Vlora* experienced modern slavery in London. This is her story.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

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I was trafficked from my hometown in Albania to London when I was 22 years old. I spend a lot of time thinking about my life before what happened to me. This experience will stay with me forever.

At 21, I completed my nursing degree in Albania. I had hopes for the future, and had plans to work in my local hospital. Everything changed when I met a businessman and I accepted a job in the UK. He told me I was going to be a nurse in the UK in a busy hospital to help sick people. I was tricked and fell into a cycle of abuse. 

During that time, I didn’t think there was a way out. 

For the last 6 months I have been supported by an advocate, and while I am trying to get my life back to normal, sometimes it can seem impossible.

My Advocate is around my age, and seeing the work she does to help me and others like me is inspiring; I have dreams of being able to do the same. This dream gives me hope.

I want to work here in the UK at one of London’s big hospitals, changing and saving people’s lives, and putting my skills to good use. I see so many people my age starting their careers and I am desperate to be able to do the same. 

My degree from Albania isn’t recognised here in the UK, so I know that I have to start from the very beginning. I’m passionate about improving my English, and so I am lucky to have been able to start an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) class. When my English improves, I hope to be able to go to nursing school. I don’t yet know if this will be possible because I have lost contact with my family so can’t access the degree I achieved in Albania, and I am waiting to see if I receive a positive decision on my asylum claim. Waiting fills me with anxiety, and the thought of having to go back to where I fear is crushing.

While it’s frustrating that I am having to start my learning again because of what happened to me, I know I have the ability to succeed and to get to where I want to be. I have wanted to be a nurse since I was very young, and now I am more determined than ever. All I want to do is work, to be able to provide for myself, and to contribute to others around me.

I am now 24 and I am slowly building my future. It still feels difficult and unclear a lot of the time but I see nursing as my way forward in life, and it is this that keeps me going.

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