Debra Rush probably knows the world of human trafficking better than anyone.
She says she was born into that life, and spent years trying to escape it.
She now dedicates her life to helping others break the chains of human trafficking. “I was quite literally born into human trafficking. Human trafficking has always been an aspect of my life. When I say I was born into it, my mother was actively engaging in sex trafficking for more than five years before I was ever even conceived and so I have seen things and was exposed to different things in my life that most kids have no idea about,” Rush explains.
39-year-old Rush is a survivor of human trafficking, her life story detailed in her book, “A Cry of the Heart.”
“It was important for me to write this book because I needed people to understand what was going on in their own neighborhoods, understand the dangers behind social media and to protect children and prevent this from happening to somebody else,” she says.
For the past seven years, Rush has dedicated her life to educating this community, educating law enforcement about what human trafficking really is.
“For so long, people did look at this like it was prostitution and understanding that human trafficking transcends all socio-economic backgrounds, racial barriers, neighborhoods, schools that especially with the internet being so prevalent it is in every one of our homes,” Rush says.
She, better than most knows what it takes for a young person to break free from her or his trafficker and that’s what she provides at “Breaking the Chains” the valley’s first adult safe house.
A place of support and understanding.
“The services that we provide here at Breaking the Chains are a direct result of my own story,” Rush explains.
“I want what happened to me, I want what happened to my mother, I want what happened to so many individuals out there that I love so very much to matter, I want this to stop.”