International Justice Mission

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For the Malaysian company, see IJM Corporation.
International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission Logo 2015.png
Established 1997
President Gary Haugen
Staff EVP and COO: Gary Veurink
Senior Vice President of Justice System Transformation: Sharon Cohn Wu
Executive Vice President of Global Brand Marketing & Mobilization: Chong-Ae Shah
Senior Vice President of Justice Operations: Sean Litton
Budget US$47.95 Million (annually, FY2013)
Location HQ: Washington, DC
18 Field offices: Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, India, Dominican Republic
Partner offices in: Canada, UK, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global organization that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world. IJM lawyers, investigators, and aftercare professionals partner with local authorities to rescue victims of violence, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors, and strengthen justice systems.

IJM works to combat violence including sex trafficking, forced labor slavery, illegal property grabbing, police abuse of power, child sexual assault, and citizenship rights abuse.

IJM has field offices in 18 communities throughout Africa, Latin America, and South and Southeast Asia. Washington, DC headquarters and offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK share in the global mission. IJM employs 600+ full-time staff globally, approximately 95% of whom are nationals of the countries in which they serve.[1]

IJM and its partners sustainably protect people from violence through a unique, multi-year model called Justice System Transformation.[2] The organization’s vision: Rescue thousands. Protect millions. Prove that justice for the poor is possible.

Throughout the developing world, fear of violence is part of everyday life for the poor. It’s as much a part of poverty as hunger, disease or homelessness. The poorest are considered most vulnerable because their justice systems—police, courts and laws—do not protect them from violent people. According to the UN Commission on Legal Empowerment of the Poor, justice systems in the developing world are so broken that the majority of poor people live life far from the law’s protection.[3]

The Locust Effect[edit]

In his 2014 book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence (Oxford University Press) Haugen introduces and defines the term “The Locust Effect” referring to the all-encompassing and devastating effects of common, ordinary violence on the lives of the poor. From the book: “Beneath the surface of the world’s poorest communities, common violence – like rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse and other brutality – has become routine and relentless. And like a horde of locusts devouring everything in their path, the unchecked plague of violence ruins lives, blocks the road out of poverty, and undercuts development.”

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton endorsed the book, saying that “The Locust Effect is a compelling reminder that if we are to create a 21st Century of shared prosperity, we cannot turn a blind eye to the violence that threatens our common humanity.” Google Giving Director Jacquelline Fuller states that the book is, “… a wake-up call to everyone who cares about global poverty.”

Other endorsers include Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Nobel Laureate and Founder of Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus, Founding President for the Center of Global Development Nancy Birdsall, Founder and Executive Chairman of World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab, President of Oxfam America Ray Offenheiser, President and CEO of CARE Helene Gayle, Redeemer Presbyterian Church Pastor Tim Keller, Chief Executive of World Vision Australia Tim Costello, and others.[4]


IJM was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen, the current president and CEO of the organization. Before founding IJM, Haugen was a human rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, where he focused on crimes of police misconduct. In 1994, he served as the Director of the United Nations’ investigation in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. In this role, he led an international team of lawyers, criminal prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and forensics experts to gather evidence that would eventually be used to bring the perpetrators of the genocide to justice. Haugen received a B.A. in Social Studies from Harvard University, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

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 to protect the poor from violence. Since then, IJM has worked with local authorities in their own communities to help bring people to freedom, and to prosecute their perpetrators under local laws. Haugen has brought evidence of his organization’s work before U.S. Presidents and Congress, heads of state, agencies such as The World Bank, Clinton Global Initiative, World Economic Forum, and many other influencers to champion one cause: the end of slavery, trafficking and violence against the poor. Haugen has been recognized by the U.S. State Department as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” – the highest honor given by the U.S. government for anti-slavery leadership.[5]

A committed Christian, Haugen was inspired by the work of historical leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mother Theresa, as well as contemporary human rights activists, in seeking justice for the oppressed. He founded IJM on the principle of Isaiah 1:17 (“Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” NRSV). Though it is a faith-based organization, IJM protects the poor from violence without regard to religion, race or any other factor, and they seek to partner with all people of goodwill.


