A heart for the mission

Over 120 years ago, a gentle Sudanese woman named Josephine found her vocation in the convent, having endured years of slavery across three continents. Today, a hidden sanctuary for women victims of trafficking bears the name of Saint Josephine Bakhita, the patron saint of modern slavery. 

Established by the Diocese of Westminster and managed by its social outreach charity, Caritas Westminster, since 2015 Bakhita House has supported over 120 women from 40 countries as they recover and re-adapt to a life free from exploitation.

Part of a worldwide network of organisations providing a bulwark against modern slavery, it is a safehouse offering immediate respite care for rescued victims as well as active support during the prosecution of perpetrators. Crucially, it provides restorative activities such as music and art therapy, English lessons and other life skills.

In January 2021, as England entered its third national lockdown, the Worshipful Company of Marketors Outreach Committee began its pro bono work in support of Bakhita House.

The project was led by Freeman Lesley Lloyd, an experienced Chair and NED who uses her strategic marketing and ESG skills to advise, support and challenge boards. Working closely with Bakhita House service manager, Karen Anstiss, a former detective in the Metropolitan Police, and Caritas Trust fundraiser, Julie Christie-Webb, Lesley designed a marketing strategy with proposals for fundraising activities, including approaches to charitable trusts, corporates and high value individuals. The plan incorporated a digital marketing strategy and website review.

Julie Christie-Webb said, “The style and quality of service was excellent. Lesley clearly has a heart for the Bakhita House mission, which helped us build a warm relationship with her, confident that the end product would be of a high standard.

“Her report provided a fresh set of fundraising leads and brought a fresh perspective to our marketing. It was an excellent basis for our strategic planning for the next 3-5 years.”

Karen Anstiss said, “Lesley was empathetic to our project, enthusiastic in her approach and very encouraging about what we may achieve as we continue our journey to assist victims of slavery and exploitation.”

Lesley Lloyd said, “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Karen and Julie. I am delighted they benefitted from this project, but I learned a lot too. Prior to this I had written and approved Modern Slavery Policies, but this engagement deepened my understanding, which benefits the companies I work with and thus makes me a better NED and advisor.

“I enjoyed being part of the Marketors Outreach Committee and adding real value to an excellent cause. I gained particular satisfaction from helping them to really think outside the box, such as linking them with funders like Sport England.”

The Company’s efforts are now enshrined in the Caritas Westminster website at https://www.caritaswestminster.org.uk/bakhita-house.php:

We are grateful to the Worshipful Company of Marketors for their expertise and generosity in 2021. Their pro bono service has been invaluable to the development of a

high-level marketing and fundraising strategy which will help ensure the enduring success of Caritas Bakhita House in enabling women to live successful lives beyond trafficking.

The scale of the global challenge surrounding modern slavery remains immense. The UN estimates that 5.4 out of every 1,000 people in the world are victims of modern slavery, a term that covers human trafficking, labour, criminal and sexual exploitation, and domestic servitude.

Once again by reaching out, the Marketors have made a small but salient -- and long-lasting -- difference.