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From the report:

The global anti-trafficking movement, now well into its second decade, has successfully used the 3P paradigm of prosecution, protection, and prevention to strengthen how the world combats trafficking in persons. Governments committed to enhancing prosecution of traffickers have enacted laws that criminalize all forms of human trafficking and prescribe sufficiently stringent sentences. Protection efforts have empowered individuals to move beyond their victimization and rebuild their lives with dignity, security, and respect. Prevention measures have provided communities around the world with valuable information about the risks of human trafficking, elevating public consciousness about this crime.

Yet so much work remains. Despite sustained anti-trafficking efforts, millions of individuals are bound by mental, physical, and financial coercion and manipulation by traffickers who exploit their vulnerabilities for profit. Whether they are victims of sex or labor trafficking, the suffering of these individuals is unconscionable. Meanwhile, the broader effects of human trafficking on society must also be addressed—from the splintering of families and communities and the distortion of global markets, to the weakening of the rule of law and strengthening of transnational organized criminal networks.

While continued efforts in protection and prosecution are essential, human trafficking prevention strategies deserve commensurate attention and resources. Governments must work in partnership with NGOs, survivors, community and religious leaders, and the private sector to study vulnerable populations and develop targeted strategies to prevent and address the factors that drive modern slavery in their communities. Without prevention, governments are left to respond to the consequences of human trafficking without coming any nearer to seeing its end.

Effective prevention efforts address the tactics of human traffickers head on. With the dissemination of accurate and targeted information, communities will be better prepared to respond to the threat of human trafficking. Strategic intervention programs can reach at-risk populations before they are faced with deceitful recruitment practices of those bent on exploiting them for labor or commercial sex. Meaningful partnerships between public and private sectors and civil society can expand awareness, leverage expertise, and facilitate creative solutions.

Over time, new prevention measures and methods will emerge and evolve as governments and anti-trafficking stakeholders apply experience and share lessons learned. Although often the hardest to measure, prevention efforts can become more sophisticated, scalable, and effective if supported by sufficient resources and political will.

This year’s Trafficking in Persons Report focuses on the positive developments and continued challenges of preventing trafficking, and it considers how governments and the broader anti-trafficking community can effectively ensure that those who are vulnerable to human trafficking have the tools and opportunities to avert the risks of exploitation.

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