From the report:
The modern anti-trafficking movement commenced in earnest with the adoption of the Palermo Protocol in 2000, and since then has grown substantially. Governments have made progress and continue to work to pass and implement legislation criminalizing all forms of human trafficking, collaborate with civil society and human trafficking survivors to strengthen victim protections at the policy and grassroots levels, and take prevention measures and raise public awareness about the dangers and indicators of modern slavery.
While this progress is encouraging, traffickers around the world continue to exploit millions of victims in forced labor and sex trafficking. This multi-billion dollar industry destroys families and communities, weakens the rule of law, strengthens criminal networks, and offends universal concepts of human decency.
Although support from civil society and international organizations has led to more holistic and effective anti-trafficking solutions, governments bear primary responsibility for addressing human trafficking. That is why the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report annually measures government efforts across the 3P paradigm of prosecuting traffickers, protecting victims, and preventing the crime.
In the last five years, the Introduction to this Report has examined the protection and prevention elements of this paradigm to enhance understanding of the crime and highlight global trends and achievements in combating it. For instance, the Report has explained the importance of using a victim-centered approach to identify and protect victims, and also to effectively prosecute trafficking cases. It has taken a hard look at the journey from victim to survivor and at the support survivors need to reclaim their lives. And it has profiled a wide range of effective strategies to prevent human trafficking, including by examining vulnerabilities in global supply chains.
This year’s Introduction focuses on prosecution efforts—the distinct responsibility governments bear under the Palermo Protocol to criminalize human trafficking in all its forms and to prosecute and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.
Human trafficking is not analogous to migrant smuggling (a crime against a state by which an individual voluntarily enters into an agreement with another party to gain illegal entry into a foreign country) or employment-related wage and hour abuses (administrative violations of labor law). Under the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), an effective criminal justice response to human trafficking should treat the prosecution of cases as seriously as other grave crimes, such as kidnapping or rape, and impose consequences that are severe enough to be a deterrent.