I wasn’t planning to bring you another organization profile this week, so soon after the FMSC profile, but when I woke up this morning, the first thing I saw was a friend’s retweet about an International Justice Mission (IJM) lawyer, his client, and a taxi driver who were kidnapped in Kenya. IJM was asking its supporters to use social media to make the Kenyan ambassador aware of the kidnapping and move him to help the investigation along. I added my voice to the chorus by posting my retweet, and I decided to use today’s blog post to introduce you to IJM.
Because of the underground nature of the offense, as well as the varying definitions of “modern slavery” and “human trafficking,” there is no concrete number of people enslaved in the world today. In a 2014 report, the U.S. State Department put the number at around 20.9 million people. The Global Survey Index puts the estimate at 35.8 million. Other estimates run even higher. Only God knows the actual number, but whatever it is, it’s too many. Even one is too many.
I could go on and on about how our wasteful love of cheap commodities and industries like fast fashion and pornography fuel this problem, but I really want to talk about the heroes, not the villains. International Justice Mission is one such hero. They are the largest justice organization in the world. IJM has 17 field offices around the world, and they work with the governments of developing nations to insure that all people are treated fairly and allowed to live free.
IJM’s focus is on fixing broken systems by providing resources and training for local law enforcement and advocacy and hope for victims. They physically rescue people living in slavery, work with social services to see people restored to their communities in a safe and healthy way, push for the prosecution of criminals, and provide legal services to the falsely accused.
It’s a big organization with a lot of irons in the fire, but it is extremely well run. International Justice Mission is rated “gold” by GuideStar, and is a Charity Navigator four-star organization. Their financial reports from the past five years are available right on their website. IJM’s CEO, Gary Haugen, has a background in human rights prosecution with the U.S. State Department. He founded IJM after working on the Rwandan genocide for the State Department and realizing that the world needed more people fighting injustice and violence against the powerless.
If you’re interested in the cause of human trafficking or modern slavery, the IJM website has many useful links and resources. I highly recommend them as a source of information, and they are an excellent organization to support with your finances and prayers. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter so you can raise your voice for awareness as well!