Nigel Baker

Nigel Baker

Ambassador to the Holy See (2011-2016)

Part of FCDO Human Rights UK in Holy See

30th July 2014

Human trafficking: responding to the Pope’s appeal

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Human Trafficking roundtable discussion (via DVC) with Ambassador-at-Large Luis CdeBaca. Casina Pio IV, 29 July 2014

In my last blog posting on the concept of “the common good”, I noted that the Archbishop of Canterbury had included UK efforts to tackle human trafficking as one of three specific areas in which, in his view, Her Majesty’s Government was working for the common good.

30 July is the UN World Day against Trafficking in Persons. To mark the event, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Vatican-based Global Freedom Network (an initiative of Pope Francis and Justin Welby) and the US Embassy to the Holy See hosted a round table discussion based on the 2014 Report on Trafficking in Persons produced by the US Department of State. During the discussion, Ambassador-at-Large CdeBaca welcomed “the revitalisation of the anti-trafficking programme in the United Kingdom, especially with the introduction of the Modern Slavery Bill… as part of The Queen’s Speech this year”.

In his review of the state of play across 188 different countries, it was clear that so much more needs to be done. The goal of international efforts remains very practical, based on the “3 P paradigm”: Prevention of the crime, Protection for victims and survivors, Prosecution of the criminals. And it remains clear that while there are real advances in some countries – Ambassador CdeBaca mentioned Chile, Switzerland, the Bahamas, Jordan and Haiti as countries where real progress has been made – the picture is more gloomy in others. Even where the will is there, this global problem remains immense. Only last week, as the US Embassy acknowledged, Pope Francis addressed the issue of trafficking of minors across the US frontier from Mexico and Central America.

As we heard at the round table, human trafficking as a crime is second only to illegal arms dealing in terms of profitability to the criminals. More importantly, every tale of trafficking – for sexual slavery, for forced labour, for organ harvesting – tells a tale of human misery, often involving children. Pope Francis’s call to arms has been important in helping to put this issue back on the international agenda.

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About Nigel Baker

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as…

Nigel was British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2011-2016. He presented his Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 9 September 2011, after serving 8 years in Latin America, as Deputy Head of Mission in the British Embassy in Havana, Cuba (2003-6) and then as British Ambassador in La Paz, Bolivia (2007-11). In July 2016, Nigel finished his posting, and is currently back in London.

As the first British Ambassador to the Holy See ever to have a blog, Nigel provided a regular window on what the Embassy and the Ambassador does. The blogs covered a wide range of issues, from Royal and Ministerial visits to Diplomacy and Faith, freedom of religion, human trafficking and climate change.

More on Nigel’s career

Nigel was based in London between 1998 and 2003. He spent two years on European Union issues (for the UK 1998 EU Presidency and on European Security and Defence questions), before crossing St James’s Park to work for three years as The Assistant Private Secretary to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. At St James’s Palace, Nigel worked on international issues, including the management of The Prince of Wales’s overseas visits and tours, on the Commonwealth, interfaith issues, the arts and international development.

Nigel spent much of the early part of his FCO career in Central Europe, after an initial stint as Desk Officer for the Maghreb countries in the Near East and North Africa department (1990-91). Between 1992 and 1996, Nigel served in the British embassies in Prague and Bratislava, the latter being created in 1993 after the peaceful division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics.

Nigel joined the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) in September 1989. Between 1996 and 1998 he took a two year academic sabbatical to research and write about themes in 18th century European history, being based in Verona but also researching in Cambridge, Paris and Naples. The research followed from Nigel’s time as a student at Cambridge (1985-88) where he read history and was awarded a First Class Honours degree, followed by his MA in 1992.

Before joining the Foreign Office, Nigel worked briefly for the Conservative Research Department in London at the time of the 1989 European election campaign.

Nigel married Alexandra (Sasha) in 1997. They have one son, Benjamin, born in Bolivia in September 2008.