FBI Sacramento
FBI Sacramento Press Office
(916) 746-8106
October 21, 2020

FBI Video Message Announces Fresno’s Breaking the Chains as Recipient of FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Sacramento Field Office released a video message to announce Fresno nonprofit Breaking the Chains is a recipient of the 2019 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for the office’s 34-county area of responsibility.

Breaking the Chains was selected to receive the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for their outstanding efforts to educate the community and law enforcement agencies about human trafficking. Debra Rush—founder and CEO of Breaking the Chains—established the organization to help survivors of human trafficking heal from the complex trauma and challenges victims experience.

Despite the FBI’s success in identifying and disrupting human trafficking in partnership with local, state, and federal partners, community organizations help survivors of human trafficking begin the healing process and move forward with their lives. Our partners in the community provide vital resources that our Victims Services Specialists can link victims to, ensuring they have a chance to break the cycle of violence and exploitation.

“The FBI knows the work Debra and her team do firsthand,” FBI Sacramento Field Office Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan said. “We are grateful for assistance Breaking the Chains provides to survivors of human trafficking, including a young survivor recovered during an FBI operation in the Fresno area. Breaking the Chains located and funded a recovery program for the victim, enabling her to begin a journey of recovery and healing.”

The FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award, formally created in 1990, is a way to honor individuals and organizations for their efforts in combating crime, terrorism, drugs, and encouraging young people to make positive choices. Each of the 56 field offices of the FBI nominates an outstanding community leader to receive the award every year. Award recipients come from diverse backgrounds and focus on a variety of issues; however, they all have the same motivation—a desire to reach out to those in need and make their communities a safer place to live.

Each spring, recipients of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award meet in Washington, D.C.to receive engraved crystal awards from the FBI Director. Unfortunately, health orders to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus cancelled the local award presentation and the ceremony at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.