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.

Christians on the Left writes "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."[3] 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.


IJM was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen, the current president and CEO of the organization. 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.[4]


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.[5]

In 2010, IJM's Project Lantern reviewed[6] its programs in Cebu, Philippines, supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[7] 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[8] 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.

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.[9] 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 Philippines are mobilized to advocate to the end of injustice in their country.[10]

In 2010, U.S. News and World Report[11] 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.”

Financial Information[edit]

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.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14]


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.[15]

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.[16]

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. 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.[17]

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.”[17]

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.[18]


External links[edit]