Free the Captives: Fighting Human Trafficking in Houston

Join Free the Captives in the fight against human trafficking with our 4th Annual Conference!

WHEN: Saturday, January 25, 2014, 8:30am to 4:00pm

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church
5300 Main Street, Houston, TX 77004

COST: Online registration closed. $30 at the door (checks or cash only)

Registration includes lunch.

At Free the Captives' 4th Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference, you will develop an understanding of the root causes of human trafficking, the severity of the problem and how you can get involved. Our goal is to equip you to make a difference!


Free the Captives'

4th Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference

Speakers' Biographies

Dr. Tomi (TL) Grover, TraffickStop

Tomi Grover, PhD., serves as an educator and abolitionist. She hosts an anti-trafficking initiative called TraffickStop which is designed to educate, advocate, and engage people on the issues of human trafficking through comprehensive and strategic responses.

Tomi is currently involved in several initiatives pertaining to human trafficking. She is a certified instructor for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) and provides advanced human trafficking education for agencies across Texas. She has served the Office of the Attorney General's Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force since January 2010. Additionally, Tomi has written the book "Compelled" to educate the Christian church about why and how they can respond to trafficking.

Tomi holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work and Ministry-Based Evangelism, and a Master of Arts in Christian Education, from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She serves as an adjunct professor for Dallas Baptist University, Howard Payne University, and LeTourneau University. Historically, she had a twelve-year career as a certified tele-communications operator, and received certified as a law enforcement officer after receiving her Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Florida. 

Leigh Kohler

Leigh Kohler lives in Houston with her husband and three kids.  She is a stay-at-home mom who started a bi-monthly prayer meeting in her home in 2011 after learning about the atrocity of human-trafficking.  She now serves on the board of As Our Own, a ministry in India that rescues young vulnerable girls from certain slavery and sexual exploitation.  She is currently working with a team here in Houston to form an alliance of churches and anti-trafficking organizations to bring freedom and healing to women and children in our city trapped in slavery.

Dennis Mark, Redeemed Ministries

Dennis Mark is currently the Chairman and Executive Director of Redeemed Ministries, a faith based non-profit organization formed in 2005 and dedicated to the liberation of those trapped and exploited within the commercial sex industry and/or by human trafficking for sexual exploitation or forced labor. Dennis and his wife Bobbie joined

Redeemed Ministries in 2006 working as field ministers doing outreach to women in the commercial sex industry. Dennis participated in the United Nations – Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UN.GIFT) conference in Vienna, Austria in 2008. He has worked with state legislators on drafting legislation and testified before Senate and House committees in Austin to support new anti-human trafficking legislation. He served as the Chief Investigator for the Not For Sale Campaign and a content instructor at the Not For Sale Investigator Academy and Strategic Mapping Backyard Academy for 2 years. This position had him working with grass-root efforts and law enforcement agencies across the United States, in the Republic of Korea, Canada, Australia and Brazil. He has supervised documentation of human trafficking cases in the U.S. and cases of human trafficking involving child soldiers in Northern Uganda and sex trafficking during the World Cup in South Africa.

Clay Olsen, Fight the New Drug

With a passion for film and an entrepreneurial heart, Clay is the vision behind Fight the New Drug. He is the co-founder and executive director. He can be found touring the country, speaking in assemblies, filming and raving about his favorite restaurant of the day. After living in Argentina, founding four businesses, and establishing a solid career path, Clay forsook all logic, quit his day job and began dedicating all of his time towards Fight the New Drug. His idealistic vision and years of hard work have made Fight the New Drug what it is today.

The goal of Fight the New Drug is to educate teens on the harmful effects of pornography and provide a free-of-cost recovery program for those who are struggling with addiction. We are a fun, creative, passionate, grassroots, youth-driven movement. Our cause is building rapidly and in a short amount of time we have gained national attention from countless radio talk shows as well as television outlets such as ABC Nightline.

Captain Richard W. Ricks, Harris County Sheriff’s Office

Captain Ricks began his thirty-two year career with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in August of 1982. Rick holds a Master Peace Officer certification from the state of Texas and is a TCLEOSE licensed Instructor. Captain Ricks is also a graduate of the Houston Police Department S.W.A.T School, F.B.I. Hostage Negotiator school and is a certified Chemical Agents Instructor.

Captain Ricks has served in numerous assignments including the jail, patrol, and detective bureau where he has been assigned the last fifteen years. Captain Ricks has worked Homicide, Robbery, Burglary and Theft and was Commander of the Internal Affairs Division. Captain Ricks is currently Commander of the Special Investigations Division which includes the Narcotics, Vice, Auto Theft, Human trafficking and Crime Scene Units.

Rick’s most recent accomplishment was attending the 229th session of the prestigious FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia; graduating with 300 law enforcement officials from around the world. For ten weeks, officers take undergraduate and/or graduate college courses in the following areas: Law, Behavioral Science, Forensic Science, Leadership Development, Communication, and Health/Fitness. The officers from different countries share ideas, techniques, and experiences with each other, creating lifelong partnerships that span state and national lines.

Captain Ricks and his wife, Debbie, have been married twenty-seven years and have three daughters, and three grand-children. Captain Ricks and his wife have been members of Spring Baptist Church for twenty-seven years.

Captain Rick’s passion is flying and he obtained his private pilot’s license in 2004. His other hobbies include golfing, fishing, spending time with his family and serving at Spring Baptist church.

Julie Waters, JD, Free the Captives

Julie Waters is the director and founder of Free the Captives, an evangelical anti-human trafficking 501(c)3 non-profit. After practicing family law and child advocacy as an attorney, she brings her legal expertise to human trafficking issues. Julie speaks at both the local and national level on human trafficking and is published academically on this topic. Free the Captives focuses on (1) educating the community about human trafficking, (2) preventing and intervening in the trafficking of at risk teens, (3) reducing the demand created by buyers, and (4) pursuing legal remedies to combat trafficking.  

Julie is a native of Texas and attended Texas A&M University, where she received a BA in Speech Communication. She also graduated from Boston University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Texas and Massachusetts.  Julie is currently working on her Masters of Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.