PHOTO: Unchained Movement’s founder Rachel Irby speaks about the organization’s short- and long-term goals Thursday night in Spring Hill. // Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
The nonprofit organization Unchained Movement, whose mission it is to combat human trafficking, has officially initiated the relaunch of its residential program, which closed in August of last year due to lack of funding.
Unchained operates based on three main pillars: prevention, equipment, and restoration. The residential program embodied the third pillar, restoration, as it focused on housing and treating 18- to 24-year-old women who had been victims of human trafficking.
The program was lauded by critics and law enforcement for its in-depth care and effectiveness, however, after a temporary change in staff last year, Unchained’s funding dropped from roughly $3,000 a month to only $450, leading to the residential program’s closure, as well as the closure of the Spring Hill office.
After months of planning, Unchained and its staff are prepared to relaunch the program, reaching out to the community Thursday night by hosting a gathering in order to spread its message.
“That’s why we want to relaunch residential, because we want to give girls hope,” said Unchained’s founder, Rachel Irby. “We want to provide them with a safe place where they can get medical services, where they can see their self-worth and their value, where they can experience love. And so, we are going to officially start the process to relaunch our residential [program].”
The program’s relaunch is segmented into three phases, with one of the main portions of the first phase being the launch of the Brick Campaign.
The Brick Campaign is a fundraising initiative in which interested organizations, businesses or individuals may purchase a custom brick which will become a permanent part of a new planned facility. Sizes and materials vary, and prices for bricks range anywhere from $100 to $2,500.
The Brick Campaign will officially launch on December 4, with Irby making the announcement at Homestead Manor in Thompson’s Station on December 4, afterwhich interested persons will be able to purchase a brick via the Unchained Movement website.
Another significant portion of phase one of Unchained’s rebirth so to speak, is its outreach for volunteers. Irby said anyone willing to give any amount of time is welcome to apply, and that there are needs for just about any skill set.
“We’re looking for people who enjoy writing, people to assist with newsletters, we also need people to help [that] like to do video, people to help with the thrift store,” Irby said. “If you have other gifts and talents outside of what I’ve listed here, trust me – the needs are nice and long, and we can definitely use you.”
Other desired skills include photography, teaching, event planning, and much more.
“Most of our girls that came to us got in the life when they were 12, 13, 14 years-old – and that is the average time that girls are getting recruited,” Irby said. “So, what happens if we can reach them before they become 25, 30?”
Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact Irby at email@example.com.