Who Is International Justice Mission?
Reported by Ian Snively
Photographed by Bethany Woods
Flipping through clothes and through several sources of brands, Reagan Swier, who was then just a high school student, traveled down the rabbit hole to understand how her everyday attire was made. Behind the racks of jackets, jeans and jewelry at a store like Forever 21 exists a hidden story of third-party manufacturers in foreign countries abusing their workers.
“Just the idea that someone was being exploited and their life being ruined so I could have another pair of jeans didn’t sit well with me,” Swier said.
Her disgust with the state of forced labor and slavery around the world drove Swier to seek justice. That was why she joined the International Justice Mission (IJM) when she started as a freshman at George Fox University (GFU). Today, the junior student helps lead the IJM club at GFU as vice president.
IJM is a Christian-based international organization that advocates for the end of slavery, sex trafficking and other injustices that happen to the poor and destitute. They work with lawyers, social workers and law enforcement to fight for citizen rights in local areas.
To spread the word to the youth of America, the organization created several campus chapters at universities across the nation. Students can participate in these groups to spread awareness within their communities about global injustices. Swier said that the campus chapter at GFU was established a decade ago, and to this day, students are engaged in their cause.
“If it’s an issue they (IJM) want to fight in the future,” said Swier, “they’re going to need people from our generation who are passionate about it to stay passionate.”
The campus chapter at GFU works regularly with Door to Grace, a local family support organization in Portland that provides sanctuary to children who are victims of sexual violence and trafficking. The organization has helped out with auctions to raise money for their program.
The group also set up booths on campus, urging students to call their members of Congress to push for legislation that will help support international justice. This year they are trying to encourage Congress to raise funding in foreign aid for the 2019 budget.
If you would like to know more about IJM and what you can do to help, visit their website at https://www.ijm.org/.