International Justice Mission

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For the Malaysian company, see IJM Corporation.
International Justice Mission
Established 1997
President Gary Haugen

VP and COO: Gary Veurink

Chief of Staff: Shelley Thames
Budget US$24.6 Million (annually, FY2010)
Location HQ: Washington, DC
Field offices: Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda, India, Dominican Republic

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a U.S.-based non-profit human rights organization[1] that operates in countries all over the world to rescue victims of individual human rights abuse. IJM works to combat human trafficking including the commercial sexual exploitation of children, forced labor slavery, illegal detention, police brutality and illegal land seizure. Based on referrals of abuse received from relief and development organizations, IJM conducts professional investigations of the abuses and mobilizes intervention on behalf of the victims. Though it is a faith-based organization IJM assists victims regardless of their religion. The fourfold purpose of IJM is victim relief, perpetrator accountability, victim aftercare, and structural transformation.[2]


IJM was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen, the current president and CEO of the organization, and began operations in response to a massive need. Haugen has worked at the United States Department of Justice in the civil rights division and also the United Nations investigator in charge in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide in 1994, founded international justice mission as a response to this massive need.

The organization grew out of a group of Christian religious government officials who desired to provide legal assistance to impoverished victims of violent abuse.

Haugen and the work of IJM have been featured on “Dateline NBC,”[3] “The Oprah Winfrey Show,”[2] [4] FOX News, MSNBC, CNN, NPR,[5] Forbes Magazine,[6] Need Magazine,[7] Christianity Today,[8] and in the New York Times Magazine.[9] Haguen was also featured in Harvard Magazine[10] and in the University of Chicago School of Law's magazine, "From The Record"[11]

The organization's headquarters are in Washington, D.C. and it has partner offices in Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and in the United Kingdom. As of 2012, IJM has field offices in Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines[12] Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, India, and casework alliances in Ecuador and Peru.


  • Gary Haugen, President and CEO • Gary Veurink, Executive Vice President and COO
  • Sharon Cohn Wu, Senior Vice President, Structural Transformation
  • Chong-Ae Shah, Executive Vice President of Global Brand Marketing and Mobilization
  • Holly J. Burkhalter, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy
  • Bill Clark, Vice President of Mobilization Strategy
  • John Lax, Vice President Information Systems
  • Sean Litton, Vice President of Field Operations
  • Jim Martin, Vice President, Church Mobilization
  • Melissa Russell, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships
  • Kathy Stout-Labauve, Vice President, Aftercare
  • Shelley Thames, Chief of Staff
  • Lauren Weaver, Vice President, Finance
  • Tony Wester, Vice President Human Resources

Board of Directors[edit]

  • Nicole Bibbina Sedaca
  • Rebecca Chan
  • Ram Gidoomal
  • Gary Haugen
  • Stephen A. Hayner
  • Mark Kroeker
  • Laurent Mbanda
  • Terry Mochar
  • Nancy Ortberg
  • Raj Parker
  • Alfonso Wieland
  • Martin Witteveen
  • Eric Asche


The International Justice Mission (IJM) focuses on human rights in developing countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. IJM primarily focuses on rescuing victims from slavery and sexual exploitation.

  • Victim relief: to alleviate the suffering of the victims who have been brought to IJM’s attention.
  • Perpetrator accountability: IJM works to hold perpetrators accountable for the actions by putting them through the local justice system. According to IJM, the “accountability changes the fear equation” from the victim being afraid to prosecute them to the potential perpetrator being afraid to commit the crime for fear of the consequences.
  • Victim aftercare: to prepare the victims to rebuild their lives and to provide the care necessary for healing from the complex emotional and physical results of abuse through IJM employees and trustworthy local partner organizations.
  • Structural Transformation: works to prevent future abuse towards anyone in the community by “strengthening community factors and local judicial systems that will deter potential oppressors”


In 2010, IJM's Project Lantern reviewed[13] its programs in Cebu, Philippines, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation[14] and concluded that there were 79% fewer minors in the sex trade in Cebu than before the program started, over 200 minors were rescued, over 700 law enforcement officials were trained, and over 100 traffickers were charged. In 2011, IJM stated that they had worked with local authorities to free over 2500 bonded laborers in the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh since 2001.[15]

Financial information[edit]

IJM’s financial goal is to use its resources to provide the most relief possible for victims of oppression. IJM has received a 4-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.

Only 20% of IJM’s funding comes from government grants. The rest is donated by individuals, churches, and foundations,[2] including $5m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[14] IJM is the leader of three coalition 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.[16]


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.[17]

IJM claims to have a protocol for their foreign police partners which includes these requirements: that the police protect the sex workers from the media, that the police assure the sex workers that they are not being arrested, and that organizations that provide social services to sex workers not be implicated in police enforcement operations. However, IJM embedded a film crew from the American television program "Dateline" to film a raid of a Cambodian brothel, in apparent disregard of this policy.[18] The botched raid resulted in the arrest of several non sex workers caught up in the raid, including a noodle seller who was denied medication by police and died in police custody. Further investigation revealed that many of the "rescued" sex workers escaped from an IJM "safe house" and returned voluntarily to brothels.

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.[19]

IJM has articulated a response to these criticisms, citing Human Rights Watch and other sources, that emphasizes the need for continued efforts to prevent child sexual trafficking.[20]


External links[edit]