Since 2006, IJM reports rescuing more than 19,000 people from violence and oppression, and securing the convictions of more than 800 violent criminals. Additionally, through its work in strengthening local justice systems, IJM is helping to protect 21 million people from violence globally.[6]

In 2010, IJM's Project Lantern reviewed[7] its programs in Cebu, Philippines, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[8] An independent audit revealed that there were 79% fewer minors in the sex trade in Cebu than before the program started, more than 200 minors were rescued, more than 700 law enforcement officials were trained, and more than 100 traffickers were charged.

The latest figures and stories from the IJM 2013 Annual Report[9] state that in that year, 3,555 children, women and men were brought to safety through IJM’s work with its local partners. Detailed view: 2,266 freed from forced labor slavery by IJM and its trained field partners in India; 239 rescued from sex trafficking in India, Cambodia and the Philippines; 131 child survivors of sexual assault now safe because IJM intervened in their cases in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia; 400 widows and orphans had their property rights secured in Uganda and Zambia; 471 hill tribe people secured legal proof of their rightful citizenship in Thailand—critical to protecting them from violence; 43 innocent men and women were set free from prison in Kenya.

Also in 2013: Working with local law enforcement, IJM helped to restrain 300 traffickers, rapists and other violent criminals, who are no longer free to harm victims or others in their community; and 153 criminals were convicted, representing significant hours in court, often over years, to secure each conviction.

IJM teams around the world are providing aftercare services to more than 4,000 survivors of violence and their families.[9]

IJM provides extensive case stories of the people it serves on its website including Revathy and her young family, who were rescued from slavery in an Indian rice mill. IJM helped Revathy start a small business, and she is helping her children become the first in the family to finish high school. Also Catherine, one of the first widows IJM met after opening its office in Gulu, Uganda. Former LRA soldiers stole her home and threatened her life with machetes and spears. IJM has helped police arrest those men, and ensure that Catherine is safe and her children and grandchildren can stay in school.[9]

IJM has trained more than 22,900 people, including police, government officials, judges and community members, to recognize and combat violent crimes in their own communities.

The organization has built a global advocacy program that helps pass legislation supported by international anti-trafficking and human rights advocates, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA),[10] which helps the U.S. to combat trafficking and slavery at home and abroad. IJM is advocating for the United Nations to add "protection from violence" as a key goal for ending poverty and ensuring human rights extend to all to the forthcoming Sustainable Development Goals.[11] The Philippines passed a new and stronger anti-trafficking law after years of concentrated advocacy by IJM and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (a coalition of government agencies, with IJM serving as the NGO representative) and students in the Phillippines are mobilized to advocate to the end of injustice in their country.[12]

IJM has worked with partners and local legislators to help secure significant justice reforms in Guatemala since 2005 that strengthen laws against traffickers and perpetrators of assault crimes, and safeguard children through the court process.[13]

Haugen and the work of IJM have been featured by “Dateline NBC,”[14]The Oprah Winfrey Show,”[1] [15] NPR,[16] 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,[17] Need Magazine,[18] Foreign Affairs,[19] Christianity Today,[20] The New Yorker,[21] and in the New York Times Magazine.[22] Haugen was also featured in Harvard Magazine[23] and in the University of Chicago School of Law's magazine, "The Record."[24] CEO Haugen has authored numerous articles on foreign affairs, international law and human rights.

In 2010, U.S. News and World Report [25] named IJM one of the top 10 service groups making a difference in the world, describing IJM as an example of “noteworthy public service programs that are having an impact.”

