Albanian teen trafficked into UK - but now facing deportation - faces an uncertain future

  • Watch Charlotte Gay's report

A teenager in Yate who was trafficked into Britain by people smugglers is facing an uncertain future in the UK after the coronavirus pandemic forced many deportation cases to be put on hold.

Samet was illegally trafficked into the country from Albania when he was 15-years-old and was told three years later he had to leave.

Since turning 18 last year Samet and his foster family have been fighting for his right to stay in the UK, but he is still stuck trying to appeal his case.

Last year a petition demanding Samet should be allowed to remain in Britain received more than 400,000 signatures.

Among his supporters is Bristol actor Joe Sims who told ITV News: "We've got to do better as a country."

Samet was trafficked into the UK when he was 15-years-old. Credit: Samet/John Stokes

Samet is currently studying carpentry at SGS College in Filton where he's been nominated as student of the year.

In Albania, Samet was forced to beg on the streets from the age of 11. He was eventually trafficked into Britain by Albanian gangs, with the intention that he work in car washes or cannabis factories.

After escaping, he was taken into care in Bristol and was fostered by John Stokes who he lives with in Yate, South Gloucestershire.

John Stokes told ITV News: "What we had hoped is that the Home Secretary would change their mind because I've known of cases where that's happened, so we just have to keep fighting and it is difficult because you have to keep the momentum."

John also fostered Ali, who was the subject of a huge campaign across Bristol which successfully persuaded the Home Office to grant him leave to remain. He was trafficked into Bristol from Albania - just like Samet - and is now a Michelin star chef.

Ali - who arrived in the UK under similar circumstances - is now a head chef in Hanham. Credit: ITV West Country

John said: "With the pandemic, it's easy to lose heart. Because we have to wait a long time for court it's easy for Samet to feel that nothing is happening."

Despite Samet getting more signatures on his petition and one of the top UK barristers on his team, his case is making little progress.

John Stokes started a petition to keep his foster son in the UK. Credit:

Samet's foster dad believes it wouldn't be safe for him to return to Albania - a sentiment echoed by Joe Sims.

Joe said: "Albania is not a country that he knows. You know, he was a kid when he had to leave there.

"To get him sent back there, to be a young 18 or 19-year-old person, to come back to a city and a country you don't know, must be frightening.

"Imagine that hanging over your head every single day. That's heartbreaking. We need to do better."

Joe Sims has been a big supporter of Samet's. Credit: ITV West Country

John is now trying to put the pressure back on the Government so Samet can live a normal life and have security about his future.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We do not routinely comment on individual cases."