An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Suleman Masood

Suleman Headshot (1)

Suleman Masood is a subject matter expert on domestic labor trafficking and male victimization. Since 2013, his advocacy experience allowed him to work with state and federal government agencies and non-profit organizations. Mr. Masood’s expertise includes collaborating with victim service providers and task forces to advocate for ways to improve the quality of services for trafficking survivors. This work emphasizes the need to build partnerships with survivors and to ensure that strategies and implementation are created with a survivor-informed approach. Mr. Masood’s partnerships with law enforcement include serving as a program manager for the Alameda (California) County District Attorney’s office and working as a consultant for various prosecutors’ offices across the United States. In addition, Mr. Masood served on board positions for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, 3Strands Global Foundation, and the National Survivor Network. In 2017, Mr. Masood was selected to participate in the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy, a pilot leadership development fellowship under the HHS’ Office on Trafficking in Persons and its National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. Mr. Masood’s cohort was tasked with creating a recommendations report and was credited with coining the phrase “survivor-informed,” which was adopted and published by HHS. Mr. Masood graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Criminology/Victimology from Fresno State University, and he is currently working to earn a J.D. He aspires to serve as a federal prosecutor and remain committed to serve vulnerable populations.

Andrea Hipwell

Andrea Hipwell Picture (002) (1)

Andrea Hipwell currently serves as the Director of Women’s Residential Services at Wellspring Living in Atlanta, Ga. Andrea graduated from the Wellspring Living Women’s Residential Program in 2009. Andrea earned her bachelor’s degree in the area of criminology from Georgia Gwinnett College in 2016. She is passionate about survivor leadership as she is also a survivor and understands the dynamics of that life. She is well versed in the areas of trauma-informed care and strength-based leadership and care. She has been recognized for her incredible determination and motivation for change in the area of survivor leadership and her tenacity to support survivors as they begin a new life.

Kwami Adoboe Herrera

Kwami Headshot (1)

Kwami Adoboe-Herrera is an anti-trafficking advocate and a speaker. As a survivor himself, he understands the unfortunate impact of human trafficking around us. His lived experience guided his career and interests to support policies that help support victims as they navigate life after experiencing trafficking. Kwami was featured in a documentary called Break the Chain. The film provides a detailed look at how trafficking goes unnoticed within our backyards. Break the Chain was developed to provide an accurate and educational entertainment resource that can be utilized in training and community awareness events throughout the United States. Kwami is currently a member of Not for Sale: One Step at a Time, an organization that brings awareness and hope to this hardly seen issue in communities across Ohio, America, and around the world.

Kwami’s goals are to raise awareness, reduce the risk of victimization, educate members of the government and the general public, and advocate for victim protection and wellness. Kwami received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Walsh University. His ultimate goal is to work for the Department of Justice as an FBI agent to rescue victims from their trafficker.

Dr. Marlene Carson

Marlene Headshot

Marlene Carson, SurThrivalist, Minister, Author, Publisher, Founder of Rahab’s Hideaway and CEO of The Switch Anti-Trafficking Network, is one of America’s foremost authorities on the subject of human trafficking. While many have a textbook knowledge of the perils faced by teenage girls who are forced into prostitution, Marlene knows from her own personal experience. At age 15, she became one of the tens of thousands of girls and young adult women who are exploited daily. She is a native of Columbus, Ohio, but her heart for injustice knows no boundaries. Marlene’s work has been a leader in changing legislation. Her work has been featured on Katie Couric, Oprah (website), and the CNN Freedom Project, as well as on international and national news. As a consultant, one of Marlene’s desires is to educate and empower organizations that have a passion to protect, a desire to provide, and ability to see victims as priceless. Marlene has received many awards and commendations including President Barack Obama’s Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award.

Katherine Givens

Kathy Headshot

Katherine is a wife, mother, author, writer, and advocate who has overcome the dark world of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. She co-founded Twelve 11 Partners, an organizatio  n committed to supporting individuals who are on their journey of overcoming trafficking. After many years of living in silence, Ms. Givens decided to journal what happened to hear as a way of dealing with the surreal experience. That journal became a book. That book became a stage play and she mustered up the strength to join the movement against human trafficking. Partnering with several organizations, Ms. Givens raises awareness, fights for those experiencing trafficking, and mentors those who have overcome it. She uses her voice and expertise to inspire others to join the fight against such a horrible atrocity. Ms. Givens has spoken to faith-based organizations, educators, students, medical professionals, law enforcement, and politicians. In 2018, she was invited into the Oval Office to witness a bill she advocated for signed into law. During her time as a program director, Ms. Givens developed a trauma-informed restorative care program for adult women who have experienced trafficking. Ms. Givens credits her healing journey and success to her faith in God.

