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The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,209 ratings  ·  198 reviews
When we think of global poverty we usually think of hunger, disease, homelessness. Few of us think of violence. But beneath the surface of the poorest communities in the developing world is a hidden epidemic of everyday violence-of rape, forced labor, illegal detention, land theft, police abuse, and more- that is undermining our best efforts to assist the poor.
Gary Haugen
Hardcover, 346 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published December 9th 2013)
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Mikey B.
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Every once in awhile there is a book that succeeds in re-shaping your out-look. “The Locust Effect” is one such book.

One of Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms was “Freedom from Fear”*. This is what this book is about. My review will consist of many devastating quotes from it. The premise is that the bulk of the world’s poor in developing countries are oppressed by fear – and that is their main day-to-day pre-occupation. They have absolutely no protection under rule of law. They fear for their sa
Muneel Zaidi
You can teach people how to farm, create access to clean water, and make affordable housing, but none of that will matter if the people you are trying to help are not safe. In the virtually lawless places that the disenfranchised poor live in, providing basic physiological needs will only treat the symptoms of the problem, doing nothing to address the root of the problem, violence. Socially conscience people will find much of interest in this graphic account of the lives of the millions who live ...more
Arun Mahendrakar
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'd like to start by saying that the first few chapters of this book are definitely not for the faint-hearted. It paints a stark and dark picture of violence around the world.

Chapters 1 and 2 talk about extremely disturbing stories of abuse on women / girls and some statistics about violence against women across the world. There are sections that talk about forced labor and illegal land seizures. And then there is heart-rending story of Caleb and Bruno who are victims of abusive police.

It is not
Keren Threlfall
My introduction to Gary Haugen and International Justice Mission came a few years ago when I read Haugen's book, Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian . At the time, I didn't think Just Courage itself to be a monumental work; but as a result of reading the book, I began following the work that IJM and Haugen are leading around the world.

Contrary to my opinion of Haugen's first book, I tend to think that The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Vi
Charles J
Feb 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I was hoping to find real insight in this book. I didn’t. Not because the authors are not well-informed—they are very well informed about their topic. Nor because the authors are not well-intentioned—they are very well-intentioned. Nor do they appear to be wrong about most or all of their facts. But despite all their effort, coupled with constant and justified moral indignation and calls for global justice, they fail to confront the real reasons and solutions for the problem they outline.

The pro
Pat Rolston
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is not easy reading and not in the technical sense, but in the gut wrenching in your face sense. There isn’t a book I have ever read short of depictions of the Rwanda Hutu-Tutsi massacres or the Jewish holocaust that elicit the sheer horror of mans inhumanity to man.

The author uses case studies to illustrate the savagery and inhuman actions common today throughout various regions of the world regarding slavery, human trafficking, and sexual violence. There are countervailing forces and ini
Tim Hoiland
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this game-changing new book, Gary Haugen of International Justice Mission and Victor Boutros of the U.S. Department of Justice argue that the experience of being poor nearly always includes vulnerability to violence, and that this violence keeps the cycle of poverty exceedingly difficult to break. They write, “It turns out that you can provide all manner of goods and services to the poor, as good people have been doing for decades, but if you are not restraining the bullies in the community f ...more
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: missions, leadership
This book rocked my world.
Sometimes when I read a deeply-moving novel, my eyes brim with tears as my favorite character meets a painful demise. I have to pause and remind myself that this is a fictional world. But never have I ever shed a tear reading a non-fiction book...until now. I was so deeply affected by the stories of children and women and men in "The Locust Effect." Their true stories literally broke my heart.

