Friday, October 14, 2022
The European Freedom Network is a Christian community of organizations that exists to fight human trafficking and commercial exploitation in Europe and to seek the restoration of victims in collaboration with strategic stakeholders.
They gather yearly at the Bridge Conference, an event focused on connecting, data sharing and exchanging best practices. What makes EFN highly successful in their fight against human trafficking is the friendships and interpersonal relationships the members have with each other; this helps them stay aligned to the common goal and very efficient in providing a quick response when crisis arises.
That was the case in the spring of this year when Europe faced a refugee influx from Ukraine caused by Russia's war of aggression. The Network quickly mobilized and created and distributed an info flyer in several languages to alert refugees to the perils of human trafficking and provide them with useful contacts and information on their journey. Other EFN members helped with supplies, accommodation, transportation etc.
At the Bridge conference, Leanne Rhodes- executive director of EFN- kicked off the event with a message of vision and encouragement. She reminded the NGOs represented at the event in Sarajevo of previous experience and ways God has provided and by reflecting on current changes and challenges. She inspired the members to really engage their local churches and communities in the ongoing fight against human trafficking. She presented the various action groups within EFN dealing with fighting various aspects of modern slavery.
For their tireless work and remarkable data collecting/ sharing, EFN received a commendation for Collaborative Disruption as part of STOP THE TRAFFIK ’s Data to Disrupt Trafficking Awards 2022.
Dr. Leah Edwards held a presentation on National Referral Mechanisms, the newly re-written Handbook, and the challenges of implementation in various countries around Europe. She also conducted a data collection session on trafficking routes and is preparing further research and a report based on it.
The EFN's Don’t Shut Your Eyes campaign this year focused on slave labor in the garment industry and it was promoted on the European Day Against Trafficking in Human Beings (18 October).
You can find videos from each day of the conference on the EFN's social media pages.