Apr 28, 2020      News      

Two years ago she was held captive by sex traffickers. Now she’s a member of the U.S. Advisory Council

Houston Chronicle

April 27, 2020


Two years ago she was held captive by sex traffickers. Now she’s a member of the U.S. Advisory Council

Courtney Litvak was a student at Cinco Ranch High School when she became immersed in the life of sex trafficking. Now she’s been appointed to President Donald Trump’s U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking.

Litvak came from a loving family. She was an accomplished swimmer. She lived in a safe neighborhood. She grew up in the church, and she was saving herself until marriage.

Then, at the age of 18, she was being sold for sex.

Litvak was a junior in high school when a series of traumatic experiences made her emotionally vulnerable. As a result, she began abusing drugs and alcohol. It didn’t take long before human traffickers, operating through her fellow high school students, were able to hook into Litvak’s life.

Litvak was drawn into human trafficking. Her captors transported her across the country for sexual exploitation.

Litvak’s family fought desperately to get their daughter back. In an effort to save her child, Litvak’s mother, Kelly Litvak, appealed to anyone she could think of to get her daughter back. That included her representative in Congress, Rep. Michael McCaul.

“He has been our champion throughout all of this,” Litvak said of McCaul. “He was alongside my family when I was still missing, and he was praying with my family, even though he’d never even met me before.”

In 2018, Courtney Litvak faced her trauma and began the road to recovery.

Litvak was determined to do everything she could to prevent more people from falling into human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Litvak and her mother founded ChildProof America, a nonprofit dedicated to safeguarding families from sex trafficking through education. Litvak, now 21, often speaks publically about her experience in an effort to spread awareness on human trafficking.

The Litvaks stayed in contact with McCaul, and when he learned that Courtney and Kelly had formed a nonprofit dedicated to ending human trafficking, he took up their cause.

“Ever since I was trafficked, he’s been fighting this fight with us,” Litvak said.

In November of 2019, Litvak’s phone rang. It was Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House advisorIvanka would be hosting an anti-human trafficking summit at the White House, and she wanted Litvak to be there.

In January, Litvak stood by the president’s side as he signed an executive order that would combat human trafficking and online child exploitation by allocating more funding to anti-trafficking efforts and strengthening federal response to human trafficking.

“I was looking at being a completely transformed person from whom I was a year ago to standing on stage, being acknowledged by the president himself, and have him sign an executive order to help people who are lost like I once was lost,” she reflected.

On Friday, Litvak’s phone rang again. This time it was one of the president’s aids. Ivanka had nominated Litvak for a position on the president’s advisory council, and the president had appointed her.

Details are still emerging as to what Litvak’s official duties will be in her new role, but she knows the job will give her a platform to broaden her fight against human trafficking.

“I’m going to be expanding what I do through ChildProof America and raising awareness, and I’ll be able to have a say in policies that we can enact,” she explained. “These policies will help protect people who are being impacted the most by human trafficking and make sure those who are exploiting individuals are held accountable.”

Litvak acknowledged that she will always suffer from the trauma of her ordeal, but her new position on the advisory council will enable her to use that struggle to save others.

“I will do everything that I can with this. It’s beyond my wildest dreams that God could have this plan for my life — a calling for my life — to go through something so dark, so that I could be a light to other people,” she said. “That’s why I purpose my pain, and why I’m so passionate about what I do.”