Church's Response

The Santa Marta Group

26/11/2014 10:15 pm

The Santa Marta Group

The Santa Marta Group is an alliance of international police chiefs and bishops from around the world working together with civil society in a process endorsed by Pope Francis who called it “an open wound on the body of contemporary society”, to eradicate human trafficking and modern day slavery.

The Group is led by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and His Excellency Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster.

It was named after the Papal residence where the participants from the Vatican Conference stayed in April 2014 and resulted in a signed ‘Declaration of Commitment’ by all the Chiefs of Police present to work together on the international stage to develop strategies in prevention, pastoral care and the re-integration.

The objective of the Group is to combine the resources of the Church with those of Law Enforcement Agencies to prevent trafficking and modern day slavery, provide pastoral care to victims and assist them with re-integration in the hoste community for safe return.

In April 2014 at the Vatican conference, the Bishops' Conference brought together twenty-four heads of national and international police and law enforcement agencies including UK National Crime Agency, Interpol, Europol, US Homeland Security, the Argentine Federal Police, Ghanaian, Indian, Thai, Australian, Irish and many European Police Forces to look at how they and the Church could work together to help victims at a conference entitled Combating Human Trafficking: Church and Law Enforcement in Partnership.

“The key issue for me is how we convince all victims that we are here to help, and that we can make a difference to their lives, no matter how desperate their situation may seem. When you are living in the grip of fear, how do you know who you can trust?”

Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, London Metropolitan Police


There are four main elements to the Bakhita Initiative:

Bakhita Foundation

Bakhita Institute into Human Slavery

Caritas Bakhita House

Santa Marta Group


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.