The Locust Effect makes a rigorous case that the end of poverty will require
Mar 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a phenomenal book arguing that the end of poverty requires the end of violence. If you think this is one of those 'anti-war' books, you are thinking too narrowly. A lot of what Haugen and Boutros are looking is violence within a given society which aggravates the suffering of the poor. Often things like rape, murder, abuse are illegal, but if the victim is poor, they have no hope of recourse through the legal system. There are systemic problems that allow for the poor to be continually ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I read the very promising preview of this book which consists of the Introduction and (part of?) Chapter 3: The Locust Effect - available here. In this book, which will be released in February 2014, Haugen focuses on the impact of criminal violence (and a lack of access to justice) on the poor, and how this can annul international efforts to alleviate them out of poverty. ...more
Sonja Bates
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finally finished. Took me 23 days to read. A rather slow speed. But here is what I learnt:

#1: It is the hidden forces of violence that keep states and its most vulnerable citizens trapped in the chains of poverty. Endemic to being poor is this vulnerability to violence and those of us who visit these places simply do not see it - we book our holidays on the beach, sip our Mojitos and have NO idea that the people you pass in the streets are more than likely struggling in ways we can't imagine. T
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read. You cannot fix poverty without focusing on violence. Or rather, it doesn't matter what you do to make the lives of the poor better so long as they do not have access to a fair criminal justice system. This book is so right and it is intuitively right for anyone who has any experience at all abroad, but in a few very important ways it is wrong or not complete:

1. If you're going to focus on the systems of violence affecting the global poor, you have to talk about the US m
Luke Magnuson
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book seems important to me. Highly recommended if you have any interest in global poverty alleviation. It does a great job of highlighting:

a) The significance of everyday violence in the lives of the global poor, and their need to be protected from it. Indeed, much of our other aid initiatives fail to have as large an impact as they might otherwise have because of the poor's vulnerability to violence.

b) The importance and necessity of functional public justice systems in protecting the poor
Natalie Hook
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book stresses the fact that all the monetary aid, schools, hospitals, and supply donations in the world won’t truly make an impact to those in developing countries until their criminal justice systems are changed to work for the poor and not against them. A highly recommended read that will likely make you feel like you’ve been living under a rock. One of the key solutions to ending global poverty is decreasing widespread violence and giving millions of people what so many of us take for gr ...more
Angela Mitchell
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very well researched, data and story driven explanation of the importance of personal security and effective criminal justice systems to eliminate extreme poverty. Hard to read at times because of the traffic stories, but also insightful as to what we can do moving forward.
Philip Hazelip
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"...a better day for the poorest in our world will only come as we are willing to walk with them into the secret terror that lies beneath the surface of their poverty."

An eye-opening, somber, but hopeful read.
May 01, 2017 added it
The more I read the Bible the more I realize the ways that God is concerned about social justice. Many Christians, including myself, have failed to reflect Christ in our ignorance of the dark realities of the oppressed around the world.

The Locust Effect highlights the root of global poverty in violence. It's difficult to read because it exposes the worst of what we as humans are capable of doing to one another. That being said, we cannot go on pretending that providing food, education, water, an
Leanne Rhodes
I have read “The Locust Effect” by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros. I encourage every person who is interested in fighting trafficking to read it.

The Locust Effect is years of experience, tears that have been wept and lives that have cried out for justice, all rolled up into one script for the world to take notice of. I hope we all learn the lesson that the violence the poor face on a daily basis needs to be addressed or the aid and development work we do can be completely undermined by those tha
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Five stars for the importance and interest of the topic -- the ubiquity of violence in the lives of the world's poor, free from any operating justice system -- but this is so annoyingly written that it may not help the cause. There's incessant use of italics for emphasis. There's chapter after chapter organized around incomprehensible or unilluminating metaphors (pipelines! naked emperors! the truck at the author's grandfather's raspberry farm in Wisconsin?) before concluding in really strained ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
“Without the world noticing, the locusts of common, criminal violence are right now ravaging the lives and dreams of billions of our poorest neighbors.”

"[W]e need to change the conversation. Whenever we speak of global poverty, we must speak of the violence embedded in that poverty...In every forum, conference, classroom, policy discussion, think tank, blog, or dinner table conversation where global poverty is center stage, the problem of violence deserves equal time with hunger, dirty water, d
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
STRONGLY recommended

It took me a long time to read The Locust Effect. The author, Gary Haugen, is the founder of International Justice Mission, and I was already pretty familiar with their work already. However, I did not have a clear picture of the context in which IJM does their work. To distill the work into good guys versus bad guys is overly reductive. Fighting human trafficking (among a whole range of other crimes) exists within a landscape of utter corruption, social impunity, and ignoran
James (JD) Dittes
The world needs more lawyers.

