Ann Johnson is a nationally recognized expert in Human Trafficking providing testimony before the United States Congress, training to Local, State and Federal Law Enforcement officers and the Judiciary.  

The Center for Court Innovation recently interviewed Ann about innovative solutions, such as SAFE Court, and her work in Harris County on behalf of the District Attorney's Office and Human Trafficking victims.

 Ann's mom, Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, is also an artist and drew the hands.  They symbolize the beginning and future help clients need to succeed.  

Ann's mom, Hon. Carolyn Marks Johnson, is also an artist and drew the hands.  They symbolize the beginning and future help clients need to succeed.  

An article about Ann returned to the District Attorney's Office  in 2013.

Watch the above video of one of Ann's early presentations about Texas Law and prostitution policies back in 2012.

Ann's expertise began when fortuitous moments led her to the representation of children charged with the offense of prostitution in Harris County.  The most legally significant of those cases resulted in the landmark decision of In re B.W., in which the Texas Supreme Court reversed the Harris County Districts Attorney's prosecution of a 13-year-old child for prostitution and created a framework for protecting child victims of exploitation and human trafficking.   

Following this important ruling, Ann participated as a founder member of GIRLS (Growing Independence and Restoring Lives) Court established by Harris County Judge Mike Schneider and Judge Angela Ellis.  The new program, established in July 2011, sought to better identify and  assist at-risk victims of human trafficking within the juvenile system by providing appropriate services.  

Ann continued her work advocating on behalf of victims and policies.  Ann was asked to return to work for Harris County District Attorney Mike Anderson as a Human Trafficking Specialist .     Ann continued this work under his successor District Attorney Devon Anderson.  During those years, the specialty grew into a Section with five prosecutors, an investigator and paralegal, resulting in a paradigm shift in significantly increased victim identification and increased prosecution of exploiters; pimps and johns.

Below is a chart of progress made: 

                                                                                                                           HCDA updated numbers for materials previously published.

                                                                                                                          HCDA updated numbers for materials previously published.

During these years, it was found many prior victims were caught in the criminal justice system at an early age.  Ann applied for and received, on behalf of the Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson, a Department of Justice Smart Prosecution Grant to help Harris County develop SAFE (Survivors Acquiring Freedom and Empowerment) Court.  The Hon. Judge Pam Derbyshire presides over the court and program.   

Ann continues this work in private practice.

Ann knows the challenge, and is happy to consult or assist other jurisdictions working to develop a plan to combat prostitution and human trafficking.  

Ann is an active member of The Texas Children's Justice Act Task Force.

Ann is a member of the American Leadership Forum, Criminal Justice Class 2.   

Human Trafficking Related Lectures and Presentations

  • Technology Related Crimes Against Children Conference, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Panelist, Houston Children's Assessment Center, December 2016
  • Human Trafficking Awareness and How to Better Identify Sexual Exploitation Victims, Reintegration Court Training, Houston, October 2016
  • Evidence-Based Strategies For Prosecutors: Prostitution Diversion Program (SAFE Court) Harris County District Attorney's Office Houston, Texas. Bureau of Justice Assistance, Smart Suite Summit, Arlington, Virginia, September 2016   
  • Traffickers/Victims and the Courtroom - What Can Judges/Attorneys Do?, Panelist, South Carolina Human Trafficking Summit, August 2016
  • How Texas Treats Victims of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, Texas Judicial Conference, Houston, May 2016 
  • Coalition Build in Houston, Panelist, Truckers Against Trafficking, March 2016
  • How to Prosecute Human Traffickers and Ethical Considerations, 6th Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference, January 2016
  • Innovative Strategies to Address Human Trafficking by Courts and Communities: Trial Courts, Task Forces and Law Enforcement, Moderator, National Summit on Human Trafficking and the State Courts, New York, October 2015
  • Texas Law and Investigative Tools, Human Trafficking Training, Houston Police Department, September 2015
  • Human Trafficking and Prosecution Overview, Human Trafficking Training for Law Enforcement and Prosecutors, Harris County District Attorney's Office, June 2015
  • Human Trafficking, State and Federal Presentation, 120th County and District Clerks Association of Texas Conference, Houston, June 2015
  • Human Trafficking and How Texas Treats Victims of Sexual Exploitation, Texas Child Welfare Judges Conference, Texas Center for the Judiciary, Austin, June 2015
  • Free The Captives, 5th Annual Houston Human Trafficking Conference , Speaker, February  2015
  • How the Court Assist Victims, Understanding The Invisible Chains of Human Trafficking, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, October 2014
  • Human Trafficking Law Symposium, Speaker, Free The Captives Houston, October 2013
  • Human Trafficking, Panelist, Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference, Washington DC, September 2013 
  • State and Local Judiciary and Legislative Effects on the Scope of Human Trafficking, Domestic Juvenile Human Trafficking Round Table Discussion, Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance, Southern District of Texas, March 2013
  • How Texas Treats Victims of Sexual Exploitation: The Texas Family and Penal Code, American Bar Association, February 2013
  • In re B.W.; Juveniles and Human Trafficking; Ethical Considerations at 2nd Annual Juvenile Law Conference, Houston Bar Association, September 2011. 
  • How Texas Treats Victims of Sexual Exploitation: The Texas Family and Penal Code, 24th Annual Juvenile Law Conference, February 2011
  • How Texas Treats Victims of Sexual Exploitation: The Texas Family and Penal Code before The Texas Center for the Judiciary, June 2011
  • Sen. Leticia Van De Putte - San Antonio Human Trafficking Summit, Panelist, October 2010
  • The Legal Conflicts Inherent in Serving Human Trafficking Victims at Vinson & Elkins LLP, Children at Risk, October 2010