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 t hat ensure protection of workers from exploitation; strengthening partnerships between law enforcement, government, and non-governmental 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 non-governmental 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.
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