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Resource Recommendation: Texas Human Trafficking Mapping Project

Welcome to the resource recommendation!

At Redeemed, we want to equip you to be an informed anti-trafficking advocate, and the resource recommendation is our way to guide you to current information on trafficking.

One of the hardest things about fighting trafficking is a lack of research. Statistics are extremely hard to come by because of the nature of the crime–very few instances of trafficking are reported. But we need research to understand the scope of the issue, inform policy and educate advocates. One such research effort is going on right in the heart of our state at the University of Texas at Austin.

Who is doing the research?

The Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault is conducting a project to understand human trafficking across our state. The IDVSA is the only research institute in the country that focuses on interpersonal violence, and through a collaborative effort of the School of Social Work, School of Law, School of Nursing, and The Bureau of Business Research at UT Austin, the Institute works to create a comprehensive understanding of interpersonal violence in our society.

Phase 1 of the Human Trafficking Mapping Project, published in December 2016, is called Human Trafficking By The Numbers. It measures the prevalence and economic impact of trafficking in Texas. It is an important resource for understanding the scope of trafficking in our state and for informing the next steps in policy, research, and survivor services.

How did they conduct research?

The researchers took data of previously measured populations that are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking. At-risk factors considered include homelessness, child abuse, and certain types of labor, like construction work. A factor called a victimization rate was applied to these populations to predict how many people within those populations are likely victims of trafficking.

What were the initial findings?

The study estimates that there are 78, 996 victims of minor and youth sex trafficking victims in Texas. The prevalence of adult sex trafficking was not measured during this phase of the study, but the researchers acknowledge this and plan to take that on during the next phase of the study. They estimate that minor and youth sex trafficking is an annual $6.6 billion industry in Texas alone.

The study also estimates that there are 234,457 labor trafficking victims across the state, being forced to work in construction, restaurants, cleaning services, and agriculture. Labor trafficking is an estimated $600 million industry in Texas.

What’s next?

The researchers call these conservative estimates, and recognize there are many types of trafficking that are overlooked in this initial phase of the study. Phase 2, which is underway now, will expand the measure of prevalence and economic impact as well as to deepen our understanding of the social impact trafficking has on the lives of individuals who have been exploited, specifically in domestic minor sex trafficking.

More questions?

Do you have more questions about this study and about the efforts of the project? Take a look at the study and keep up with what the IDVSA is doing next!

Want more resources?

Check out our resources page and the last resource recommendation on our blog!

Author: Kelly Coles

Kelly is a student at the University of Texas studying Journalism and Sociology, graduating in May 2018. She hopes to use her education to fight human trafficking through research and storytelling. Kelly is the Summer 2017 Media Intern for Redeemed.

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