“Breaking the Chains” gives life and dignity back to trafficking survivors

Representatives from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission thank the Clovis City Council for Proclaiming January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month on January 13th, 2020. (Photo courtesy of city of Clovis Facebook)
Representatives from the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission thank the Clovis City Council for Proclaiming January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month on January 13th, 2020. (Photo courtesy of city of Clovis Facebook)

July 10, 2024 – In Fresno County, trafficking is an especially prevalent and devastating reality compared to other parts of California and the nation entirely.

In 2021, the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission found that 114 of over 1500 state-wide trafficking cases were identified locally in the Central Valley, making Fresno County claim 7.6% of trafficking cases in all of California.

California itself has held the highest record for human trafficking cases, largely because of its’ proximity to the ocean and the commonality of homelessness in the US.

“Breaking the Chains” was founded in 2014 from CEO Debra Rush, a trafficking survivor who discovered a need for services for survivors after experiencing it herself.

The non-profit organization is devoted to the prevention of trafficking, as well as the rehabilitation of individuals who have suffered from it. They provide emergency services for those involved and resources for those who escaped to regain their lives and dignity.

They describe their approach towards it as “comprehensive and compassionate,” providing long-term housing, comprehensive case management, supportive counseling & therapeutic services, life skills workshops, education & job training, legal advocacy, emergency services and shelter, emergency fund assistance, and survivor leadership.

17% of the donations contributed towards the non-profit organization goes towards outreach and 65% towards survivor services, according to their website.

Unfortunately, however, the summer months tend to bring a decrease in contributions to support this aid. For this reason, they have requested additional support from their regular contributors to continue their generosity to provide a solution to this issue.

Their website displays numerous statistics and facts regarding human trafficking, dispelling myths about trafficking as well as showing the need for assistance by organizations such as these. It cites that 20% of all trafficking victims are children and 79% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation.

Breaking the Chains is dedicated to not only preventing the circumstances that allow for trafficking in the first place, sharing information about how to notice the warning signs of trafficking, but also of being a beacon of hope for the future of survivors.

Those interested in supporting Breaking the Chains can go online at https://www.btcfresno.org/donate/ or call their office at (559)492-1566 Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM for other forms of contributions and/or material donations.