Gary A. Haugen is founder and president of International Justice Mission (IJM) — a global human rights agency that protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities and law enforcement to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems. The largest organization of its kind, IJM has served thousands of survivors of violence. Haugen was the Director of the U.N. investigation in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide, and has been recognized by the U.S. State Department as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” – the highest honor given by the U.S. government for anti-slavery leadership. His work to confront violence against the poor has been featured by Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Times of India, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, The Guardian, and National Public Radio, among many other outlets.
Posts By This Author
For the World's Poor, Violence Is an Everyday Threat
Caleb is a father in Africa. He works hard as a night watchman, and he and his wife save from their small income with the dream of sending their daughter to college. But the family’s dreams are destroyed when the police arrest Caleb on a random sweep for a robbery he had nothing to do with. This is not to say that the evidence against him was flimsy; there is no evidence against him whatsoever. The police needed to show an arrest had been made, and Caleb was an easy target … because he was poor.
Once in police custody, Caleb is viciously beaten. He is shaken down for bribes. And then, he is thrown in jail and charged with a capital offense. He is given no indication of when he might have a chance to prove his innocence – and even if he were, Caleb can’t afford a lawyer to help him. His family struggles to hang on without him.
What is perhaps most stunning about Caleb’s story is not the brutality (though it certainly is brutal), the singular unfairness of it all (though it is dramatically and utterly unjust), the hopelessness (though the story is obviously devastating). No, what is most stunning is just how ordinary Caleb’s story is.