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, Board Chairman
  • Eric Asche
  • Rebecca Chan
  • Gary Haugen
  • Paul Lee
  • Terry Mochar
  • Nancy Ortberg
  • Raj Parker
  • Nicholas Sensley
  • Patty Sison-Arroyo
  • Alfonso Wieland
  • Martin Witteveen

Financial Information[edit]

IJM is committed financial responsibility, transparency and accountability. IJM complies fully with federal and state charitable solicitation requirements, is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, and meets all the Standards for Charity Accountability of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. IJM has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.. The annual financial reports and the independent auditor’s reports for the previous four years can be found on IJM’s website.[26]

IJM’s funding comes primarily from individuals (72%) as well as churches, foundations, and government grants (2%). IJM received a $5m grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[27] IJM was one of three anti-slavery groups that collectively received an $11.5m grant from the Google Foundation in 2011 to fight slavery in India and develop advocacy programs in the United States.[28]


IJM’s work of rescuing alleged victims from brothels has encountered criticism. Many brothels employ adult, non-trafficked workers that view sex work as the only means of supporting their families (due to lack of other opportunities), and return to the brothels. Some sex-worker advocates believe that the police involvement stimulated by IJM creates worse conditions for the women who want to be employed in the brothels.[29]

The International Union of Sex Workers criticises their practices as being founded in morality, which does not distinguish between consensual sex work and slavery, and that crackdowns drive prostitution further underground.[30]

IJM states that their operations with local police are focused solely on securing for children and trafficked women the right to be free from commercial sexual exploitation. In so doing, IJM is committed to do no harm to non-trafficked or willing adults in the sex industry. IJM has protocols that it introduces to local law enforcement that address the appropriate treatment of non-trafficked adults co-mingled in the brothel with children. IJM strongly encourages professional adherence to this standard both in police training and in the operations IJM assists.[31]

IJM states: “Based on years of experience in the field, we are convinced that long-term protection of children and trafficked adults from sexual exploitation can only be secured on the foundation of a functioning public justice system – which manifests itself in properly trained, sufficiently equipped, well-informed and empowered local law enforcement. It is not only possible, but absolutely essential, that the rights and needs of adult sex workers are not pitted against those of exploited children and trafficked women. NGOs representing the varying needs of our respective constituents must stay in informed and transparent dialogue with one another so we may work together to achieve the very worthy goal of protecting and empowering those we serve.” [31]

IJM’s Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy Holly Burkhalter, formerly with Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Human Rights, authors the organization’s viewpoints on these issues in an article from the Anti-Trafficking Review, Issue 1, June 2012.[32]


  1. ^ "2014 IJM Fact Sheet"
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^, IJM Guatemala best practices become permanent reforms in justice system, an IJM report
  14. ^ "Children For Sale," an episode of "Dateline NBC", January 9, 2005
  15. ^ "Child Sex Trafficking, The Facts," an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show"
  16. ^ "Cambodian Cop Targets Sex Tourists," an episode of "Weekend Edition Sunday," by Michael Sullivan, May 20, 2007
  17. ^ "Hitting Slavery Where It Hurts", an article in Forbes Magazine by Quentin Hardy, January 12, 2004
  18. ^ "Kids: Child Sex Trafficking," an article in Need Magazine, Winter, 2006
  19. ^ "And Justice for All," Foreign Affairs, May 2010
  20. ^ "On A Justice Mission: The Christian Vision Project," an article in Christianity Today by Gary Haugen, February 22, 2007
  21. ^ "The Enforcer: A Christian lawyer’s global crusade", an article in The New Yorker by Samantha Power, January 19, 2009
  22. ^ "The Girls Next Door" an article in New York Times Magazine by Peter Landesman, January 24, 2004
  23. ^ "A Calling For Justice," an article in Harvard Magazine by David McKay Wilson, March/April 2005
  24. ^ "The Record Online" articles by Gary Haugen
  25. ^ "10 Service Groups That Are Making a Difference" by Cathie Gandel, an article in U.S. News and World Report, October 27, 2010
  26. ^
  27. ^ "International Justice Mission Receives $5 Million Grant to Fight Sex Trafficking," March 14, 2006
  28. ^ "Google joins fight against slavery," CNN, December 14, 2011
  29. ^ Jones, Maggie (November 2003). "Thailand's Brothel Busters". Mother Jones. 
  30. ^
  31. ^ a b A False Controversy: Law Enforcement and the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Trafficked Women
  32. ^ "Sex Trafficking, Law Enforcement and Perpetrator Accountability," an article from Anti-Trafficking Review, Issue 1, June 2012.

External links[edit]