The “3P” paradigm – prevention, protection, and prosecution – continues to serve as the fundamental international framework used by the United States and the world to combat contemporary forms of slavery. The U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons employs diplomatic, economic, political, legal, and cultural tools to advance the “3P” paradigm worldwide. Announced by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2009, the “fourth P”– partnership – serves as a pathway to progress in the effort against modern slavery. The paradigm is outlined in the United Nation’s (UN) trafficking in persons protocol and the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Prevention efforts are a key component of the global movement to monitor and combat human trafficking. Prevention activities come in many forms.
Historically, efforts focused on public awareness campaigns that inform and educate communities in source and destination countries about human trafficking so that they can identify victims or specifically warn migrants and other vulnerable populations.
Today, prevention encapsulates cross-cutting endeavors that include: rectifying laws that omit classes of workers from labor law protection; providing robust labor enforcement, particularly in key sectors where trafficking is most typically found; implementing measures that address significant vulnerabilities such as birth registrations and identification; carefully constructing labor recruitment programs that ensure protection of workers from exploitation; strengthening partnerships between law enforcement, government, and nongovernmental organizations to collaborate, coordinate, and communicate more effectively; emphasizing effective policy implementation with stronger enforcement, better reporting, and government-endorsed business standards; and tackling this global crime at its root causes by monitoring product supply chains and reducing demand for commercial sex.
The Office seeks to implement promising practices in prevention by partnering with and funding the efforts of nongovernmental organizations’ (NGOs) around the world.
In addition, the Office works to prevent incidences of human trafficking through the diagnostic analysis of its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. As mandated by the minimum standards of the TVPA, the Report assesses prevention policies and efforts of countries around the world.
The effort to prevent human trafficking is closely intertwined with protection and prosecution measures. Effective law enforcement and protection practices are essential to ensuring stronger prevention policies, which can deter the occurrence of human trafficking.
Protection is key to the victim-centered approach pursued by the United States and the international community in efforts to combat modern slavery. Key victim protection efforts include the “three Rs” – rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
Prioritizing the rights and needs of victims provides a roadmap that goes beyond the initial rescue, restores survivors’ dignity, and provides an opportunity for productive lives. The Office’s International Programs section works to build the capacity of governments and NGOs to enhance victim protection in scores of countries worldwide.
Victim identification measures are integral in implementing the victim-centered approach. Proactively identifying victims and training first responders are of paramount importance to a country’s ability to tackle this grave human rights abuse.
Under the TVPA, governments have a responsibility to enable identified trafficking victims to remain in the country, work, and obtain services without fear of detention or deportation for lack of legal status or crimes that the trafficker made them commit.
In addition, governments should not subject victims to impediments to obtaining proof of citizenship or to immigration relief. Safeguards should be put in place to ensure the protection of survivors, as well as their family members who may be in harm’s way.
Protecting victims translates into effective partnerships between law enforcement and service providers, not only immediately after rescue but also as they work together to facilitate participation in criminal justice and civil proceedings.
Rehabilitation efforts help provide emergency assistance and services; effective placement in stable, long-term situations; and access to educational, vocational and economic opportunities for survivors of modern slavery. Reintegration efforts include voluntary repatriation for trafficking victims and assistance in their home communities.
The prosecution of traffickers is the third element of the “3P” paradigm by which the world pursues this shadowy crime. The TIP Report assesses individual countries’ efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders, as per the TVPA’s minimum standards.
In assessing governments’ anti-trafficking efforts, the Department of State holds that, consistent with the 2000 UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, criminal penalties to meet this standard should include a maximum of at least four years’ deprivation of liberty, or a more severe penalty. The Department holds that imposed sentences should involve significant jail time, with a majority of cases resulting in sentences on the order of one year of imprisonment or more. Sentences should take into account the severity of an individual’s involvement in trafficking, imposed sentences for other grave crimes, and the judiciary’s right to hand down punishments consistent with that country’s laws.
The Office works with its interagency partners within the U.S. government as well as law enforcement and NGO partners from around the world to uphold the protocol and implement global prosecution standards to ensure that justice is served.