TEXAS - A study released by the University of Texas at Austin estimates that there are more than 300,000 human trafficking victims in the state.
Of those 300,000 victims, 79,000 are minors and youth victims, the study found. The study also revealed that about 234,000 Texas workers are victims of labor trafficking.
Conducted by the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at UT's School of Social Work along with other collaborators, researchers launched the study in 2014 "with the goal of quantifying the prevalence and economic impact of human trafficking across the state."
Due to existing data sets, which the school said focus almost exclusively on identified victims, current data on human trafficking in the state only sheds light on a fraction of the problem. The leader of the study, IDVSA director Noel Busch-Armendariz, said that few states have data of this scope.
"And more importantly, each count reflects a human being living among us in slavery-like conditions. Our findings certainly give us all a call to action," Busch-Armendariz said.
Human trafficking also poses detrimental economic impacts for the state, according to the study.
An estimated $6.5 billion is spent on the lifetime costs of providing care to victims and survivors of minor and youth sex trafficking in Texas, including costs related to law enforcement, prosecution and social services, the school said.
Traffickers exploit about $600 million per year from victims of labor trafficking in Texas. Some of the most at-risk industries for labor trafficking include migrant farm work, construction, kitchen work in restaurants and landscaping services, the study found.
Take a look at the complete study on the school's website here.
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