Each year, the Department of State honors individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking. These individuals are NGO workers, lawmakers, police officers, and concerned citizens who are committed to ending modern slavery. They are recognized for their tireless efforts – despite resistance, opposition, and threats to their lives – to protect victims, punish offenders, and raise awareness of ongoing criminal practices in their countries and abroad.
Gary Haugen serves as President and CEO of International Justice Mission. IJM is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community that promotes functioning public justice systems. Under Mr. Haugen’s leadership, IJM has assisted nearly 4,000 victims of sex trafficking and forced labor since 2006 alone, leading to more than 220 criminal convictions and hundreds of ongoing trials. IJM is also using its innovative model to address sexual violence, property seizure, illegal detention, and police brutality.
Mr. Haugen’s vision has transformed human rights advocacy and is empowering a new generation of activists to help local governments transform justice systems to protect the poor from violence. This powerful model is working: independent evaluation has demonstrated that after four years of IJM partnership with local law enforcement in Cebu, Philippines, the availability of minors for sex decreased by a stunning 79 percent.
We applaud the work of Gary Haugen and IJM and encourage you to join the fight against slavery!