Tennessee AMBER Alert case closed; advocates emphasize sensitivity

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Rachel Irby is the founder of “The Unchained Movement, an organization dedicating to helping sex trafficking victims.

Irby said while news organizations play a huge role in helping law enforcement track down missing teenagers and their kidnappers, once they are safe they should be kept out of the public eye.

“If this was your child and something horrible like this happened, would you want everybody in the country to know every little detail and maybe even some details that might be fabricated?” she said.

Irby says victims in these situations face a number of challenges that make it difficult for them to adjust to a normal life.

“There could be some type of PTSD involved in this situation. There could be issues of trauma bonding.” Irby said. Trauma bonding occurs when a victim becomes attached to his/her captor. It can take years for a victim to overcome the psychological conditioning associated with trauma bonding.

Irby told us that it is time for those who have followed the Tad Cummins case to be reminded of reality.

“What are you trying to learn that you don’t already know? And is it for your own benefit? Or is it for the benefit of the victim? We have intentions of doing certain things and we want to know more and more information but it’s really for our own selfish reasons.” Irby said.

At WHNT News 19, we strive to provide the best coverage while protecting the privacy and well-being of our community.

For weeks, we shared with you the name and pictures of the Tennessee teenager at the center of a nationwide search. We did so to help authorities rescue her.  Now that she has been reunited with her family, we will no longer identify her in our stories. ​ We have made this decision out of respect for her and her family’s privacy, as well as for her long-term recovery. The stories we have aired and published will remain unedited in order to preserve their historical accuracy.​ 

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