Public Square

How Violence Perpetuates Poverty

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“Who’s looking after the poor when the machete is coming after them?”

Gary Haugen, President and CEO of International Justice Mission (IJM), asked this question in a live webcast put on by Q Ideas to talk about his new book, The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence.

Haugen asserts that while wars and natural disasters make the news headlines,

It’s the everyday violence that’s devastating the lives of the poor.

What does this “everyday violence” look like? Haugen divides it into four categories:

  • Gender violence
  • Slavery
  • Police abuse
  • Violent land seizure

Until we address this violence, Haugen warns, we can’t expect our other efforts to help the poor to work.

What can we do to fight against violence as ordinary people? Haugen says,

The most important thing to be done to begin with is to talk about the problem… Nothing is going to happen about slavery and human trafficking because we are aware but nothing will ever happen until we are aware.

But the church has a role to play too. Haugen recounts eras in history when the church took the lead in standing up against violence and oppression. The people of God, Haugen contends, have an opportunity to take the lead and change the world. What can this look like today? Listen to the full webcast to find out.

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Photos: Gary Haugen discusses his new book and discusses its implications with Gabe Lyons, founder and CEO of Q Ideas. Screen capture from

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