In 2008, Rachel Irby, our founder, was given an opportunity to supervise the Catholic Charities’ DIGNITY Program. Rachel always says that she received the best training and understanding of the realities of domestic sex trafficking with the survivor staff she worked with and with law enforcement. While working at the DIGNITY Program, Rachel worked with local and federal law enforcement to identify and provide safe housing for victims. In her three years at DIGNITY, she began getting speaking requests from groups throughout the state of Arizona for awareness and professional training. Rachel has a heart for youth and young adults, and through her work with the DIGNITY program, she recognized a need to create a program that supported the unique challenges of this age group. Through these experiences, the Unchained Movement was born. Unchained operated under the Technical Assistance Partnership of Arizona for the first three years. The partnership withTAPAZ is still active. In May 2015 Unchained obtained our 501 (c)3 status.
The first goals were to provide education and awareness events throughout the country. Rachel began touring the country sleeping out of her car and going from college to college, city to city to provide training and awareness events. In the first month of Rachel touring she provided over 23 presentations and trainings in 11 days. In the next two years, the focus shifted to developing a residential treatment program for victims, and in 2013 Unchained relocated to Tennessee. Kakiesha Brown, who was a survivor and a Board Member, joined Rachel to become the Program Coordinator.
Unchained opened the first residential program for young women 18-24 years of age in August of 2015. Unfortunately, due to lack of funding, the residential program was closed in August of 2017. Unchained is still committed to providing direct care for victims but is looking at alternative ways to fund the program and make it more sustainable.
In the fall of 2017, Unchained began partnering with Maury County Public Schools and created the School Outreach Program that provides student assemblies, teacher/faculty training, and parent training. This program has become a driving force in the work we do in the communities. We have found parents to be hungry for information on how to keep their children safe online.
Unchained continues to tour the country and is in the process of re-establishing the donor base to eventually relaunch the residential program.