Gary Haugen opened the discussion by outlining that far below the headlines, a plague of everyday violence, including rape, trafficking and police brutality, run rife in the developing world and is consistently undermining efforts to eradicate world poverty. He highlighted the four major realities of poverty and violence:

  1. Everyday violence is far more common than conflict violence, and the majority of this is sexual violence directed at women;
  2. Slavery is more rampant now than ever before; at least 30 million people are physically held in slavery today;
  3. Police abuse in the developing world is widespread—people run from the police for protection, contributing to the descent into poverty; and
  4. Land theft remains a devastating reality for many, especially widows and vulnerable land owners, leaving them destitute along with their dependents.
"Every reasonably functioning criminal justice system in the world was once brutal and corrupt. Every country engages a fascinating fight to not only set up a criminal justice system but then to get it back from either money interest or political power that coopts that system for its own purposes."
- Gary Haugen

Professor Kevin Bales, lead author of the Global Slavery Index, Co-Founder and former President of Free the Slaves, stressed that the collapse of justice systems around the world is a key problem to tackling violence, particularly for women who are often excluded from the criminal justice system. The IJM works on the ground in implementing successful programmes to eradicate violence in the developing world.

Haugen remains positive about the future, citing IJM’s success in targeting specialist police units who have become well trained and taught to serve the community; a partnership project in Indonesia with the Gates Foundation saw a 79% reduction in child sex abuse in only 4 years using this approach. These successful units can then serve as a model for other police units, they also shows civil society how a criminal justice system should work and thus generate further popular demand for justice.

IJM are also working to get violence embedded as a critical development issue in the next set of UN development goals.

The discussion was moderated by Anne Applebaum, Director of the Transitions Forum at the Legatum Institute.



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Further Reading
'Epidemic of violence' must end before global poverty can be erased – Christian Today, 3 March 2014