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By Mike Toth

Isaiah 1:17: Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
Plead for the widow.

International Justice Mission (IJM) Canada is part of a global organization that protects the poor from violence in the developing world, violence like slavery, sex trafficking, sexual violence against children, and other forms of violence. IJM operates in 17 communities around the world and estimates that it is helping to protect 21 million people globally from violence.

While many mission type organizations have a partnership of one form or another with the leadership of the areas they serve, IJM works consistently in partnership with local authorities, working to not only set individual victims free but also to address systemic issues in order to help transform the entire public justice system. For instance, IJM most recently became involved in the Philippines to help authorities respond to the cybersex trafficking of children.

My sons and I attended an information session about IJM at our church recently. One video that was played chronicled the struggle of slaves in Africa making bricks by hand. It was quite sobering for my boys when we studied the plight of the Israelites, making bricks by hand using the same methods thousands of years ago. “It takes a long time to see a system change, but we are relentless,” says Petra Kooman, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for IJM Canada. “Every rescue matters.” While the number of victims rescued varies from one operation to the next, one particular operation freed over 500.

The Christmas season of giving is the perfect time for individuals, families, and even churches to get educated about modern day slavery and to help alter the course of someone’s life. IJM has a list of speakers who would be thrilled to come and educate churches and groups about the scope of the problem and some of the solutions (

What really makes a great gift? The element of surprise? The unexpected?
Take :60 out of the holiday craziness and find out what can make a gift truly great.

IJM Canada relies primarily upon private gifts from individuals, churches, and foundations to fund the rescue of victims and help transform a public justice system. The IJM Canada Christmas Catalogue ( has great gift ideas for Christmas ranging from providing hot meals for survivors to funding an entire rescue operation. You will be partnering with a passionate and committed organization that is committed to protecting the poor from violence.

“I cannot stand by when the powerful take advantage of the vulnerable,” says Kooman. “There is an answer, though it may take a long time. We in the church can become overwhelmed with the size of the problem, but even one step forward makes a difference. If not you, then who? The church can rise up and respond to these issues.” As you go about shopping for loved ones this Christmas season consider making one of those gifts the freedom of a slave in your loved one’s name. There are few better ways to celebrate the birth of our Deliverer.