There’s a hidden crisis behind the fight against global poverty, and this plague is undermining development efforts. Listen as we address the everyday violence of rape, forced labor, police abuse and other forms of brutality that affect the world’s poor. Victor Boutros is a federal prosecutor specializing in human rights violations and has co-authored a new book with Gary Haugen called The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence. He joins us to unpack the threat of violence and how it plays itself out in four general categories:

Highlight – The Locust Effect

The Locust Effect

Gender violence – discrimination, abuse, and assault against someone, normally a woman or a young girl.

Forced labor – there are 30 million slaves in the world today.

Police abuse – “the police are often… the greatest source of violence” in the life of the poor.

Predatory land-grabbing – those in power, economically or politically, taking advantage of a neighbor by claiming their land and removing the owner.

None of the micro-loans, schoolhouses, or hospitals will help until we address the violence of the “locusts.” He draws a metaphor between the locusts that devour healthy crops and the wicked who devour the good fruit of social justice programs. How can we respond? The challenge, says Victor, is to “create public justice systems that will enforce the law on behalf of the poor.” There are a few reasons these programs currently fail to alleviate the problem:

The established programs are not tailored to the specific needs and culture it’s seeking to serve

Lack of funding and involvement within the community itself

Victor says, God is the God of justice; because we bear His image, part of taking dominion on the earth is spreading justice in every culture. “Every person is called to do the work of justice.” Victor calls us to give, serve, and pray as we work to end violence and the locust effect.