instead, even after she became pregnant.

She then acquired a mobile phone, which she used to phone her family. They alerted the Romanian police, who contacted their U.K. counterparts.

The Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for law enforcement in the Greater London area, rescued the young woman and took her to the Caritas Bakhita House.

She was seven months pregnant.

According to the Westminster diocese’s website, Caritas Bakhita House has helped the woman access medical support, registered her with a midwife, helped he get new prescription glasses and provided her with clothing and toiletries.

Other assistance given to the woman includes English classes and budgeting lessons.

Working with the police and U.S.-based NGO the International Justice Mission,Caritas Bakhita House helped the woman to fulfill her wish to give birth to her baby back home in Romania.

The International Justice Mission collected her from the airport in Romania, reunited her with her family, and is continuing to offer her care and support.

After the two traffickers were sentenced, Detective Inspector Grant Anderson, from the Metropolitan Police’s Modern Slavery and Child Sexual Exploitation Unit, said:

“This was an awful crime which subjected a vulnerable young woman to a hideous way of life. We know she will never forget her time in captivity but I can report she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.”

“I hope she now has some closure after knowing these men will be behind bars for a long time.”

“We are committed to bringing these offenders to justice and will continue to work with local and overseas partners to do this.”

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 24.9 million people worldwide are trapped in forced labour, with 4.8 million suffering sexual exploitation. Women and girls account for 99 per cent of victims in the commercial sex industry, according to the ILO.

In 2019, the Vatican released an online guide seeking to combat the “ugly business” of human trafficking, which generates an estimated $150 billion a year.

Caritas Bakhita House is a Catholic safe house named after St. Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of trafficking survivors.


Catholic News Agency

Image: MintPress News

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