ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A comprehensive map of human trafficking in the St. Louis region is being created by local universities to help law enforcement.

St. Louis is among the top 20 human trafficking jurisdictions in the country, according to the Department of Justice.

A group of researchers from the University of Missouri-Columbia and Washington University in St. Louis are working to create a comprehensive map to better equip law enforcement and social service agencies to know where the human trafficking is occurring.

Washington University psychiatry professor Rumi Price says resource providers and law enforcement are relying on instinct and experience to find victims because there isn’t much hard data available.

“For example, we found that places closer to airports is what we call a ‘hot spot’ in part because there are hotels and motels,” Price says.

They are using some data from human trafficking cases prosecuted by the federal government, but she says they know those numbers are only the tip of the iceberg.

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