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WSAT Identifies The Missing P

As a follow up to the recap of the June 12th special event blog, the goal of this brief is to dive a little deeper into the framework of the 4 Ps, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, and Partnerships. This commentary respectfully challenges the paradigm in its current form, as it does not directly include survivors’ voices.


While “survivors” and “victims” are mentioned in the paradigm, it is posited that the model does not “provide for the transformative role of the lived experience expert to the anti-trafficking movement.” (Quote by Angela Clark, June 2023). For this reason, a 5th P, Persons with lived experience, must be added to current 3 & 4 P models.


As member Melissa Jefferson observed, "The people that are and have experienced trafficking is why many of our member organizations even exist."


The 4 Ps, as described in the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s Action Plan 2.0, have been used across government and organizational platforms for more than a decade. In recent years, the lived experience voice and participation has increased such that it makes sense to articulate the vital contributions survivors make every day to impact Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Partnership.


Prevention measures increase awareness, advocacy, and education towards addressing a community’s systemic vulnerability to a continuum of exploitation including human trafficking. Prevention plans recognize that exploitation and human trafficking are symptoms of root causes like poverty, gender inequality, and other forms of oppression which create vulnerable populations in the first place.


Protection measures ensure that survivors of human trafficking are provided access to (at a minimum) health care, legal aid, social services, and education in ways that are not prejudicial against victims’ rights, dignity, or psychological well-being. Protection also means creating an environment (social, political, and legal) that fosters the protection of victims of trafficking.


Prosecution measures ensure the creation and implementation of laws that address the continuum of labor exploitation and the pursuit of criminal punishment for such cases, treating human trafficking as exploitation of victims rather that recruitment/transportation of workers or people in prostitution. This includes not just criminal prosecution, but law enforcement officers and the creation of legislation.


Partnership measures acknowledge that combating human trafficking requires a comprehensive response through the cooperation of multiple sectors. Partnerships bring together diverse experiences, amplify messages, and leverage resources. An anti-human trafficking partnership refers to a cooperative relationship between two or more organizations established for the purpose of jointly combating human trafficking in some way (LCHT, 2013, p. 8).


Let us be inclusive when languaging the proposed 5th P. Let’s start by ASKING survivors questions and LISTENING deeply to their responses: What has worked regarding the response to human trafficking? What needs have been met, what is missing? Let us call on all agencies and sectors to include survivors in direct service provision and meaningful leadership roles in a manner that does not exploit but respects their voice and lived experience.


Stay tuned as the next blog will include input from survivors as to how they would like to themselves reflected in the 5th P. The disability movement said it well, "Nothing about us without us."



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