Phoenix Rising KY

Statement of Belief  

 The mission of Phoenix Rising Inc. is serving children, youth, & young adults (up to and including age 21) affected by domestic minor sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. We connect survivors of trafficking or exploitation with resources, educate the community about domestic sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and provide safe spaces for those receiving services. Phoenix Rising also implements preventative education sessions, professional development trainings, and recovery materials 

We Shall Rise!

Our Vision

We envision a community where survivors receive the assistance they need.


Our Goals

-Assist victims as they overcome trauma 

-Provide a safe haven to foster growth by reducing shame, increasing self-worth, and restoring self-confidence 

-Advocate for victims’ rights 

-Promote awareness and education about human trafficking

Dr. Azurdee M. Garland, BA, MAE, EdS, EdD


The idea for Phoenix Rising, Inc. began over a decade ago when founder Dr. Azurdee Garland began working with at-risk teens from around the United States.  Azurdee continuously found herself meeting youth who had been victims of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.  Azurdee spent time mentoring, educating, and advocating for trafficking victims.

In 2011, Azurdee began consulting with organizations and state agencies in an effort to teach others how to recognize victims and potential victims. Azurdee worked with programs to educate their staff on domestic sex trafficking, the needs of survivors, and how individuals could make an impact.  While researching the motivation needed to work with individuals who have experienced extreme trauma, Azurdee was challenged to develop her own direct service program.  Through local leadership, Azurdee was able to meet others who shared her vision of helping victims transition into survivors who thrived in their communities.

At the same time Azurdee was looking for local support, the President of the Broadway UMC chapter of the United Methodist Women, Missy Cunningham was seeking a way to use knowledge gained from reading books and attending a conference about human trafficking. Unbeknownst to both Missy and Azurdee, they were both invited to a picnic where the two would strike up a conversation, which would ultimately change both their lives and impact thousands.     

Over the next couple of months, Missy recruited additional support while Azurdee made connections within the anti-trafficking survivor leadership community.  The addition of local leadership and survivor leader support paved the way for Phoenix Rising to establish itself as a nonprofit foundation within the commonwealth of Kentucky in the summer of 2015. Seeing the need for an increase in the presence of survivor leadership, Phoenix Rising held its first survivor led Warrior Conference, which proved the organization had merit and could became an official national organization. In 2016, Phoenix Rising, Inc. was deemed a nonprofit foundation and given tax-exempt rights as a 501c3.  

Board of Directors

Phoenix Rising's board is made up of members who provide leadership, volunteer their time, and give financially because they are dedicated to seeing an end to trafficking in our world. 

Interested in becoming a board member?  Email us at: info@phoenixrisingky.org

Meeting minutes, financials, and other information available by request.