- Melissa Torres, Ph.D., MSW
This project addresses questions regarding the prevalence, economic impact and understanding of sex trafficking taking place in the state of Texas.
Criminal justice responses to human trafficking have been hampered by the lack of information to identify and investigate this complex but widespread crime. Law enforcement has identified the need for specific techniques and resources to investigate human trafficking cases, including trained investigators and new technology and social service provides need more information about how to respond to victims.
The purpose of this study is to provide empirically-grounded data about the extent of sex trafficking in Texas and it will consist of three major components: environmental scan, economic analysis, and a slavery footprint. Both primary and secondary data will be collected for these analyses. The project will take place over a period of 2 years.
The results of this project will provide evidence to lawmakers to increase their ability to inform policy as well as enhance interventions being implemented by the criminal justice system as well as provide a landscape of the issue at the state level for service providers and law enforcement.