It was difficult to read The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. Written by Gary Haugen, who heads The International Justice Mission, the book powerfully describes the realities facing poor people in the developing world. With careful reference to research and statistics, but personalized with individual accounts, Haugen makes the case for justice and protection from violence as the missing solutions that keep the world from making much headway against issues like human trafficking, disease, hunger, and poverty.
Haugen and his organization investigate these issues and advocate for victims around the world, and Haugen’s background is with the US Department of Justice and the UN, so he writes from personal knowledge and experience. IJM is a Christian organization, but has the respect of the secular development community too, as evidenced by book blurbs from people like Madeleine Albright. I first heard about IJM at my church in DC over a decade ago, and I think it’s a great example of an organization that is putting faith into practice.
Haugen’s book Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World is also excellent, and is written to a primarily Christian audience, but in The Locust Effect he broadens his reach to include everyone, while not minimizing the fact that his faith drives his commitment to these issues.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your interests are (although if your subjects are law, law enforcement, or international development you’d be especially interested), I think you need to read The Locust Effect. The book is that important. Although it was hard to digest the content because the magnitude of the problem is so vast, the writing is clear and compelling and the prescriptions are thoughtful. I’m adding this book to my top reads of 2014 and am certain to continue thinking about it and what I can do. I highly recommend it.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.