Gary Haugen
Gary Haugen

The absence of law enforcement in developing countries undermines the fight against global poverty. This theory, explored in the 2014 book The Locust Effect: Why the End of Poverty Requires the End of Violence, has earned its authors the 2016 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.

Authors Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros outline the failure of criminal justice systems to address what they call the “plague of hidden, everyday violence” inflicted on the poor. They contend that all economic efforts to address deprivation are likely to fail in the absence of protection against crimes such as human trafficking, sexual assault, police brutality, and forced evictions.

“Haugen and Boutros identify a significant global problem and, more importantly, suggest a practical solution,” said award director Charles Ziegler. “Building the rule of law in local communities through creation of effective police forces and impartial law-enforcement institutions are presented as a means to address the problem.”

Haugen is founder and president of the International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works with local authorities to combat violence and build justice systems. He previously served as a human rights attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and in 1994 directed the United Nations’ investigation into the Rwandan genocide. The U.S. State Department praised him as a Trafficking in Persons “Hero” for his anti-slavery leadership. He holds an undergraduate degree from Harvard and a law degree from the University of Chicago.

Boutros is a visiting scholar at George Washington University Law School. He previously served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, investigating and prosecuting human trafficking, hate crimes and official misconduct cases around the country. He also trained law enforcement professionals from the United States and other parts of the world as a member of the Justice Department’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, which helps build the capacity of human trafficking enforcement teams. He is a graduate of Baylor, Harvard and Oxford universities, and the University of Chicago Law School.

All 2016 Grawemeyer Award winners will be announced this week, pending formal approval by the university’s board of trustees. The University of Louisville presents the prizes annually for outstanding works in music composition, ideas improving world order, psychology, and education and gives a religion prize jointly with Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The 2016 winners will present free lectures about their award-winning ideas when they visit Louisville in April to accept their $100,000 prizes.