Combating Modern Slavery: The '3P' Paradigm of Prevention, Victim Protection, and Prosecution

Posted by Kari Johnstone
January 13, 2015
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2015

Today, millions of men, women, and children are victims of human trafficking. Modern slavery can take many forms.  Children are made to be soldiers, young women and teens are beaten and forced into prostitution, and migrants are exploited and compelled to work for little or no pay.  Human trafficking is a crime that tears at our social fabric and debases our common humanity.

Modern slavery occurs in countries throughout the world -- and in communities across the United States.  To raise awareness of this issue in our country, President Obama proclaimed January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, culminating in the annual celebration of National Freedom Day on February 1.

We have come a long way in the past 15 years: 166 states are now party to the Palermo Protocol, which introduced a comprehensive approach to combating modern slavery through the“3P” paradigm of prevention, victim protection, and prosecution.  More than one hundred countries have passed anti-trafficking laws, and many have established specialized law enforcement units, set up trafficking victim assistance mechanisms, and launched public awareness campaigns aimed at combating this crime. But we still face many hurdles and have a considerable way to go before human trafficking is eradicated around the world.

We know that this crime affects every country in the world.  It is estimated that more than 20 million people are victims of human trafficking, generating $150 billion in illegal profits per year.  The United States is not exempt and we are the first to acknowledge that all governments, including our own, must do more.  The State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office is working collaboratively with governments around the world to understand and address the evolving nature of this crime, which demands a universal respect for human rights, as well as strong rule of law and stable democratic institutions.  Partnerships with civil society and survivors of human trafficking are key not only to preventing political crises, but also to enabling States to act quickly and efficiently.  We have seen that human trafficking is a clear national security threat as the world witnessed ISIL’s horrific enslavement of Yezidi women and girls in Iraq and Syria, and the kidnapping of women and young girls by Boko Haram from Chibok, Borno State.  Both ISIL and Boko Haram have proudly professed practicing slavery, justifying their actions with a perverse interpretation of Islam.

As we fight to end modern slavery, we echo what President Obama said, “we stand with the survivors, advocates, and organizations dedicated to building a world where our people and our children are not for sale. Together, let us recommit to a society where our sense of justice tells us that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, where every person can forge a life equal to their talents and worthy of their dreams.”

Today, every person can take action to help eliminate human trafficking.  You can begin by learning about this issue.  Watch Under Secretary Sarah Sewall and read our list of 20 ways you can help fight trafficking

At home and around the globe, we must continue to fight against human trafficking. 

About the Author: Kari Johnstone serves as the Acting Director in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

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Florida, USA
January 13, 2015
Dear God go forth and end this inhumane slavery especially on innocent children. Those who harm them God let them know they should have a millstone wrapped around their necks and thrown deep to the bottom of the sea.
Kathleen H.
California, USA
January 13, 2015


I have a question about modern day slavery, and the forms that it may come in. Is it possible for individuals (For example: students, people searching for work, victims of domestic violence...)to be targeted by hackers (an individual's abuser, or gang members) that are trying to intercept their daily activities on line?

Kristin G.
January 14, 2015
I find it extremely disappointing that Ms Johnstone doesn't even mention child sex slavery, possibly the most commonly occurring form of slavery in the US and Western countries, and largely invisible. I could only find a paragraph on it on the Department's website ( at the bottom of the page, whilst the top of the page under Sex Trafficking: "When an adult is coerced, forced, or deceived into prostitution – or maintained in prostitution through coercion – that person is a victim of trafficking" suggests that only adults are victims of sex trafficking. With such a high profile denial of its very existence it is likely to continue unabated. Also the parental child abduction page is not found (404). Yours truly, Kristin GIllespie
Cary L.
District Of Columbia, USA
January 16, 2015
The human trafficking, modern slavery, and sexual violence issues can be resolved over time with more awareness and government support-- Most definitely will there be more of both once federal and local laws for traffickers and sex offenders are together. --Cary Lee Peterson, LL.D., President UNWHT
gianluca p.
January 27, 2015
Info contrctors


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