KATY, Texas — A Katy woman is on a mission to raise awareness about human trafficking after what she said happened to her on a recent trip to the nation's capital. Courtney Litvak and her mother Kelly recently returned from a trip to the White House, where they met Ivanka Trump.
"I was not there just on my behalf but to represent every person who has been impacted by this," Courtney said. "I finally let it sink in when I was walking towards Ivanka to meet with her."
It seemed surreal after everything this family says they survived.
"It began a couple of years ago when I had my first meeting with Congressman Michael McCaul and sat down with him when Courtney was still missing," Kelly said.
Courtney grew up in Katy and said she had a normal life. She claims classmates introduced her to traffickers, who told her to wait until after her 18th birthday to leave home.
"It escalated to traveling across the world and to be viewed and treated as property and I allowed that, I believed that was what I was worth. I had come so far from the values I was raised on," she said.
But after two years, Courtney decided it was time to come home.
"People are not supposed to own people, if someone is promising you they can fix anything and do anything for you – that is too good to be true," she said.
McCaul remembered her story and arranged the White House meeting. The mother and daughter got to share the work of the non-profit they founded on a national stage.
"My goal is that every family across this country would say I know what this is, human trafficking ... I know how to protect my kids," Kelly said.
The family said they want to see trafficking prevention training in schools because that's where it started for them.
“Sadly, Courtney’s story is not the only one in our community. At any given time, nearly 80,000 minors are being trafficked in Texas,” McCaul said. “I am thankful that Courtney’s story ended in hope, for many this is not the case.”
The White House released the following statement:
“It was incredibly humbling to meet with Courtney and Kelly Litvak today. The scourge of human trafficking does not start at the waters’ edge, it’s affecting people in our own neighborhoods and throughout the United States. This administration is deeply committed to ensuring that Courtney’s experience will never be repeated.”
You can read more about the resources provided by Childproof America, the organization the Litvak's started, by clicking here.