The Story

Big things can come from modest beginnings – our history shows it.

As a student at Creighton University, our founder and CEO Crysta Price joined an experimental research laboratory led by Dr. Terry D. Clark, Dr. John N. Mordeson, and the late Dr. Mark J. Wierman that brought together mathematics, computer science, and international political theory. Working under Clark (who is now our COO), she led a team that created a theoretical model of international trafficking flows. Over time (and more years of school), the project evolved to deal with the near-complete lack of data on domestic trafficking. Crysta ultimately arrived at a novel approach using online advertisements, data science and network analysis to identify potential trafficking networks within the industry. When Crysta’s brother, Matt Price (who is now our CTO), joined the effort as the lead programmer, the idea became a reality. Thus, the Human Trafficking Initiative at Creighton University was born.

Over the years, thanks to the support of the Women’s Fund of Omaha and the Sherwood Foundation, the research initiative became more and more integrated with anti-trafficking efforts across the community. At the same time, the intersection between domestic and sexual violence, on the one hand, and human trafficking became increasingly apparent.

As HTI evolved beyond just basic academic research to help fill gaps with community partners, the team realized that it could better meet its partners needs by expanding to form an autonomous entity, and HTI Labs was born. The academic work continues to function through the Human Trafficking Initiative at Creighton University. Today, HTI provides research, policy, and investigative support to law enforcement, service providers and policymakers.

Our goals are to provide reliable data and research on the prevalence and causes of trafficking, intimate partner violence, and sexual assault, and to identify and evaluate holistic strategies to countering the problems. While our work involves issues beyond just human trafficking, we call ourselves HTI Labs to honor our roots and to connect us to the important work that we continue to lead at Creighton through the Human Trafficking Initiative.