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Courageous Conversations: Human Trafficking in Houston

Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld
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Courageous Conversations

This Courageous Conversations luncheon was co-hosted by The Buzz Magazines and Crime Stoppers of Houston at Tony's. We welcomed three panelists, all of whom are anti-human trafficking advocates. 

It may seem like something that solely happens in horror movies, but it’s actually happening in our neighborhoods: Houston leads the nation in human-trafficking cases. To bring more awareness to this very real issue, The Buzz Magazines and Crime Stoppers of Houston co-hosted our second Courageous Conversations luncheon. Approximately 40 gathered at Tony’s to listen to a powerful panel of experts in the field of human trafficking - Kelly Litvak, John Clark and Jennifer Hohman – in an intimate setting. Kelly Litvak, the founder and executive director of Childproof America, urges parents to learn how to protect children from human trafficking. It’s not about scaring children, she said, but about getting in front of this issue.

Panelists

Panelists (from left) John Clark, Jennifer Hohman and Kelly Litvak are all experts and anti-human trafficking advocates. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

“It’s ugly.” she said, “It’s one of society’s most painful realities, but it is our reality today.” Childproof America pursues education for teachers, parents and children across Texas to make sure that kids are safe in schools. She said that no communities are immune from this issue. The age that’s most targeted, she said, are kids ages 12-14, so she suggests that parents begin talking to kids about the issue when they’re around 11. “We, in our community, have the power to use our influence to take Houston out of the number one spot for human trafficking,” Kelly said. Similarly, John Clark, the Chief Commercial Officer of Stupp Corporation, said that because the stereotypes about human trafficking don’t typically “match our self-image,” we tend to place the issue as a lower priority. “I’m here to tell you the stereotypes are wrong,” he said.

Joni Hoffman, Rania Mankarious

Buzz editor Joni Hoffman and Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, welcoming the crowd to the Courageous Conversations luncheon. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

John is working to raise awareness about sex trafficking, to promote legislation that will better protect victims, rescue children being trafficked and to develop support, treatment and healing solutions for survivors. “Sex trafficking is in every segment of our society,” he said. “I want to change your perspective, so you reprioritize this issue.” Jennifer Hohman, the Director of Information Technology at a company in the oil and gas industry, is also working to help society prioritize this issue. After hearing that multiple people she knew had daughters who went missing (and ultimately found that they’d been trafficked), she took action. Jennifer, who admits she’s “known for a bit of rebel raising,” is a community leader advocating for victims and survivors. She’s determined for this movement to be “the next MADD {Mothers Against Drunk Driving}.” “Our kids Uber when they drink these days,” she said. “This {the anti-human trafficking movement} has to have that kind of influence.”

Jill Talisman, Lindsay Aronstein

Jill Talisman and Lindsay Aronstein (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Jennifer has helped bring together leading philanthropists around Houston to “rise up” and bring awareness and resources regarding prevention, intervention and recovery. Thank you again to our incredible panelists for sharing their stories and thank you to Crime Stoppers of Houston for collaborating with us on this powerful event. See more from Crime Stoppers of Houston in Rania Mankarious’ weekly blog on our site, Sunday Mornings with Rania. Call 713-222-TIPS anonymously anytime. To read more about human trafficking, particularly in our city, see: Human Trafficking: It happens in Houston by Cheryl Ursin  Human-trafficking facts by Rania Mankarious  Sunday Mornings with Rania: Runaways or Lured Away? by Rania Mankarious  Resources:

  • Childproof America: Empowers families in the battle against sex trafficking; educates, equips and supports parents in protecting children 
  • Operation Texas Shield: Leading the development of anti-trafficking legislation
  • Anti-Trafficking Alliance: Provides location and recovery services for trafficking victims
  • The Refuge for DMST: A residential treatment facility for domestic minor and young adult survivors of sex trafficking offering long-term services
  • FightForUs: Influencers around Houston gathering to bring awareness to human trafficking. 
  • Free the Captives: A faith-based nonprofit fighting teenaged sex trafficking in Houston. 

