Sofia* lived in a small Albanian village with her mother, father, brother and extended family, all of whom she had a great relationship with. She was always very focused on her studying so that she could attend university, and when she was 18 she had the results she needed under her belt and left home to study.

In her first year at university she excelled in all of her modules, achieving one of the highest results in her class. Not only that, but she was also doing extra curricula activities alongside her studies, keen to gain experience for employment when she completed university, and working as a barmaid at one of the university bars to fund herself. One night, Sofia met a man named Toby. They began talking, and he ended up staying at the bar for the rest of her shift to talk to her. At the end of the night, he invited her to go for another drink, and Sofia agreed as she was enjoying his company.

After this point, Sofia does not know what happened that evening. The next thing she knew she was waking up in a hotel room the following morning. The door was locked and she could hear that men were guarding the door outside. Sofia did not leave this room for months. She was held captive, beaten and raped by multiple men, including Toby. Sofia could hear other women in the building, however they were not able to contact each other. 

After months of this abuse in Albania, Sofia was then transported to Germany and, several months after that, on to the UK, where she was forced, once again, into prostitution. After being held captive a further 8 months, Sofia managed to escape when she realised that her room was no longer being guarded. She was found on a street with very little clothing on by a member of the public who took her to the police, who were then able refer her into the National Referral Mechanism.

The NRM then transferred Sofia to Migrant Help for support. We placed Sofia into a safe house and helped her access medical treatment for both her physical and mental health, as well as assisting her with accessing legal aid services, ESOL classes, financial support and outreach support from her Support worker.

When Sofia met with her Support Worker, she told them that she had once studied at University and wished to continue her studies. With the help of other charities, Sofia’s support worker at Migrant Help was able to assist Sofia in attending University in the UK.



*Alterations have been made to the personal information of the subject to protect their identity