International Justice Mission works to bring justice to the poor, who otherwise have no voice. IJM’s founder, Gary Haugen, was a human rights attorney working for the U.S. Department of Justice when the United Nations asked him to lead its investigation of the horrific genocide that had engulfed the small African nation of Rwanda. Compelled by the urgent needs his team saw and inspired by their faith, Haugen and a small team envisioned a new kind of human rights organization: a group that would leverage the skills of criminal justice professionals to protect the poor from violent oppression. IJM is now a global team of nearly 600 lawyers, social workers, investigators, community activists and other professionals working to protect the poor from violence in nearly 20 communities throughout the developing world, with partner offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK. Through the support of a global movement of friends and partners, IJM has collaborated with local authorities to rescue thousands of victims of everyday violence and has put hundreds of violent criminals behind bars.
Each day, we see powerful proof that justice for the poor is possible.
One of IJM’s areas of focus is sex trafficking, whose victims have shockingly reached even the quiet suburbs of Northern Virginia. Worldwide, nearly two million children are enslaved in sex trafficking. Suhana was just 13 when she was sold into a brothel in India. “It would have been better if I had died,” Suhana explains in a story about her being enslaved. “I wished for a miracle … for someone to come and take me out of that dark place.” Suhana was rescued by IJM during a sting operation and brought into IJM’s aftercare program. Devastatingly, she was lured once again back into slavery from a boy who told her he loved her. She was again rescued, against all odds, and found in Mumbai, a city of over 18 million people. Her story sounds like the makings of a Hollywood film, but it’s a true story and unfortunately, one that happens every day to millions of children. You can see a video put together by IJM of Suhana’s story here.
It’s always the poor who are the first to be victimized. It’s very easy to pick on the poor because who is going to come to defend them? What resources do they have to fight back or to protect themselves?
Saju Mathew, IJM’s National Director in India states a hard fact: “It’s always the poor who are the first to be victimized. It’s very easy to pick on the poor because who is going to come to defend them? What resources do they have to fight back or to protect themselves?” In addition to helping millions of innocent children, IJM also seeks to help free the over 30 million people who are being held as modern-day slaves, and to help the 1.5 billion of the world’s poor who live without secure rights to their homes and property. Please learn more about this wonderful organization and how they are helping bring justice to the poor.