Gary Haugen

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This article is about the human rights advocate. For information on convicted murderer, Gary Haugen, see List of United States death row inmates (Oregon).

Gary Haugen receiving the Trafficking in Persons Report Hero Award from Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2012

Gary Haugen serves as President and CEO of International Justice Mission, an international human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression worldwide.


Haugen received a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University, magna cum laude, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago, cum laude, where he was the Ford Foundation Scholar in International Law and a Tony Patino Fellow. While a law student, Haugen also served as the visiting scholar in politics at the University of Adelaide in Australia.

Career before International Justice Mission[edit]

In the mid-1980s, Haugen served on the executive committee of the National Initiative for Reconciliation in South Africa. Chaired by then-Bishop Desmond Tutu and Michael Cassidy of African Enterprise, the NIR consisted of Christian leaders proactively devoted to political reform and racial reconciliation.

Upon his departure from South Africa, Haugen began work for the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, based in New York. In the late 1980s, Haugen conducted a structural examination of the Philippine government's prosecution of human rights abuses committed by its military and police. Haugen investigated multiple murders and other violent abuses by the Philippine military and police, and participated in the exhumations of victims and the provision of protection services for witnesses. In analysis of his investigations, Haugen authored a book published by the Lawyers Committee entitled Impunity: Human Rights Prosecutions in the Philippines.

After working with the Lawyers Committee, Haugen began a career with the United States Department of Justice. In 1994, Haugen was put on loan from the Department of Justice to the United Nation's Center for Human Rights to serve as Officer In Charge of its genocide investigation in Rwanda. In this capacity, Haugen directed an international team of lawyers in the gathering of evidence against the perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide. Haugen developed the investigative strategy, protocols and field methodology for gathering eye-witness testimony and physical evidence from nearly 100 mass grave and massacre sites across Rwanda. Haugen personally conducted and directed field investigations at various sites.

Until April 1997, when he left the Department of Justice to found International Justice Mission, Haugen worked as a senior trial attorney with the Police Misconduct Task Force of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. When Congress granted the Attorney General new authority to pursue enforcement action against police departments with patterns or practices of misconduct, Haugen was selected to serve on a small task force with national enforcement authority.

Haugen currently serves on the Human Rights Executive Directors Working Group and on the Board of the Overseers of the Berkeley Journal of International Law.

International Justice Mission[edit]

In 1997, inspired by the findings of an extensive study he undertook to document the injustices witnessed by overseas development and relief missionaries and workers, Haugen founded International Justice Mission. The study, surveying more than 65 organizations and representing 40,000 overseas workers, uncovered a nearly unanimous awareness of abuses of power by police and other authorities in the communities such workers served. By launching IJM, Haugen hoped to provide legal aid and advocacy for these victims of oppression.

International Justice Mission takes on individual cases of human rights abuse around the world and uses investigative, legal and social work expertise to rescue and provide care for the victims, bring the perpetrators to account and seek structural prevention of future abuses. In Haugen’s words, over the years the organization has seen many “widows given back their rightful land, men who choose to rape or traffic children put in jail and entire families freed from slavery.”

Haugen currently serves as President and CEO of International Justice Mission, which now employs more than 250 individuals on five continents. In 2007, Haugen was awarded the 2007 Wilberforce Forum Award. Presented by Prison Fellowship and The Wilberforce Forum, the annual award recognizes an individual who has made a difference in the face of formidable societal problems and injustices.

Christian Faith[edit]

Haugen is an engaged Christian. Since founding International Justice Mission in 1997, he has described witnessing a "sea change" within the "Christian community that was [once] largely disengaged from the struggle for justice in the world," but now views care for victims of injustice as a significant issue in faith.[1]

Media / Public Appearances[edit]

Haugen has spoken at numerous venues around the world including Harvard University, Yale Law School, Berkeley School of Law and Stanford University. In February 2002, Haugen hosted a policy briefing on international sex trafficking with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in conjunction with the events of the Reebok Human Rights Award. In November 2005, Haugen moderated a panel on human trafficking between Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Hillary Clinton (D-NY.) Haugen and the work of IJM have been featured by “Dateline NBC,”[2]The Oprah Winfrey Show,”[2] [3] NPR,[4] 60 Minutes II, The Today Show, Dateline NBC, NBC Nightly News, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, BBC World News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine,[5] Need Magazine,[6] Christianity Today,[7] The New Yorker,[8] and in the New York Times Magazine.[9] and Haguen was also featured in Harvard Magazine[10] and in the University of Chicago School of Law's magazine, "From The Record."[11] Haugen has authored numerous articles on foreign affairs, international law and human rights.

In 2013, Gary made an appearance at the Passion 2013 Conference.

Books by Gary Haugen[edit]

In 2014, Haugen and co-author Victor Boutros published "The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence" (2014, ISBN 0-1999-3787-7).

Previous works include: