The convent became a second home for some. We celebrated Christmas and birthdays with them, took them to the theatre; anything that gave them a bit of happiness.” In 2005, after listening to a talk on human trafficking that she gave at a church, a couple offered Sr. Ann Teresa a house to be used as a safe house for victims of human trafficking.
She then met representatives of Religious Congregations, and a working party was formed to launch the Medaille Trust in 2006 with the one house in Southampton. Sr. Ann Teresa said, “When we interviewed the staff for our first safe house, we gave them three-year contracts, but we only had enough money for one year.
At that time, the Medaille Trust wasn’t really functioning, and God was asking me to walk on water – to trust that the money would come at the right time. It did come, and not only the money but so much more because Religious Congregations shared so generously.
Today Medaille Trust runs ten safe houses across the country, making it one of the UK’s largest providers of supported accommodation for victims of modern slavery. Sr. Ann Teresa’s vision and that of the Catholic Religious congregations remain key to our identity. Our work is guided by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching: human dignity, solidarity, preferential option for poor and vulnerable people, and the dignity of work. Our national network of safe houses provides personalised support, empowering clients on their path to a life that is free from slavery and exploitation. In addition to providing clients with life-changing accommodation, Medaille Trust works with survivors in the community through our Moving On Project, helping them to rebuild their lives.
We want to see slavery in all its forms become a thing of the past, so we also work to promote justice for survivors and awareness of modern slavery. We work closely with law enforcement agencies and collaborate with like-minded charities in other countries to help prevent human trafficking and support those victims who return home.
If you would like to know more about us, please do get in touch at Comms@medaille-trust.org.uk.