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Kershaw’s Challenge's Impact
In 2011, LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and wife Ellen Kershaw started Kershaw’s Challenge, a faith-based, nonprofit organization. They founded the organization with the goal of encouraging people to use their talents to give back to people in need. Nine years later with the same goal at heart, Kershaw’s Challenge’s impact on the Dominican Republic continues to grow through Both Ends Believing and International Justice Mission.

While Kershaw’s Challenge focused solely on Zambia at its start, it expanded to focus on Dallas and Los Angeles in 2012 and in 2015, widened its reach to the Dominican Republic. In 2019, the organization announced its partnerships with Both Ends Believing and International Justice Mission, focusing on the Dominican Republic. Both Clayton and Ellen felt led to serve the Dominican Republic because they knew many fellow baseball players and teammates from the country.

Both Ends Believing (BEB)

In May 2019, Kershaw’s Challenge announced Both Ends Believing (BEB) as its new beneficiary. BEB’s mission is to “see every child grown up in a family” and has implemented Child First software to accomplish this.

According to SOS Children’s Villages, nearly 578,000 children under the age of 15 in the Dominican Republic are without parental care. Child pregnancy, chronic disease and mental or physical disabilities are among the factors that lead children to be at risk of being without care.

Through BEB’s software, it is able to identify children living in situations where they are vulnerable or at risk of neglect. BEB is then able to form a plan to get children out of these situations and into a loving home.

Kershaw’s Challenge’s impact on the Dominican Republic has continued through its support of Both Ends Believing. Its partnership with BEB also has a focus on Zambia, its other international beneficiary.

International Justice Mission (IJM)

In August 2019, Kershaw’s Challenge announced International Justice Mission (IJM) as its new beneficiary, focusing on efforts combatting human trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Several months earlier, Clayton and Ellen Kershaw traveled to the Dominican Republic alongside IJM. While there, they had the opportunity to meet with the Dominican Republic’s President, Danilo Medina, and they discussed the exploitation of children in the area. They were also able to visit Santo Domingo’s red-light district where they spent an afternoon playing baseball with survivors of sex trafficking. They even spent a night undercover in Boca Chica, where they saw trafficking first-hand.

According to the International Justice Mission, human trafficking in the Dominican Republic is mainly street-based, where customers can purchase young girls very easily. IJM has rescued more than 120 children and young women and has restrained more than 30 criminals since it opened its field office in the Dominican Republic back in 2013.

Through its partnership with IJM, Kershaw’s Challenge hopes to focus on the rescue and restoration of survivors, the restraint of suspects and the conviction of traffickers in the Dominican Republic. The organization also wants to help improve aftercare and investigation programs.

7th Annual PingPong4Purpose

In August 2019, Kershaw’s Challenge hosted its seventh Annual PingPong4Purpose, where it had a Giving Wall that raised funds for a rescue mission through IJM. A portion of the proceeds also went to Both Ends Believing, as well as its other national beneficiaries.

Kershaw’s Challenge’s impact on the Dominican Republic has been great through both International Justice Mission and Both Ends Believing, as both organizations remain a special cause for both Clayton and Ellen. Kershaw’s Challenge plans to announce its 2020 beneficiaries on Opening Day, March 26, 2020. People can donate to Kershaw’s Challenge directly through its website, and can also support the organization through buying merchandise or attending events.

 – Megan McKeough
Photo: Flickr

anti-trafficking organizations
Countless organizations around the world, big and small, conduct efforts to combat human trafficking in all of its forms. Here are three anti-trafficking organizations trying to make a difference and give hope to the millions of victims and survivors of this heinous transnational crime.

1) Anti-Slavery International

Based in the United Kingdom, Anti-Slavery International has been working to combat slavery since 1839 and this year is celebrating its 175th anniversary. Originally called the Anti-Slavery Society, it focused on emancipating slaves in the British colonies, Americas and the Caribbean in order to bring an end to the Transatlantic Slave trade.

