Photo contributed. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp (far right) stand with Breaking the Chains founders Debra Rush and Tiffany Apodaca.
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
Breaking the Chains hasn’t gone anywhere during the pandemic—in fact, the demand for their services has grown exponentially.
Already one of the biggest organizations in the Valley tackling the issue of human trafficking, Breaking the Chains founder and survivor Debra Rush said they saw a 62% increase in their caseload in 2020, prompting the necessity and opening of three new resources for their work. On Friday, Rush hosted a lives tream event on their organization’s YouTube channel to show how their donors’ money has been used.
The first of these new additions to the nonprofit is a new campus in Parlier, which was set up after being approached by the city to extend their services south of Fresno. Another debut was their new Fresno rescue center, which provides a safe space for people who’ve just been rescued from trafficking.
“When you’re in a place where you’ve just come out of incredible trauma and there’s kind of — for lack of a better term — chaos all around you, you’re very hypersensitive to what’s going on,” Rush said.”
This rescue center provides, food, shelter and other services geared at helping de-stress survivors. Rush also used the live stream to debut their surprise addition, a mobile emergency center housed in a fifth-wheel unit to shelter survivors in remote and rural areas, or wherever they might be, while providing those same services.
“We’re able to give them clothes, food and help the community that we’re in,” she said.
Funding for the mobile emergency center was provided through Philanthropy Inspired by the Needs of the Community (PINC) and another donor who wishes to remain anonymous.