Year’s ago, I met an incredible woman who, as a lawyer, travelled the world fighting for human rights. She worked for Canada’s International Justice Mission, and I was always in awe of her work. So I’m thrilled to highlight the work of another lawyer working with the same incredible organization. Meet this week’s Inspiration, Jennifer Ip, founder of NourishHope.
A graduate of Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law, Jennifer has been practicing law for over a decade now. She worked as a civil litigator with an emphasis on insurance defence litigation before going to work for LAWPRO® in 1998. As a member of the Board of Directors of International Justice Mission Canada, Jennifer helps steward the work of Canadian legal professionals, who use their skills and talents to help further the cause of human rights around the world. IJM rescues victims from slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence, police brutality and deprivation due to poverty. IJM works with local populations in developing countries to give them the tools and training to strengthen their justice system. IJM lawyers, social workers, and investigators work in these communities to secure the protection of the law on behalf of victims of abuse and exploitation. To further IJM’s work, Jennifer also founded Nourishope, a fundraising event whose goal is to raise money and awareness to help the valuable and meaningful work the organization does. This year,
We got the chance to chat with Jennifer about her work with IJM and what inspires her to do what she does.
Tell me about IJM, what do they do?
International Justice Mission (IJM) is an organization that has teams of investigators in field offices in the developing countries that rescue victims of violence and people held in slavery including trafficked children, sexually abused women and children, and those who suffered police brutality. The IJM Social Workers work to restore the survivors to health and safety and give them their freedom and dignity back. The IJM lawyers stand together with the victims to help prosecute the perpetrators of violence. They also work with the authorities to lobby for change to the broken justice systems of the developing countries so it is strengthened and will work to protect the poor from violence.
How did you get involved this organization?
I first learned about the work of IJM Canada in 2010 from a speaker representative of IJM Canada at a Missions’ Conference. As a lawyer myself, I instantly fell in love with the work of IJM and approached the speaker to discuss how I can help with the amazing work of IJM Canada. I have served as a volunteer for IJM Canada ever since.
What is your WHY? (The reason why you do the work you do)
Modern day slavery exists and is happening globally. IJM works to help children, women and men and remove them from horrific situations of violence and restores the survivors. At the same time, with the assistance of IJM lawyers, the organization works to strengthen the justice systems of the developing countries by lobbying for change and setting precedents with each perpetrator prosecuted. Unless the justice system works, it does not protect the poor who are the most vulnerable.
We are fortunate and blessed to live in a society where we continuously work at improving our already sophisticated justice system and slavery is generally unheard of. I believe that we should stretch our work to the ends of the earth and provide assistance to help strengthen the broken justice systems in the developing world so that the less fortunate globally will be protected from being enslaved in violence and trafficking.
I want to help spread the word about the important work of IJM Canada and raise support. We have the capability to help no matter how big or small, and together we can make a difference.
What are some of the successes (big or small) you’ve had?
IJM has many success stories that can be found at www.ijm.ca. I want to share about the work of IJM in Cambodia to combat sex trafficking of children. We have heard of sex tourism. Pedophiles often flock to Cambodia which was known as a haven where children as young as 6 were available to be sold for sex. In early 2000s, it was believed that minors in the sex trade industry made up about 30% of those exploited in Cambodia. Today, it is down to an estimated 0.1% of children age 15 and under. IJM opened an office in 2004 and collaborated with the government, police, courts, social services and non-profit organizations in Cambodia to bring back trust to their justice systems, and to bring enforcement of the laws which existed but were not enforced. Today, as the stats demonstrate, there has been a dramatic decrease in the number of children sold for sex in Cambodia. This demonstrates that justice for the poor is possible.
The stats of IJM’s progress in Cambodia since 2004: 500 + have been rescued from sex trafficking; 198 criminals convicted for sex trafficking crimes; and 500+ anti-trafficking police officers trained.
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?
IJM Canada would be my top pick. 36 million people are held in slavery today (Global Slavery Index). Globally four billion people live outside the protection of the law (U.N.). An estimated 2 million children are exploited in the global sex industry (UNICEF). Modern day slavery exists and is a global problem. The more people involved, the more ability we have to accomplish IJM’s initiative to end modern slavery.
Learn more about and support the International Justice Mission here.