Written by Lauren Wiebe of Once Wed // Photography by Brian Tropiano
According to the United Nations, 4 billion people worldwide live outside the protection of the law. And when people have no protection from the law, their worlds erupt in violence; violence that not only can they not control, but they cannot run or hide from.
Did you know that nearly 30 million people in the world today are slaves?
Did you know that 2 million children worldwide are forced into the commercial sex industry?
Did you know that in many parts of the developing world, parents teach their children to run away from police, to stay safe?
For millions of people, the public justice systems are so broken, corrupt, and dysfunctional, that they have no where to turn for safety, for justice, or simply, for help. And for us, who are blessed with ongoing safety and protection, it’s hard to imagine both the day-to-day lives of these individuals, as well as how we can possibly be of help to them. This is why we love International Justice Mission, and the work that they are doing in developing countries around the world.
IJM is a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world. Their team is built of lawyers, investigators, social workers, and community activists. And rather than stop at the already difficult task of rescuing victims of violence, IJM goes many steps further: bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors, and strengthening the justice systems to stop violence before it starts, and protect these vulnerable people.
Changing how these local police departments and court systems are set up, operated, and how they hold criminals accountable is the only thing that will eradicate violence, persson by person and case by case.
Author Donald Miller refers to IJM as “a modern-day abolitionist movement, (…) setting people free.” And indeed, they are. The US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report (2012) stated that after 4 years of partnership between IJM and local law enforcement in Philippines, “the availability of minors for sex decreased by a stunning 79%.”
Whether you are more comfortable in the front-lines rallying or behind-the-scenes strategizing, IJM offers many ways to be involved. From advocacy to fundraising, donations to employment, the team at International Justice Mission opens its arms to those who want to help.
To register for IJM, you can start by clicking here or if you want to read a first hand account of working with IJM, check out this post by Brian Tropiano about a trip he took to capture imagery behind the impact this organization is making throughout the world.