The European Freedom Network began with a dream. In 2011, a group of anti-trafficking professionals gathered in Stockholm, Sweden and started initial conversations about what it would take to coordinate and mobilise anti-trafficking efforts around Europe.
With the help of the European Evangelical Alliance the dream soon became a reality in 2012, when almost 90 different individuals and organizations gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria to strategize and design what would become the European Freedom Network. The network began to attract more attention and interested partners which was evidenced at our regular Bridge conferences that were held in Cyprus (2013), Bucharest, Romanian (2015), Berlin, Germany (2017) and Pescara Italy (2019). Our attendance at the conferences steadily increased from our initial 90 in Bulgaria to over 200 in Pescara, Italy.
In November 2015, a key gathering of partners took place in Berlin which helped set the identity and course for EFN, including a decision to form EFN as an official non-profit organization. The Operational Team approved this decision in 2016 so that EFN could be ready to present ourselves as a leading-edge, knowledgeable, and expert voice on human trafficking and sexual exploitation to government bodies and media. We wanted to focus our collaborative efforts on changing policy at both national, European and UN levels and we needed a legal entity in order to represent us. This legal entity was formed in January 2017.
Since our initial beginnings in Stockholm, EFN has grown as a truly international network made up of partner and member organizations in over 40 nations. Our members and partners represent organizations of all shapes and sizes and they work in all areas of combating human trafficking and commercial exploitation. We continue the initial dream of seeing a well-coordinated, mobilized and effective response in Europe so that survivors can be restored and human trafficking can be stopped once and for all.