Illinois Wesleyan Senior Works for International Justice
September 2, 2005
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Lindsey Irwin of Belleville, Ill, a senior Hispanic studies and
educational studies double major at Illinois Wesleyan University, spent the summer
of 2005 advocating for international human rights as an intern at the Washington,
D.C., headquarters of the International Justice Mission (IJM), a non-governmental
Christian human rights organization.
Founded in 1997, IJM investigates cases of injustice around the world, with the goal
of providing victim relief, perpetrator accountability, structural prevention of human
rights violations and victim aftercare. Through their offices in South Asia, Thailand,
Cambodia, the Philippines, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya and Latin America, IJM assists national
lawyers and investigators to build relationships with local authorities, persuading
police and government officials to enforce the human rights laws of their countries.
IJM also seeks to increase American, Canadian and British public awareness of and
commitment to battling international injustice.
Irwin, who has been conscious of international human rights issues since participating
in the Model United Nations as a student at Belleville Township West High School,
said that education is one of the most important steps to achieving international
justice. “I was shocked that some of my classmates [at Illinois Wesleyan] had never
heard of sex trafficking; they didn’t know it existed,” she said.
As an IJM intern, Irwin researched cases of human rights violations such as sexual
slavery, bonded labor, unprosecuted rape, wrongful imprisonment and illegal land seizure
in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Her findings provided material for IJM educational
initiatives, such as the 50-page advocacy guide to ending illegal land seizure in
Honduras that Irwin compiled with the other eight interns working at IJM headquarters.
Irwin also visited Capitol Hill, where she met with legislative aids for several members
of the U.S. Congress, including Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), Sen. E. Benjamin Nelson
(D-Neb.) and Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), in order to discuss concrete steps that
legislators can take to counteract international injustice.
“We know that we can make a difference,” Irwin said of the organization’s pervasive
sense of hope in the face of tragic crimes against women, children and other innocents.
“The lawyers, the investigators and even the interns are all able to use their skills
to help people who don’t have any means to help themselves.”
Contact: Rebecca Welzenbach, (309) 556-3181