International Justice Mission is a global organisation with a plan to eliminate the slave trade everywhere.
IJM staff partner with local authorities to protect the poor from violence in 17 communities throughout the developing world in Cambodia, the Philippines, Thailand, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Guatemala and South Asia.
We, at St Dionis, specifically support the Dominican Republic office.
IJM investigators, lawyers and social workers intervene in individual cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities in the countries in which they work. They work together to rescue victims, restrain criminals from hurting others, and restore survivors to safety and strength. Working in partnership with government authorities is the best long-term strategy to ensure that the poor are protected from violence.
Please join with us to pray for the work of IJM, in the Dominican Republic and worldwide.
IJM prayer update from the DR Field Office:
Pray for the millions of women and children in Central America suffering sexual and physical abuse due to the increase of violence resulting from lockdowns to contain COVID-19. As calls to helplines significantly increase due to domestic and sexual abuse through the region, pray for courage for victims to break the silence. Also pray for quick response from local authorities to protect them and for our team's safety as we continue to support local authorities during this pandemic.
Please pray for the team in the Dominican Republic as they care for survivors of sex trafficking amid strict quarantine measures set by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Due to the crisis, many child survivors of exploitation are more vulnerable to being revictimised, especially the ones living in remote and vulnerable communities. The IJM team will distribute much-needed basic supplies for them. Pray for God's constant protection over the IJM staff, these survivors and their families.
Pray for God's wisdom over local governments as they consider extending lockdown or re-opening operations. Many of the region's economic and political systems were already fragile, and this virus could push them to a breaking point. Pray for God's protection upon the most vulnerable as these decisions are made on their behalf.
Please pray that God would draw the right person to serve as Country Director in the Dominican Republic. This person will lead IJM's work combatting sex trafficking in the DR, and will scale rescue and protection for vulnerable children. Pray that God would grant the recruiting team wisdom and discernment, and that this crucial role would be filled promptly.
Last year the IJM team in the Dominican Republic secured a 20-year sentence against a German citizen guilty of trafficking, physical and psychological abuse and sexual exploitation of two Haitian sisters. Recently, the aggressor appealed the sentence. The hearing for his appeal has been rescheduled twice already, delaying justice for the two survivors, and the next hearing is currently set for December. We urge you to pray that the hearing will not be suspended again and that the judge overseeing this appeal will uphold the previous sentence and rule with justice — serving as an example to other courts.
Pray for wisdom for all the collaborative casework staff as they make plans for the upcoming year. In 2020, they will continue to identify individual and local organisations who want to learn and contextualize IJM's model to provide legal and aftercare services for children survivors. Pray that God will lead IJM's staff to partner organisations who have a heart for justice and will walk with future survivors.
Pray for male survivors of sexual violence, sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in Latin America. Through the years, our teams and partners in the field have been supporting them with legal services and trauma therapy. We have seen that male survivors experience violence and show trauma in a different way, and this requires the creation of different plans to provide them with the critical tools they need to reach restoration. Often, there is extra pressure for survivors who are males as their sexuality and manhood is questioned when they are interviewed in the different stages of their legal process by officials who haven’t received critical training in trauma-informed care or by people close to them who don’t fully understand what they went through. Please pray that all male survivors who we serve will experience true breakthrough in their healing process as we continue to seek justice in their cases.
Praise God for...
Praise God for a summit in Latin America where many of the IJM leaders gathered to refine strategy for their work combatting violence against women and children in the Northern Triangle. Thank God for these leaders, and please pray for wisdom and energy as they implement increasingly integrated programs to address violence in their countries.
Give thanks for a new chance to pursue justice for Yessica*, a survivor of sex trafficking in the Dominican Republic — our team secured a successful appeal in court for her case! Yessica was drugged, sexually abused and later sold for sex to other men for days by a neighbor and his friend. Since 2016, our team has walked with Yessica and her family, representing her in court and providing therapy. Last year the two suspect perpetrators were not held accountable when the case was dismissed after many roadblocks. But our team didn't take a no for an answer and submitted an appeal. In November the appeal was accepted, and a new trial will open. Praise God for this incredible open door and pray that the judged appointed to the trial will rule with justice.
In 2017, you prayed with us as we walked with six boys, ages 9 to 14, who were victims of sexual abuse and exploitation in the Dominican Republic. We praised together as our team secured a 10-year sentence - the maximum sentence by law in the Dominican Republic for this crime - against their aggressor. We celebrated later in 2018 that most of the survivors finished their therapy process. Now, we are asking you to continue praying for the legal side of this case. By local laws, their aggressor has two opportunities to appeal his sentence. Praise God that the first time he appealed the judge decided to uphold the sentence. Please continue praying as the second appeal happens, pray that once again the sentence would be upheld and justice would prevail.
Give thanks for Clayton and Ellen Kershaw (from the Los Angeles Dodgers), who, as part of their partnership with IJM, visited our Dominican Republic office to help bring an end to sex trafficking of children. They met with local government officials, local partners and survivors. They also used their platform in the US to shine a light on this issue and ESPN recently released a clip about their visit. Click on the link below to watch: