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Melissa Woodward-Emerson

Melissa received her bachelors in Criminal Justice and her MBA in Marketing from Rice University. She is the Founder and CEO of Southern Lawyers SEO, a legal marketing company. Melissa is happily married to Lon and has three grown children and two grandsons, and they reside in Houston, TX. 

Board Member

Melissa Woodward began her role as an abolitionist in 2007 working alongside nonprofits to Abolish Human Trafficking in America. From 2010 until 2014 Melissa was the Execute Director at For the Sake of One, whose mission was to prevent, rescue and heal child victimized by human sex trafficking.

Policy Reform: In her policy reform efforts Melissa has worked with Former Texas Governor Rick Perry and Texas Governor Greg Abbott with the Sexual Assault Survivor Task Force. On a Federal level Melissa has worked closely with United States Congressman Van Taylor and United States Senator John Cornyn who shared Melissa story on the Senate floor. In addition, Melissa had the distinct privilege of working with President Barrack Obama and US Senate to create January 11th National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.

Education: Melissa served on the medical committee in charge of writing the Child Sexual Assault Program (CSAP) procedure for doctors conducting examinations under Dr. Nancy Kellogg and Dr. Jordan Greenbaum. She also worked alongside the North Texas Anti Task Trafficking Force, training law enforcement. ICE, FBI agents, and Homeland Security officers on handling trafficking victims. Melissa has published several articles on CSAP throughout the Nation.

Professional Life: Melissa has rescued and or assisted in over 300 missing and child exploitation cases. She is a public speaker who shares her personal journey on national and local Television, radio, churches, and universities. She is the former spokeswoman for the National Children’s Identification Program in con Spokeswoman for the National Children’s Identification Program in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and American Football Coaches Association. ​


  1. Recognized by Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry and United States Congress for her commitment in combating human trafficking in America,

  2. National Ruby Award

  3. First recipient to receive the Courageous Award from the Trafficking in America Task Force Committee 2012.

  4. Advocate Award from Dallas County Childs Advocacy Center.

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