Uncover the hidden plague the world has missed

Sometimes when we see the reality of the suffering in the world around us, we want to close our eyes and forget what we’ve seen. Because if we were to acknowledge the plague of violence that has swept across our world, we would feel compelled to act.

That was the experience of Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission. Upon serving in Rwanda as the United Nations’ Director of Investigations following the genocide, he was so impacted by all that he saw, that he had to act. His response was to found IJM, a global organisation that protects the poor from violence throughout the developing world.

Why violence? Because the threat of violence is part of everyday life for the poor; it’s as much a part of poverty as hunger, disease or homelessness. Because it is devastating our global efforts to end poverty; the poorest are so poor because their justice systems don’t protect them from violent people. 

This reality has been proven true for millions of children, women and men.


Mariamma* had been working in a brick factory for years. She couldn’t leave the factory and was beaten by the man who owns her. Everything about this is completely illegal, but the man who hadenslaved her made no effort to hide what hewas doing — because exploiting an impoverished woman like Mariamma is ordinary.

In Mariamma’s own words:

“The cruelty — we have to take it, because we don’t have money or power. The police will believe [our owner] and not us because we are slaves…”

Laura* was only 10 years old, but already knew that every day held reasons to fear violence. In the slum where she lived, most daily tasks weren’t safe:
Her community wasn’t safe: she was on her way to the community toilet when she wassexually assaulted by a neighbour.
The walk to school wasn’t safe: She was on her way to class when she was assaulted again — by a different neighbour.
And even her home wasn’t safe: she was trapped in a nightmare of relentless abuse from her own father.

Susan* is a Ugandan grandmother who wasviolently thrown from her home by a man determined to take her small patch of land.It’s a common nightmare for many women in her community. When Susan left her home for a night to attend a wedding in another village, her neighbour literally toredown her home, so he could take the little patch of land it sat on.

An elderly woman already bearing the heavy burdens of trying to scratch out survival for herself and her grandkids, what could Susan do? There was no one standing up for women like her.Thrown from her home, she had no shelter, no place to grow food and no garden for income.

Nonita* was lured from her hometown by traffickers promising a high-paying job, but she soon learned it was a lie. Nonita realised she would be forced to line up in a room to be sold to men for sex, she said she was “shocked and terrified.”

“I have the right to stand up for myself. I have the right to be loved.” – Survivor ‘Bill of Rights’ written by Nonita and other survivors

All of the above are actual IJM client stories.  But for each of them, their story differed from those of millions of others in one crucial way: they have all been brought out of the darkness of everyday violence into the light of freedom andgiven hope for the future. They have all been able to make their voice heard so that justice can be proven possible. 

IJM protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities to: rescue victims; bring criminals to justice; restore survivors to safety and strength; and strengthenjustice systems, helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts.


We believe the work of justice begins with prayer. As we seek justice on behalf of others, we rely on a God of strength to help us do what is only possible with and through Him.

Join us at the Friends Meeting House, Manchester on Tuesday 23rd September for the Labour Party Conference Prayer Breakfast, led by IJM. Learn more about everyday violence, pray for an end to this hidden plague and be inspired to take up the call for justice. 

*A pseudonym has been used for the protection of this IJM client.

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