The Locust Effect

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Today’s article is different from my regular posts. Bear with me if you are new here. It communicates a passion close to my heart concerning human trafficking, poverty and violence. There is a compelling video at the end of this article if you are not in the mood to read. Thanks for sticking with me through some difficult realities in our world today.When we see a hungry child, we want to feed him. A sick child, give him medicine. An illiterate child, educate him. But what about do we do about a child that lives in constant fear of violence! 4 billion people live outside of the protection of the law. How do we help the vulnerable? #locusteffect

Last night our family watched the Dreamworks animated movie The Prince of Egypt. In this life story of Moses, there was a scene in which the Israelites, who were slaves in Egypt, were being whipped for not working faster.

My youngest was completely distraught and defensive.

“Mommy, the slave dropped that bag because it was too heavy for him! Why are they hitting him? He should run away!”

This sparked a conversation that I was planning on having with you today as well. I explained to my son that slavery meant they had no freedoms, and the enslaved man was not permitted to leave…ever.

I listened as my angered son shared how unfair that was. He asked repeatedly,

“Why doesn’t somebody go help them?”

I smiled at such an innocent and obvious response. You could imagine his surprise when I told him there are 30 million people being held as slaves today.

“Again, why doesn’t somebody go help them?”

If you know me in real life, you know my heart for the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization I have been involved with for over 8 years. You have heard me tell stories, share pictures, and be a voice of women and children I have met in the poorest communities around the world.

…Stories like the 6-year old girl I met in Cambodia that IJM had just rescued from a brothel where she had been repeatedly used as a prostitute. 6 years old! As I held her in my arms and she smiled a toothless grin at me, I could not help but think of my own daughter back home. This precious Cambodian girl was somebody’s Lily….only stolen away from her mother and sold into a lifestyle never intended for her.

2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex trade a year. (UNICEF)When we see a hungry child, we want to feed him. A sick child, give him medicine. An illiterate child, educate him. But what about do we do about a child that lives in constant fear of violence! 4 billion people live outside of the protection of the law. How do we help the vulnerable? #locusteffect

“3.5 billion of the poorest people live with a constant threat of being raped, robbed, assaulted and exploited. They frequently name violence as their “greatest fear” or “main problem.” For them, vulnerability to violence is just as much a part of being poor as illness, malnutrition, dirty drinking water or inadequate education.” (Gary Haugen in the Huffington Post)

What would life feel like suffocated by the constant fear of violence upon you in a community unprotected by the law? If you are willing to have your view of poverty challenged, my friend and founder of IJM, Gary Haugen, released a book today co-written with Victor Boutros called 

The Locust Effectthe end to poverty requires the end of violence

The premise of this book is that the end of poverty requires the end of violence. Filled with poignant stories and comprehensive research, their argument is both compelling and motivating. The vastness of this feat may seem overwhelming but they offer hope and provide detailed example of how this has been accomplished in modern-day cities.

The Locust Effect

What can you do?

  • Watch this video
  • Buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. 100% of the author’s royalties are going back to IJM to fight violence against the poor.
  • Tell world leaders to make this a priority by signing this petition to the UN.
  • Visit and learn more.
  • SHARE and increase awareness.

IJM offered to give one of our readers a copy of The Locust Effect. The giveaway has closed and the winner will be announced shortly.

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13 thoughts on “The Locust Effect

  1. Thank you so much for sharing, Allison. I am so moved by this post and will be sharing it. I hope our library can also get a copy of the book – will recommend it to them.

  2. Thank you for adding your voice to an issue that is constantly avoided. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the book and was glad you shared the video. Oh how I wish there was a children’s book on modern-day slavery. In the absence of that kind of resource, we talk with our boys about how other children need our help because they are being treated wrong and being used in ways that hurt them. And, the boys are getting it, bit by bit as they try to understand why adults would make harmful choices. Thank you, Allison!

    • Sheila, a children’s book on modern-day slavery would be fantastic. Last year when I taught Lily about the Civil War, it was incredibly surprising that the books fail to mention any modern day slavery. I even graduated college without knowledge that there were millions still enslaved. You should write the book!

  3. I am new to your blog. After reading this post I am happy that I’ve subscribed. Every day we take our freedoms for granted, and it’s important to take the time to reflect on the realities of our world. I spend most days reading about making homemade playdough or some other fun activity for my daughter. Many people outside lack this luxury. Thank you for sharing. The Locust Effect sounds like a necessary read. I will certainly share the information with others.

    • Thank you so much Rebecca. It is hard to write about a topic that is uncomfortable for people to read. It doesn’t evoke the warm fuzzys but I still think necessary to discuss. I appreciate your perspective and support. I’m happy you are here.

  4. Thank you so much highlighting this very important issue. It is such a tragedy and reminds me of how blessed I am to not have to fear that my children will face this reality. I plan to support through purchasing the book and will definitely be spreading the word as this is so important.

  5. Thank you so much for shedding light on such an important issue. I am involved in a nonprofit (feel free to check us out at and thus have become exposed to so many violations of human rights, and I’m glad that I ran into your page while doing some research. I will definitely be sharing this information!

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