Fresno’s Breaking the Chains Receives FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award

The Federal Bureau of Investigation 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.

Video Transcript

Hello, I am Sean Ragan, special agent in charge of the FBI Sacramento Field Office.

Our office proudly serves communities in 34 of California’s 58 counties.

Relationships with the communities we serve are as important as partnerships with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

We cannot successfully fulfill our mission to protect the American people without the support and understanding of the community and support of community organizations.

Each year, the FBI recognizes outstanding individuals and organizations who make significant contributions to their local communities through service.

FBI field offices nominate these outstanding partners to receive the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award.

Recipients of this prestigious award include individuals and organizations that have identified some of the most challenging problems in the communities and have stepped forward to address them.

This spring, the 2019 recipients of this honor planned to travel to Washington, D.C. to receive their award from FBI Director Christopher Wray at a ceremony at FBI Headquarters.

As was the case with many events, COVID-19 forced the cancellation of both the local award presentation and the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Despite these cancellations, we want you to know about the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award recipient from our area and the great work they do.

By way of this message, I am formally announcing that Fresno nonprofit Breaking the Chains is the 2019 FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award recipient from our region.

Breaking the Chains is an organization that does truly outstanding work in California’s Central Valley.

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.

The FBI fights tirelessly to combat human trafficking, often working with our federal, state, and local partners to identify traffickers and recover their victims.

Our agents and personnel aggressively investigate reports of human trafficking, disrupt these crimes, and dismantle the networks that treat human beings as mere commodities.

However, the FBI and our local law enforcement partners need the assistance of community organizations to help victims of human trafficking begin the healing process and move forward with their lives.

Our partners in the community provide vital resources that our victim services specialists can link victims to, ensuring they have a chance to break the cycle of violence and exploitation.

Debra and her team at Breaking the Chains provide a variety of services to adult and juvenile survivors though their journey of recovery and healing.

These services include shelter, trauma treatment, non-residential service programs, including drug counseling, job support, and housing.

We know the work of Breaking the Chains firsthand.

We are thankful for assistance Breaking the Chains provided to a human trafficking survivor recovered during an FBI operation.

Breaking the Chains located and funded a recovery program for the victim, enabling this survivor to begin their recovery and healing journey.

We are grateful for the opportunity Breaking the Chains provided this survivor and many others.

Recovery from a life of being trafficked is a journey that is smoother with strong and caring support Debra and her team provide.

Breaking the Chains also provides education and training programs to the community and local enforcement agencies.

They have increased awareness of the complex reality of human trafficking and the impact these crimes have on both victims and the community.

To Debra and her team at Breaking the Chains, congratulations for receiving the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for our region.

We are grateful for your partnership, support, and collaboration to help combat human trafficking in the Central Valley.

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