Did I just write that?

You can really tell when you're under the influence of a pretty impressive book when ridiculous notions like these enter your head. Yet that's exactly how I felt when I finished The Locust Effect.

The book is very graphic. The anecdotes that Haugen begins with--of murder, of loss of property, of slavery & abuse--are terrible to read (or listen to, as the case may be), but they are a great set up for the rest of the book, which is comparatively dr
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this really wrecked me, at least the first three quarters or so, where Haugen shares some horrific stories of injustice. In the developed world, our justice system might be flawed, and still there is great inequality -- but in other parts of the world, the justice system acts as a full blown agent of the "bad guys". Corruption flourishes and the rich are impervious to ramifications of any heinous acts committed.

A great deal of effort by the developed world is expended in anti-poverty ca
Femi Vance
Feb 18, 2014 rated it liked it
The book is a jarring introduction to the violence faced by many poor people in developing countries. Haugen uses personal stories and research to illustrate the magnitude of the problem. It is painful to know and nearly impossible to forget. He explains how the justice system, or lack thereof, contributes to the violence in the poor communities worldwide. A smaller than expected section of the book is dedicated to discussing the strategies that are working to address violence by reforming the j ...more
Adam Shields
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Short Review: The Locust Effect: Why The End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence by Gary Haugen - a really important (and well written) book about why international development needs to include violence reduction and improvement of the legal and justice systems in the developing world to continue to see reductions in world wide poverty rates.

The book is at times hard to read because of the details of the suffering going on around the world. Rape, murder, slavery and other violence are real
Ratul Ahmed
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first few chapters sheds light on some realities of the developing world we sometimes find ourselves ignoring. Haugen does a great job laying out a problem and forging a well-thought solution. However, parts of the book are naive and offer surface solutions.
To the person that has never experienced the struggles of the developing world, this is a perfect push into the deep end of the pool. However, to those that have worked, lived in, experienced the 'way the world works' outside the West, t
Sara Pomeroy
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ for ANYONE involved in Missions and the work to fight Global Poverty

This book, no doubt, holds nothing back when Gary recounts the details that have resulted in the Locusts of violence that is overtaking the global poor all over the world in the first 3 chapters of this book.
That said, the message is revolutionary, essential and a call to action is clear.
If the message is headed and action is taken, there is a very present hope that the end of violence and poverty is possible
But we M
Jim Martin
Feb 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book that should help broaden the conversation about poverty alleviation. Once you grasp the reality of the plague of violence affecting the world's poor, you'll wonder why we haven't realized and begun to address it sooner. The book offers durable hope in the form of historical precedent and current-day demonstration projects that have proven effective--often phenomenally so. A must read.
Clara Williams
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Locust Effect offers a different perspective of global poverty and the different factors that contribute to the poverty that the world overlooks. This book rocked my world!

The only downside of the book is that the entire book addresses what is wrong with the world's view of poverty and the solutions that are offered are on the last FOUR pages. I'm hoping for a sequel with more thoughts on what can be done about global poverty through Haugen's new perspective.
Sam Hakes
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A must read for understanding poverty.
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Gary A. Haugen is founder and CEO of International Justice Mission, a human rights organization based in Washington, DC. Prior to founding IJM he worked in the civil rights division of the US Department of Justice and was director of the United Nations genocide investigation in Rwanda. He is also the author of Good News About Injustice (IVP).

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“the poor don’t have much in the way of money or possessions to steal—so it turns out that the most profitable thing to steal is the whole person.” 6 likes
“One would hope that if the world woke up to such a reality, it would swiftly acknowledge and respond to the disaster—but tragically, the world has neither woken up to the reality nor responded in a way that offers meaningful hope for the poor. It has mostly said and done nothing. And as we shall see, the failure to respond to such a basic need—to prioritize criminal justice systems that can protect poor people from common violence—has had a devastating impact on two great struggles that made heroic progress in the last century but have stalled out for the poorest in the twenty-first century: namely, the struggle to end severe poverty and the fight to secure the most basic human rights.” 2 likes
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