Florida State Attorney Amira Fox recently launched Human Trafficking Counts as a project to address data gaps around human trafficking in the Southwestern region of the state. At relink.org, we always seek to inform and foster collaboration, so when a friend told us about this initiative we thought it would be beneficial to share with Ohio!

According to their literature, HT Counts “is a joint research project between state and local agencies, organizations, and Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s) that provides insight into the crime of human trafficking.” As is the case in many communities, State Attorney Fox saw that the existing data around human trafficking primarily came from two sources, police reports and court records and these reports do not provide a full picture of the problem. This limited reporting leads to a lack of resources and efforts for solutions. news.wgcu.org

With the motto, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”, the goals of HT Counts are to:

– Identify local trends in Human Trafficking Data.

– Provide useful data to agency partners, so they can design effective service programs.

– Deliver meaningful statistics to assist in grant requests.

Some key factors HT Counts takes into consideration are Collaboration, Privacy and Security, and the Data.

Collaboration

HT Counts understands “the importance of protecting the privacy of survivors. The Database collects non-identifying, aggregated data, and is stored on a secured server, not the ‘cloud’.”- HT Counts Brochure

Privacy & Security

HT Counts understands “the importance of protecting the privacy of survivors. The Database collects non-identifying, aggregated data, and is stored on a secured server, not the ‘cloud’.”- HT Counts Brochure

The Data

This initiative “relies on data from those who provide services to victims within their jurisdiction”news.wgcu.org. The database “goes beyond the usual demographic statistics and looks at specific fields like mental illness, medical disabilities, high-risk characteristics, and services received.” They are “also looking at where and how victims are trafficked, who trafficked them, how long they are investigated, if the traffickers were charged, and if they were persecuted” -HT Counts Brochure

At relink.org, we know that data can change lives and inform decisions. We have seen a huge push for data sharing around the state in the area of addiction to better address the Opioid Epidemic, so it is no surprise that a group is seeking to pull together data to help those suffering from Human Trafficking.

Ohio and Florida are very far from each other and both have their unique challenges, however Human Trafficking is a global problem and it is important for us to come together and learn from the work of others. The HT Counts project is still in its early phases. State Attorney Fox “wants to finely tune the Human Trafficking Counts project in Southwest Florida before presenting it to other districts” news.wgcu.org.

To learn more about this project you can reach out to ASA Francine Donnorummo, SVU Chief or Amanda Krause, Specialty Courts.

If you would like to, or have already started something similar in an area of Ohio, please tell us about it so we can share your efforts!