Cynthia's Story

I was trafficked from my home in Albania to different European countries and across the UK for several months for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

I became pregnant because of the exploitation. It was then that I knew I had to escape.

After managing to get away from my captors, I was supported by the Modern Slavery Response team at Hestia for about 2 and a half years. They helped me to access a legal aid solicitor, support for my mental health, English lessons and were able to support me during the birth of my child.

I received a positive Conclusive Grounds decision, however I was given no leave to remain and my asylum claim was refused.

After this, I was supported by Hestia’s Phoenix Project. I was struggling because of my mental health; I was feeling isolated and was worrying a lot about the refusal of my asylum claim.

My caseworker supported me in attending meetings with my immigration solicitor and helped me source important documents for my appeal. I was also referred to further mental health support and was matched with a community volunteer who supported me and my children to feel comfortable in our local community.

Me and my children attended sessions at the local libraries, children’s centres and parks, which helped me to feel less lonely.

I won my immigration appeal, which was great news, but then the eviction notice for my asylum accommodation didn’t come for months and I was unable to apply for local authority housing. It was a terrible time.

I approached my local authority with the help of my caseworker and have now managed to access privately rented accommodation.

I am now hoping to register both of my children in nursery and access part time employment – my community volunteer has been helping me with my CV. I also no longer need counselling. Things are starting to get better and I am looking forward. Without the support of the Phoenix Project, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

About the Phoenix Project

The Phoenix Project is an innovative new scheme for members of the community to come together to support victims of modern slavery.

For many victims of modern slavery, they have lost their ability to trust. Your time volunteering can help grow their confidence and allow these individuals to lead an independent life. By sharing your skills, you have the ability to make a real, positive impact in their lives.

Volunteer for the Phoenix Project