Karen Anstiss, Manager of Caritas Bakhita House, the refuge for women rescued from human trafficking and modern slavery, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the fight against modern slavery in the voluntary sector by the Marsh Christian Trust in partnership with the Human Trafficking Foundation at the Anti-Slavery Day Awards.
Ms Anstiss has been the manager of Bakhita House, part of Caritas Westminster, since its opening in June 2015. Under her leadership, the service has become an example of best practice in the support of survivors of slavery. In the citation for the award, the Marsh Trust noted: ‘Karen leads a holistic and genuine approach to rehabilitation for the women and encourages partnerships across the anti-trafficking sector to ensure that guests receive the support they need to rebuild their lives. Karen is professional with clear boundaries but is flexible and responds to the needs of her guests and she generously shares her vast experience and knowledge with the anti-trafficking sector.’
Commenting on this accolade, His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who heads the Santa Marta Group, an alliance of bishops, police chiefs and civil authorities working together to combat human trafficking and slavery, said: ‘That Karen has won this is a great achievement. The citation for Karen on the Marsh Trust website is itself an accurate and fine tribute to her work and that of Bakhita House.’
Caritas Bakhita House, located in the Diocese of Westminster, provides personalised accommodation, rehabilitation and support to women who have been trafficked. The women can be housed at short notice, outside of the constraints of the National Referral Mechanism, and can be fully supported until they are ready to move on. The service is run by a team of professionals and supported by a large number of volunteers including women Religious.
The Anti-Slavery Day Awards, which highlight the achievements of those who fight the existence and consequences of modern slavery in the UK and internationally, were presented in the State Rooms of Speaker’s House on 18th October 2017.