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International Justice Mission
Established 1997
President Gary Haugen
Budget US$20 Million (annually, FY2008)
Location HQ: Washington, DC
Field offices: Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, India

International Justice Mission is a U.S.-based Christian non-profit human rights organization 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 four-fold purpose of IJM is victim relief, perpetrator accountability, victim aftercare, and structural transformation.[1]



IJM was founded in 1997 by Gary Haugen, who currently serves as the President and CEO of the organization. Previously, he worked in the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice, was director of the United Nations genocide investigation in Rwanda in 1994, and served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals.

The organization grew out of a group of Christian lawyers and was described by Haugen in a 1999 interview as existing within the Christian community and attempting to rekindle the social engagement of evangelical Christians.[2]

Haugen and the work of IJM have been featured on “Dateline NBC,”[3] “The Oprah Winfrey Show,”[1] [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 affiliate offices in Canada and in the United Kingdom. As of 2007, IJM has field offices in Guatemala, Bolivia, Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines[12] Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, India, and casework alliances in Honduras and Peru.


President and CEO: Gary Haugen
Executive Vice President and COO: Gary Veurink
Chief of Staff: Shelley Thames
Senior Vice President Justice Operations: Sharon Cohn Wu
Senior Vice President Education and Dean of the IJM Institute: Larry Martin


IJM outlines its purpose with four points. This outline is designed to restore to victims of oppression their lives, their liberty, their dignity, and the fruits of their labor. It is also designed to prevent the enslavement and suffering of future generations.

Victim relief: to alleviate the suffering of the victims who have been brought to IJM’s attention.

Perpetrator accountability: to use local justice systems to prosecute offenders, thus dissuading would-be future perpetrators because of the enforced 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 like Rapha House in Cambodia.

Structural transformation: to work with nationals and their governments to identify deficient areas in judicial systems and repair these areas so that long-term changes supporting the end of abuse and slavery occur. As of 2009, 90% of IJM’s three-hundred-thirty-five staff members are nationals of the countries they work in.[13]

Financial Information

IJM’s financial goal is to use its resources to provide the most relief possible for victims of oppression. IJM is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Responsibility. 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.[14]

Press Coverage and Criticism

IJM’s work of rescuing victims from brothels has encountered criticism, as some brothels also have non-trafficked workers that view prostitution 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]

IJM does 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.

Another source of criticism for IJM is its religious base. The mission operates as a Christian organization using the biblical call to “seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the cause of orphans, fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17 NLT). IJM only hires Christians and there is a scheduled corporate prayer time every day at the organization’s headquarters. These moral standards coupled with the criticism around IJM’s brothel raids has led some critics to label IJM as a “conservative”, “zealous”, or even “fundamentalist” group.[16]


External links

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