TIP Award Year:
Gary Haugen was an attorney for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. before founding International Justice Mission in 1997. He was with the civil rights division, and spend several years, on loan, as the Officer in Charge of the UN’s Center for Human Rights genocide investigation in Rwanda. He oversaw and directed the investigation, including the collection of evidence and the preparing of a case. After conducting a survey for the DOJ of various officials, NGO workers, and others around the world, Haugen founded IJM to combat many of the human rights abuses he was told about. Specifically, he wanted to provide in country legal aid and advocacy. IJM, a faith-based organization, has since pursued human trafficking as a human rights issue around the world. Working on the ground, they have prosecuted traffickers, rescued victims, provided grassroots-level advocacy, and trained law enforcement as well as government officials.
In 2010, for example, IJM concluded, after an independent evaluation, that their four years of partnering with local law enforcement in Cebu, the Philippines, had led to a 79 percent decrease in the availability of children for prostitution. While not exclusively a human trafficking organization, working also on issues such as corruption, illegal detention, police brutality, and other human rights abuses, IJM has one of the most influential presences internationally with regards to human trafficking. They have provided assistance to thousands of trafficking victims around the world. Between 2006 and 2012, they assisted almost 4000 victims and prosecuted 220 offenders. The unique approach they use of pursuing case work within the legal systems of the countries in which they work has helped to strengthen the rule of law as well as provide justice for victims of trafficking. They continue to be one of the most powerful abolitionist voices in the world today, and Gary Haugen, as their CEO, is still at the forefront of all that they do. In 2012, Gary Haugen was honored as a "TIP Report Hero Acting to End Modern Slavery" in recognition of his efforts to combat human trafficking.