Read about our first Courageous Conversations luncheon with panelists Gail Stalarow, Cabrina Owsley and Maureen Wittels. 

  • Tracy Faulkner, Tena Faust, Betty Hrncir

    Tracy Faulkner, Tena Faust and Betty Hrncir (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Brittany Zucker, Tammie Anne Johnson, Sherri Zucker

    Brittany Zucker, Tammie Anne Johnson, Sherri Zucker (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Table setting

    The table setting at the Courageous Conversations: Human Trafficking luncheon at Tony's. Thank you to Dessert Gallery for the special logo cookies.   

  • Gwen Redman, Donzel Garrett

    Gwen Redman and Donzel Garrett (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek, Sarah McMeans

    Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek, Sarah McMeans (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta

    Sarah McMeans and Monica Mehta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Rhonda Graff, Joni Hoffman

    Rhonda Graff and Joni Hoffman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Maureen Wittels, Gail Stalarow

    Maureen Wittels and Gail Stalarow (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Donae Chramosta, Rob Chramosta

    Donae and Rob Chramosta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Betty Hrncir, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust, Trish Morille, Tracy Faulkner, Michelle Heinz

    (Seated, from left) Betty Hrncir, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust; (Standing, from left) Trish Morille, Tracy Faulkner, Michelle Heinz (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Rhonda Graff, John Clark, Kelly Litvak

    Rhonda Graff talking with panelists John Clark and Kelly Litvak. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Megan Beauchamp, Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta, Patti Michalek, Mary Grace Gray

    (Seated, from left) Megan Beauchamp, Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta; (Standing, from left) Patti Michalek, Mary Grace Gray (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Amy Pierce, Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Susan Boggio, Brittany Zucker

    Amy Pierce, Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Susan Boggio and Brittany Zucker (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Rania Mankarious, Kelly Litvak, John Clark, Jennifer Hohman

    Rania Mankarious introducing panelists Kelly Litvak, John Clark and Jennifer Hohman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • John Clark, Kelly Litvak, Jennifer Hohman, Rob Chamosta, Donae Chramosta, Tammie Anne Johnson

    (Seated, from left) panelists John Clark, Kelly Litvak and Jennifer Hohman; (Standing, from left) Rob and Donae Chramosta and Tammie Anne Johnson (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Rhonda Graff, Ellen Cokinos

    Rhonda Graff and Ellen Cokinos (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Michael and Joni Hoffman

    Michael and Joni Hoffman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Lindsay Aronstein

    Lindsay Aronstein (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Amy Pierce

    Amy Pierce chatting with other attendees. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Kelly Litvak

    Kelly Litvak, the founder and Executive Director of Childproof America. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • John Clark

    John Clark, the founder of Operation Texas Shield and Board Chairman of Anti-Trafficking Alliance. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek

    Megan Beauchamp and Patti Michalek (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Jennifer Hohman

    Jennifer Hohman is an advocate working to create awareness regarding prevention, intervention and recovery. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Donae Chramosta

    Donae Chramosta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

  • Seabass

    One of the delicious dishes served at Tony's. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Buzz and Crime Stoppers team

    The Buzz Magazines' and Crime Stoppers team at the luncheon: (from left) Carly Gray, Rania Mankarious, Michael Hoffman, Joni Hoffman, Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld, Paige Hollek, Cabell Wood, Tania Cruz (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

  • Tracy Faulkner, Tena Faust, Betty Hrncir
  • Brittany Zucker, Tammie Anne Johnson, Sherri Zucker
  • Table setting
  • Gwen Redman, Donzel Garrett
  • Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek, Sarah McMeans
  • Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta
  • Rhonda Graff, Joni Hoffman
  • Maureen Wittels, Gail Stalarow
  • Donae Chramosta, Rob Chramosta
  • Betty Hrncir, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust, Trish Morille, Tracy Faulkner, Michelle Heinz
  • Rhonda Graff, John Clark, Kelly Litvak
  • Megan Beauchamp, Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta, Patti Michalek, Mary Grace Gray
  • Amy Pierce, Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Susan Boggio, Brittany Zucker
  • Rania Mankarious, Kelly Litvak, John Clark, Jennifer Hohman
  • John Clark, Kelly Litvak, Jennifer Hohman, Rob Chamosta, Donae Chramosta, Tammie Anne Johnson
  • Rhonda Graff, Ellen Cokinos
  • Michael and Joni Hoffman
  • Lindsay Aronstein
  • Amy Pierce
  • Kelly Litvak
  • John Clark
  • Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek
  • Jennifer Hohman
  • Donae Chramosta
  • Seabass
  • Buzz and Crime Stoppers team