Bella Hounakey

Bella Headshot

Bella Hounakey has dedicated her professional life to encouraging and supporting victims as they navigate the recovery process. Since 2011, she has served as an advocate, organizer, and speaker on anti-trafficking programs and policies. She previously served on the Board of the Human Trafficking Coalition in Michigan. She has also counseled female victims of sex trafficking at a specialized residential Trauma Recovery Center. Since 2015, she has worked with and supported the most vulnerable trafficking victims in the foster care system. Throughout her career, Bella’s ambitions have remained steadfast: raise awareness, reduce risk of victimization, educate members of the judicial system and general public, and advocate for victim protection and treatment. Bella received a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Spanish; and a Master’s degree from Western Michigan University.


Jennisue Jessen

Jennisue Headshot

With more than 20 years of experience in the field of human trafficking, Jennisue Jessen knows the depths of trauma a body can endure. She was sold into the sex trade at age four by her grandfather, but God provided for her rescue and escape after a failed suicide attempt at age 17. Jennisue and her husband, KJ founded Compass 31 in 2011 in response to the unfolding of redemption in their own lives. Compass 31, an international nongovernmental organization, provides a holistic model of restoration for survivors of exploitation. For eight years, Jennisue and KJ provided foster care to teenage mothers and babies that were exiting sexual exploitation. Their program includes safe housing, counseling, medical care, educational scholarships, familial support, and leadership development.
Using the latest developments in interpersonal neurobiology and trauma-informed care, Jennisue mentors, speaks, and teaches on a variety of platforms. Her passion is equipping survivors and their allies to understand the implications of trauma on the brain. In gaining mastery over their thoughts, their history, and their coping strategies, the survivors are then empowered to successfully move into lives of purpose and impact. In 2012, Jennisue co-created Priceless Cube, an educational tool to prevent trafficking through education. Thus far, national leaders from more than 40 different countries have been equipped to use Priceless Cube to effectively combat human trafficking among high-risk populations in their countries. To date, tens of thousands of people around the globe have heard her high-impact message of prevention, restoration, and hope.

Courtney Litvak

U.S. Advisory Council: Courtney Litvak

The Honorable Courtney Litvak serves on the Underserved Populations Committee for the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. She is a subject matter expert, advocate, public speaker, and is a part of the Survivor Consultant Network for DHS’ Blue Campaign. Courtney was born in Houston, Texas in 1998. She attended Katy Independent School District where she excelled as a varsity swimmer on the top-ranking swim team in the district. Her beloved coaches helped foster her unwavering strength and determination for success. Before devoting herself to full-time advocacy, she was methodically lured into “The Life.” After years of being off the grid, and under the emotional and physical control of networks of exploiters, Courtney escaped and entered a recovery program. She credits Jesus Christ and The Refuge for Women for enabling her to reconnect with her faith that empowered her to begin dreaming again. Her work as an activist and consultant include legislative advocacy to protect students in every school district in Texas. Courtney proactively meets with and advises leading champions on this issue across the nation including: the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, NTrafficking Zone, federal agencies, and other allies committed to combatting trafficking. She also supports local, state, and national leaders to improve policy and protect victims from being criminalized and re-exploited. “I want all individuals impacted by human trafficking to know that you are made for so much more than all of this and that your voices deserve to be heard!”

Brenda Myers-Powell

Brenda Headshot

Brenda Myers-Powell’s advocacy began in 1997 fighting for victims of sex trafficking. As a community organizer, she assists in organizing, training, and empowering victims to speak with legislators to bring change for their communities. She has been featured in numerous print and broadcast media outlets. She has been the key researcher in several research projects related to violence and the exploitation of women. Brenda is an outstanding public speaker, dealing with topics relating to poverty, violence against women, and criminal justice reform. She has been bestowed with several honors including the Chicago Magazine’s honoree, Illinois Coalition for Victims of Sexual Assault award for community activism, the 2010 Chicago Foundation for Women Impact Award, and many other special honors. She is the co-founder and executive director of the Dream Catcher Foundation and has sat on the board of numerous organizations including Sophia’s Circle, CAASE and PART. She considers herself fortunate to have survived many challenges in her life but is now able to use those experiences to assist others in their personal journeys of empowerment and recovery.

Rachel Thomas

Rachel Thomas Headshot5 2020

Rachel Thomas, a graduate of UCLA and a personal survivor of human trafficking, has extensive experience teaching, training, curriculum writing, public speaking and mentoring. As the founder of Sowers Education Group and lead author of Ending The Game: An Intervention Curriculum for Survivors of Sex Trafficking, Rachel has helped millions to become more aware of human trafficking and has helped hundreds of survivors break the bonds of attachment to traffickers and the lifestyle of commercial sexual exploitation. She and her work have been featured on numerous media outlets including New Day Morning Show on CNN, Inside with Chris Cuomo: Anyone’s Daughter on HLN, The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future