Anti-Slavery International continues to combat modern slavery through advocacy, public outreach, education and its many campaigns. Some of its current campaigns include projects to combat trafficked labor in the Thai fishing industry, pass legislation that seeks to protect domestic workers around the world, end the chocolate industry’s role in child trafficking in the Ivory Coast and eradicate forced labor in the cotton industry of Uzbekistan.

Successes from its campaign activities include the passage of an International Labor Organization Convention on Domestic Labor, a European Union Human Trafficking Directive and the establishment of legislation criminalizing the use of forced labor as a form of trafficking in the U.K.

2) International Justice Mission

The main purpose of the International Justice Mission is to protect those in poverty from fear of violence which they are disproportionately subjected to due to a lack of legal protections throughout many justice systems in the developing world.

IJM works to protect the poor from violent people through partnerships with local authorities who help carry out four projects: rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors and strengthening justice systems. IJM’s method works as a three-phase program called Justice System Transformation.

The first phase focuses on the victims of trafficking: IJM works with local actors to rescue and restore victims of trafficking while at the same time bringing to justice those who perpetrate the crime. The second phase focuses on working with local actors to reform justice institutions so that they better address human trafficking and other forms of violent crime related to slavery. The third and final phase involves monitoring operations to support the continuation of just responses to slavery related crimes in countries with newly reformed justice systems.

3) Love146

The foundation of Love146 begins with a heart-wrenching story about the co-founders’ journey to Thailand and the child slavery they saw undercover in a brothel. The campaign is named after one particular girl they witnessed in the brothel, numbered 146, who refused to give up the fight against the crimes being committed against her.

Love146’s main focus is to combat the trafficking and exploitation of children. Their mission statement explains, “We believe in the power of Love and its ability to affect sustainable change. Love is the foundation of our motivation.” Their love and human compassion approach is composed of four interconnected programs.

The first program, which focuses on caring for survivors, involves the operation of safe houses in regions where child trafficking is prevalent within which victims can fully recover and reintegrate into society as healthy and prosperous adults.

The second program consists of prevention education programs which seek to educate children in at-risk areas about trafficking operations, how to spot traffickers and what to do to avoid being caught up in and how to report human trafficking rings.

The third program revolves around training professionals who frequently work with children, such as teachers, in learning how to spot trafficking victims, how to report these crimes and how to help victims who they may come into contact with.

The last program is an advocacy effort to empower those who fight against human trafficking through greater coordination and organization in order to more effectively combat the highly organized criminal trafficking network.

 Erin Sullivan

Sources: Love146 1, Love146 2, Love146 3, Love146 4, Love146 5, Love146 6, International Justice Mission 1, International Justice Mission 2, International Justice Mission 3, Anti-Slavery International 1, Anti-Slavery International 2, Anti-Slavery International 3, Anti-Slavery International 4
Photo: LoveGreater

international_justice_summit
International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency headquartered in Washington, DC, will hold its annual Advocacy Summit on June 9-10, 2014. This event allows IJM supporters from around the nation to gather together for advocacy training and day of lobbying on behalf of anti human trafficking legislation.

Many IJM supporters are asking the question, “What else can I do to help IJM’s work overseas to free slaves and protect the vulnerable?” IJM’s advocacy program began in 2007 with a grant from Humanity United. The idea was to engage “ordinary Americans” in the fight against modern-day slavery by voicing their concerns to their elected officials.

This advocacy program began with postcards – hundreds of them – sent from constituents to their elected officials to voice their concerns for the enslaved and urge Congress to take action.

Two years later, the first Advocacy Summit was held in Washington, DC. Approximately 80 people were present for this first advocacy day in 2009, where “ordinary” citizens were trained and then sent out to meet with Representatives, Senators, and their staff to “give a voice to the voiceless” – a popular phrase when advocating for the world’s most vulnerable.

