International Justice Mission to Open Third Philippine Field Office to Combat Human Trafficking
IJM celebrates 15 years – opens 15th field office in Pampanga, the Philippines with commitment to reduce availability of children for sex in region by 40 percent by 2015
WASHINGTON, April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that secures rescue for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression, announced today it will open its 15th field office in Pampanga – its third field office in the Philippines.
“The Philippine government welcomes the announcement by IJM that it is establishing its presence in the Province of Pampanga,” said Jose Vicente B. Salazar, undersecretary of the Philippines Department of Justice. “Pampanga is suspected as a haven for the operation of syndicates involved in human trafficking and child pornography. We are confident that the success of our partnership with IJM in other provinces, more specifically in the Province of Cebu, will be replicated in the Central Luzon region with Pampanga as the hub.”
Kaign Christy, former IJM Southeast Asia director of operations, will be IJM Pampanga’s new field office director. The office, scheduled to officially open in June, is linked to a commitment IJM made in September 2011 at the Clinton Global Initiative – named “Preventing and Reducing Trafficking with a Proven Model.” This initiative will use a collaborative casework model, supporting local authorities to secure victim rescue and perpetrator accountability, partnering with local government and non-governmental agencies to provide aftercare to survivors, and ensuring that the public justice system – police, courts and social services – effectively and sustainably protects vulnerable people. The aim of this “structural transformation” is to reduce the availability of minors for commercial sexual exploitation by 40 percent in Pampanga by 2015.
“Our results from our structural transformation project in metro Cebu, the Philippines demonstrated a dramatic 79 percent reduction in the availability of children in the commercial sex industry,” said Sean Litton, vice president of field operations. “Now that we know that these results are possible, we’re excited about the impact an expansion of this model will have on hundreds of thousands of lives in another area known widely to be a child sex trafficking hub.”
IJM also celebrates its 15-year anniversary this month. IJM was founded in 1997 by Gary A. Haugen, current president and CEO. Haugen, a former Department of Justice attorney, launched IJM after leading the United Nations’ investigation in the aftermath the Rwandan genocide. In 1998, IJM conducted its first rescue operation for victims of forced prostitution in Mumbai, India. Since then, IJM has expanded geographically to 15 major metro areas in 10 countries, a staff of more than 400 employees, many of whom are attorneys, law enforcement professionals and social workers, and the vast majority of whom are nationals of the countries in which they serve. IJM casework serves victims of sex trafficking, bonded/forced labor, police abuse, illegal detention, citizenship rights violations and illegal property seizure. IJM ensures the survivors it serves are equipped with sustainable aftercare and helps prosecute perpetrators.
In 2011, IJM helped 2,473 children, women and men, and conducted its largest rescue operation to date in Chennai, India, where it partnered with government to rescue 514 bonded laborers from a brick kiln. Since 2005, IJM has assisted more than 11,000 individuals, many of whom were victims of forced labor slavery or sex trafficking, provided aftercare for thousands and implemented projects to protect whole communities.
To learn more about IJM’s 15-year history, visit http://www.ijm.org/content/celebrating-15-years.
To learn more about IJM’s successful structural transformation project in Cebu, the Philippines, visit www.ijm.org/projectlantern.
About International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work in 15 communities in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America with local officials to secure immediate victim rescue and aftercare, to prosecute perpetrators and to ensure that public justice systems – police, courts and laws – effectively protect the poor.
CONTACT: Lacey Hanson
SOURCE International Justice Mission