There are 46 million people in slavery around the world today. As Gary Haugen notes in Today’s Conversation, that’s more people in slavery today than at any other time in history. Still he’s hopeful — and has strategies — to see an end to human trafficking and slavery.

In this podcast, NAE President Leith Anderson and Gary Haugen, founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, discuss what’s going on with human trafficking today, as well as:

  • What led Gary to start a Christian ministry to restrain violence;
  • The relationship between proper law enforcement and poverty;
  • How local police and governments respond to IJM’s ministry; and
  • What strategies actually make a dent in reducing slavery around the world.

Read a Portion of the Transcript

Leith: Do you find cooperation with law enforcement, or are they resistant with what you’re trying to do?

Gary: Well it’s been a fascinating journey over these last two decades, because we’ve learned a number of things that yes, in every country that we work you can find very committed government officials who want to protect their common citizens from this kind of violence.

Part of what we do is find those champions within these developing world countries who are faithfully trying to do the right thing and to come alongside them with support and encouragement and capacity building, so that they can actually not only bring effective rescue to individual victims in their community but begin to transform the brokenness of their own criminal justice system.

Because I think it’s pretty clear now that when you go into the developing world, there are lots of systems that are broken. The education systems can be broken, the health system. But there is no more broken system in a developing world than the basic system of law enforcement.

One of the most hopeful things for us is to realize that every criminal justice system that we have in the world actually has had to go through a process of transformation. If you were to go back and look at the police and court systems in the United States or in France or in any of the advanced economies 150 years ago, you would find it enmired in a struggle against corruption and the brutal abuse of that police power by political factions — exactly the same circumstances that you find in the developing world.

So the developing world is going to have to go through this tremendous struggle to transform its justice system, so they actually serve the common person. And there’s an opportunity for the church to be part of that fight. Because in advanced economies, especially in the United States — there’s an amazing story when we had to go back 100-150 years ago when we had to build police forces and court systems that actually helped and served the common citizen. That was a struggle that the church was a leading voice in the past century, and it’s a role that the church can play now as the developing world goes through that same transformation.

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