At the forefront of IJM’s policy agenda this year is the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, H.R. 2283 and its “companion bill” in the Senate, S. 1249.

This legislation seeks to upgrade the US State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) to the same level as other State Department regional bureaus that it regularly converses with on behalf of trafficking victims.

This legislation would effectively give the experts within J/TIP a “seat at the table” in foreign policy discussions surrounding Trafficking in Persons and give them the authority of a State Department Bureau.

This bill was introduced into the House last June by Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey and currently has 63 cosponsors. It was introduced in the Senate last June by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and has 21 cosponsors.

IJM’s Advocacy Summit has grown each year, and IJM hopes to host 250 advocates this June 9-10. The event is empowering for people who have long supported IJM with their time and money, as the act of lobbying can often feel like a more tangible action on behalf of the poor.

“Everybody who participates in meetings with legislative staff on behalf of the poorest, most powerless people on earth—modern-day slaves— comes away feeling that they’ve made a significant contribution. Because they have,” says Holly Burkhalter, IJM’s Vice President for Government Relations and Advocacy.

– Madisson Barnett

Sources: IJM Campaign Blog, IJM Freedom Commons, Library of Congress, Library of Congress
Photo: Freedom Commons

Peace_love_world_happy_ending_violence_justice
In light of Bill Gates’ recent letter that predicted the end of poverty, many are in agreement, but  in order to see the end of poverty, we are required to see an end to violence.

International Justice Mission (IJM) is a global human rights agency whose mission is to protect the poor from any kind of violence, notably the kind that is not printed in newspapers or spread across the Internet.

Gary A. Haugen, the agency’s founder and president, recently published a new book titled, The Locust Effect, and writes, “The locusts of everyday violence have been allowed to swarm unabated in the developing world. And they are laying waste to the hope of the poor.”

Since 1997, Haugen and International Justice Mission have represented thousands of victims of violence in Africa and Latin America as well as South and Southeast Asia. The people they have helped are victims of rape, slavery, sex trafficking, police brutality, a lack of property rights, and other crimes.

Before founding International Justice Mission, Haugan worked as a lawyer at the United States Department of Justice and as the Investigator in Charge for the United Nations after the Rwandan genocide. He founded the organization to fulfill a need to provide healthcare, education, food and other necessary services to the world’s poor. Haugan realized that many of these individuals were victims of violence as well and that they were not receiving the proper resources and assistance to stop the perpetrators.

Today, International Justice Mission has over 500 lawyers, social workers, investigators and others who help to fulfill the need to protect the impoverished. It has made its duty to combat human violence, or “violence that strips widows and orphans of their property and livelihoods, violence that steals dignity and health from children trafficked into forced prostitution, violence that denies freedom and security to families trapped in slavery.”

This commitment to end violence, in forms of both oppression and injustice, is becoming even more important in regard to seeing an end to poverty. In many of the most impoverished areas of the world, the people who need the most help are not able to receive it because the justice systems in their areas are unable to protect them.

The atrocities that many would consider both tragic and heartbreaking are a common occurrence for those who live in the poorest areas of the world. It is estimated that the world’s poorest 4 billion people are unable to receive protection from their country’s justice system.

Without proper protection, it is even more difficult for those in poverty to have a better life, as they are still subject to violence that can take them out of their homes and forever negatively impact their lives.

This kind of abuse and gross injustice can no longer be ignored and International Justice Mission seeks four outcomes for these victims: victim relief, perpetrator accountability, survivor aftercare, and structural transformation.

In order to end the inequality and poverty around the world, we must first end the violence that has left so many to suffer injustices every day.

 Julie Guacci

Sources: Forbes, The Huffington Post
Photo: wbdcflblog

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.

  1. Victim Relief is International Justice Mission’s first responsibility. The most important task is to immediately rescue people trapped in slavery.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Structural Transformation is the strengthening of communities and judicial systems to be able to better fight human exploitation.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: International Justice Mission, Charity Navigator