More photos

Tracy Faulkner, Tena Faust, Betty Hrncir

Tracy Faulkner, Tena Faust and Betty Hrncir (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Brittany Zucker, Tammie Anne Johnson, Sherri Zucker

Brittany Zucker, Tammie Anne Johnson, Sherri Zucker (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Table setting

The table setting at the Courageous Conversations: Human Trafficking luncheon at Tony's. Thank you to Dessert Gallery for the special logo cookies.   

Gwen Redman, Donzel Garrett

Gwen Redman and Donzel Garrett (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek, Sarah McMeans

Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek, Sarah McMeans (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta

Sarah McMeans and Monica Mehta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Rhonda Graff, Joni Hoffman

Rhonda Graff and Joni Hoffman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Maureen Wittels, Gail Stalarow

Maureen Wittels and Gail Stalarow (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Donae Chramosta, Rob Chramosta

Donae and Rob Chramosta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Betty Hrncir, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust, Trish Morille, Tracy Faulkner, Michelle Heinz

(Seated, from left) Betty Hrncir, Tama Lundquist, Tena Faust; (Standing, from left) Trish Morille, Tracy Faulkner, Michelle Heinz (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Rhonda Graff, John Clark, Kelly Litvak

Rhonda Graff talking with panelists John Clark and Kelly Litvak. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Megan Beauchamp, Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta, Patti Michalek, Mary Grace Gray

(Seated, from left) Megan Beauchamp, Sarah McMeans, Monica Mehta; (Standing, from left) Patti Michalek, Mary Grace Gray (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Amy Pierce, Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Susan Boggio, Brittany Zucker

Amy Pierce, Sippi Khurana, Brigitte Kalai, Susan Boggio and Brittany Zucker (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Rania Mankarious, Kelly Litvak, John Clark, Jennifer Hohman

Rania Mankarious introducing panelists Kelly Litvak, John Clark and Jennifer Hohman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

John Clark, Kelly Litvak, Jennifer Hohman, Rob Chamosta, Donae Chramosta, Tammie Anne Johnson

(Seated, from left) panelists John Clark, Kelly Litvak and Jennifer Hohman; (Standing, from left) Rob and Donae Chramosta and Tammie Anne Johnson (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Rhonda Graff, Ellen Cokinos

Rhonda Graff and Ellen Cokinos (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Michael and Joni Hoffman

Michael and Joni Hoffman (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Lindsay Aronstein

Lindsay Aronstein (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Amy Pierce

Amy Pierce chatting with other attendees. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Kelly Litvak

Kelly Litvak, the founder and Executive Director of Childproof America. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

John Clark

John Clark, the founder of Operation Texas Shield and Board Chairman of Anti-Trafficking Alliance. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Megan Beauchamp, Patti Michalek

Megan Beauchamp and Patti Michalek (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Jennifer Hohman

Jennifer Hohman is an advocate working to create awareness regarding prevention, intervention and recovery. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Donae Chramosta

Donae Chramosta (Photo: Dylan Aguilar)   

Seabass

One of the delicious dishes served at Tony's. (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

Buzz and Crime Stoppers team

The Buzz Magazines' and Crime Stoppers team at the luncheon: (from left) Carly Gray, Rania Mankarious, Michael Hoffman, Joni Hoffman, Jordan Magaziner Steinfeld, Paige Hollek, Cabell Wood, Tania Cruz (Photo: Dylan Aguilar) 

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