New Human Trafficking Database at USF

Aug 4, 2023

In a significant leap forward, the battle against human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area has witnessed a groundbreaking improvement. Spearheaded by the innovative efforts of the University of South Florida’s (USF) esteemed research team, a new human trafficking database has been developed and is now housed at their St. Petersburg campus.

The newly established database, known as the USF (TiP) Trafficking in Persons Risk to Resilience Lab, holds immense promise in eradicating human trafficking from our own backyard in Tampa Bay. This remarkable achievement not only marks a turning point, but also solidifies USF’s position as one of the pioneering research centers dedicated to combating sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Florida.

Join us as we reveal the fundamental objectives of the TiP Lab, explore its inner workings, and shed light on the chilling reality of human trafficking in Tampa Bay.


USF Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab

The concept of establishing a dedicated research lab focused on combating human trafficking was conceived in 2019 under the leadership of Joan Reid, a criminology professor at USF. Through their diligent efforts, Reid and her colleagues successfully secured a $92,000 grant to establish the USF’s Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab, which stands today as a testament to their commitment.

By harnessing the power of data, this groundbreaking lab has emerged as an indispensable tool for unraveling crucial questions surrounding human trafficking, shedding light on its prevalence and intricate patterns within our state. Consequently, this invaluable resource equips non-profit organizations, legislators, and law enforcement agencies with the necessary means to effectively combat and ultimately eradicate this horrific crime.


How it Works

Founder Joan Reid emphasizes the importance of understanding trends to effectively address problems and maximize resource efficiency, stating, “The more that we can understand the trend, the better we can address the problem, and the more efficient we can be with the resources we have.” This statement underscores the core objective of the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab: to leverage collected anonymized data from across the state to gain insights into the root causes of human trafficking. Through this analysis, researchers and law enforcement can provide the necessary resources for combating this issue.


The TiP Lab operates based on a set of well-defined objectives:
  1. Knowledge Building: By conducting rigorous research, the TiP Lab aims to bridge existing knowledge gaps within the community and drive cutting-edge advancements in preventing and intervening in human trafficking, specifically within the Tampa Bay region. Through a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, the lab seeks to enhance our understanding of this complex problem.
  2. Spreading Knowledge: Collaboration lies at the heart of the TiP Lab’s approach. By fostering interdisciplinary partnerships between fields, such as criminology, victim-centered approaches, social welfare, mental health, and social justice, the lab aims to share effective solutions for combating human trafficking. By embracing diverse perspectives, the TiP Lab can disseminate knowledge that can be applied on multiple fronts, leading to a more comprehensive and impactful response.
  3. Resourcing: The TiP Lab recognizes the immense value of the data it gathers. By harnessing this wealth of information, the lab endeavors to provide critical resources to the Tampa Bay community in its fight against human trafficking. These resources serve to strengthen our collective ability to combat this heinous crime and safeguard our community, ensuring that comprehensive support is available to survivors and effective measures are taken to prevent further exploitation.


The establishment of the USF’s Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab signifies not only the culmination of years of dedication and hard work, but also the provision of a vital platform for addressing the multifaceted issues surrounding human trafficking. By pursuing its objectives of knowledge building, spreading knowledge, and resourcing, the TiP Lab empowers our community to actively combat this horrific crime and work tirelessly towards its ultimate elimination.


Human Trafficking in Tampa Bay

The harrowing truth about human trafficking in the Tampa Bay area exceeds the comprehension of most. With recent revelations brought to light through data, the extent of this heinous crime is nothing short of appalling. Countless innocent lives endure unimaginable suffering and cruelty right within our community’s boundaries. Florida, ranking third in the nation for human trafficking hotline reports, has its epicenter within the Tampa Bay region. Shockingly, our city holds the dubious distinction of being ranked as the worst in the entire United States for human trafficking. It is an urgent and pressing problem that demands our immediate attention.

Bridging Freedom welcomes the arrival of the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) Risk to Resilience Lab at USF. This project is propelled by data and driven by a deep understanding that these statistics represent real individuals—victims who yearn for liberation from their nightmarish existence. The dedicated researchers and law enforcement agencies involved in this initiative are not merely fixated on numbers; they see the faces, hear the stories, and witness the immense human toll firsthand.

The mission of Bridging Freedom goes beyond compiling information, it extends to forging connections between survivors and the crucial resources they require. Every day we strive to reunite victims with their long-lost freedom.


Be a Part of the Change | Bridging Freedom

It is time to acknowledge the gravity of the situation and take decisive action to protect the vulnerable and restore their shattered lives. The fight against human trafficking begins here, within our Tampa Bay metro area community. Join Bridging Freedom in our unwavering commitment to eradicate this insidious crime and ensure that every survivor finds solace, healing, and renewed hope for a brighter future. If you would like to support our efforts, then we encourage you to donate to our non-profit organization online.



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