We recently had the chance to speak to Anxhela Bruçi who completed a Masters in Global Crime and Justice in 2019. She has gone on to do some amazing things since completing her course including running a socio-economic model for the empowerment of survivors of human trafficking called EmpowerFULL and is now working to change the narrative and promote survivors as entrepreneurs instead of low-skilled workers.
Tell us, why did you choose to study your Masters in York?
The University of York is a world-leading university, known for its research excellence. Also, the history that York carries behind and the friendly local community were among the top reasons I chose to do my masters in York.
What opportunities have York given you that you would not have found elsewhere?
The academic and teaching excellence, the various interactive learning spaces, the resourceful library, and the green places around the campus, such as the “quiet place”. Besides the academic part, the walks in the York Shambles, the fresh smell of the chocolate in the early morning while crossing from the museum chocolate, the long-named streets, and the delicious cakes at the tea rooms left a memorable impression.
What do you miss the most about York?
The walks around the campus while working on my dissertation, the voluntary events organised with our course mates, hanging out with friends around the city, and sightseeing.
What research do you specialise in? What steps do you go through to complete your research?
I focused on qualitative research, for my dissertation I used comparative research on reintegration policies for survivors of human trafficking, with a focus on Albania.
How did you get into your current career?
I currently work as a project officer and researcher in a think tank, but also I run a socio-economic model for the empowerment of survivors of human trafficking named “EmpowerFULL”. We view the process of reintegration through the personal development perspective and we believe that each survivor has unique powers within themselves that can help them in their reintegration and empowerment process.
What is your favorite part in working in this field?
Reassuring myself that there is hope and that things can change…for good. Life has many nuances, it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Doing this work, especially in the reintegration perspective, gives me hope to believe in humanity and a more socially just world.
What was your key role when you were part of the Young Entrepreneur program in the Netherlands?
I took the role of a “Young Social Entrepreneur” where I developed a social enterprise plan for the economic empowerment of survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. It was back then the first time that I put on paper the idea that has been going on my mind for a long time. During my stay in the Netherlands, I explored diverse models of inclusion in the workplace and was introduced to innovative methods of flexible working, co-working spaces, and start-up investing.
What inspired you to found “EmpowerFULL”?
Economic empowerment programs lack survivor-centered approaches and focus on short-term initiatives. Due to low levels of education and discrimination on the labor market, survivors of human trafficking have a higher probability of living in poverty, unemployment, and isolation. Our aim is to change the narrative and promote survivors as entrepreneurs instead of low-skilled workers and dependent on assistance benefits.