One of our interns, Priscilla Ko, had the opportunity to interview our friend Johanna Talley of IJM. In case you missed part I, it’s definitely worth the read on how Johanna came to be so passionate about fighting human trafficking. Today, Priscilla provides part 2 of the interview and covers the landmark grant Google made to IJM.
Q: Let’s talk a bit about Google and its $11 million grant. Was it expected or spontaneous?
Talley: Back in 2010 one of our board members was approached by the philanthropic chair of Google who had expressed interest in our organization. We spent almost an entire year working up a detailed proposal to submit to Google for consideration.
Q: Can you describe what it was like during the waiting process?
Talley: Even though we were alerted in October that we had received the grant, we had to wait until after Google’s announcement that December before we could share the news. I remember vividly that we were all at a prayer retreat when the workers first heard the news. People started dancing, lifting their hands up, hugging each other, etc. It was truly a sight to see.
Q: What are some of the ways IJM plans on utilizing this grant?
Talley: Most of it will be focused on eradicating slavery in India. We targeted India because out of the estimated 27 million trafficked victims, India holds over 20 million. If we make an example where it’s the most rampant, then hopefully we’ll also see ripple effects in the rest of the world.
Several components are important:
- We want to continue rescuing trapped victims as we have been doing.
- We want to focus on the aftermath
- To jumpstart local NGO’s
- To train law enforcements and casework managements
- To educate people (this is where companies like M121 would be involved in hiring craftsman and providing sustainable work)
We’re also advocating in the United States as currently there are still 15-some states that have no sort of legislation in prosecuting perpetrators. To do that we’re teaming up with several other organizations like Polaris Project that can work on enacting laws to stop the spread of human trafficking here.
Q: IJM has never shied away from declaring its Christian faith. Are there any unique challenges with pronouncing your faith and having credibility as an organization?
Talley: Our faith is our backbone. From the beginning of the organization until now, we have seen God move mountains and prove faithful to this organization. There are companies that refuse to team with us because of our Christian faith. That’s why the Google grant was such a game-changer for us; they didn’t care that we were a Christian organization, but focused on the results we were producing and wanted to help.
With a company like Google backing us, we can approach donors knowing there is no longer the excuse of Christian label to dismiss us. We’ve demonstrated that we are serious about our work and are making impact against human trafficking.