International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that rescues victims of violent oppression, including those trapped in slavery or sexually exploited. The organization brings justice to victims by prosecuting those involved in trafficking or related crimes.
International Justice Mission was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen. At the time, Haugen was working as a lawyer at the U.S. Department of Justice and as the UN’s investigator of the Rwandan genocide. Founded upon Christian principles, the organization began as a study on the injustices witnessed by missionaries and relief workers abroad. The study was launched by a group of lawyers, human rights professionals, and public officials. The study examined 65 organizations and uncovered glaring abuses of power by authorities in the regions they served. Haugen and other professionals realized that victims overseas desperately needed the help of professionally trained justice experts. Since then, International Justice Mission has been a legal force against global human trafficking and other crimes.
International Justice Mission now includes more than 500 lawyers, investigators, and social workers. Furthermore, 95% of these workers are nationals of the country in which they work. By working with legal systems, International Justice Mission is working to bring the law onto the side of those who need it.
International Justice Mission’s vision statement is, “To rescue thousands, protect millions and prove that justice for the poor is possible.” This mission is in response to the millions of lives trapped in injustice today. In fact, more people are enslaved today than the entire course of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Human trafficking generates profits that exceed $32 billion a year. Even worse, nearly 2 million children are exploited by the world’s commercial sex industry.
To combat human exploitation, International Justice mission works in 16 field offices in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. In these locations, lawyers and social workers take on individual cases of exploitation. These professionals work with local and state government to acquire support for victims and legal prosecution of perpetrators.
The mission of this organization is stated in four steps.
- Victim Relief is International Justice Mission’s first responsibility. The most important task is to immediately rescue people trapped in slavery.
- Perpetrator Accountably brings justice to those who are victims. By legally convicting perpetrators, International Justice Mission forces criminals to see the consequences of their actions.
- Survivor Aftercare is designed to ensure that victims of slavery are enabled to reclaim their lives and heal from the emotional and physical abuse that they faced.
- Structural Transformation is the strengthening of communities and judicial systems to be able to better fight human exploitation.
– Grace Zhao