The event, which was held in the firm’s Belfast office, was attended by a host of representatives from John McKee’s corporate and financial industry clients including Ulster Bank, Bank of Ireland, Kerr Henderson, Danske Bank and Santander and included a presentation from Benson Shamala, the Deputy Field Office Director of IJM Kenya who currently leads a dedicated team that fights police brutality in Kenya. He previously played an instrumental role in setting up an IJM field office in Ghana to combat child trafficking. Whilst working in Ghana, he developed a robust program for caring for rescued children and has successfully rallied several partners to protect and care for trafficked children.

John McKee is working hands-on with IJM to advocate for and support the charity to help raise much needed funds and awareness of the work it carries out with the firm’s Managing Partner Chris Ross recently completing a challenging Half Ironman.

“We are proud to be working with International Justice Mission as our charity partner. Each year we encourage our team members to put forward suggestions of charities they would like us to support and this year our colleague Avril McCammon passionately presented the fantastic work IJM carries out globally to combat global slavery and trafficking, which she saw for herself first-hand when she was out in Cambodia with the organisation last year,” Chris Ross said.

“We are going to be working with IJM to help create awareness of the work they do globally and as part of this, we hosted a client event and were delighted to welcome Benson Shamala, the Deputy Field Office Director of International Justice Mission (IJM) Kenya to our office to hear more about the truly admirable work the organisation does. Many people believe that slavery ended hundreds of years ago but in fact there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. Millions of children and adults are beaten, raped and starved as slaves in homes, brothels, boats and factories. This can’t continue. It is despicable to think that this horrific treatment is still happening in this day and age and we will do as much as we can to support IJM in their work to help alleviate this.

We are also dedicated to raising much-needed funds for IJM to support the great work they are doing and I kicked this off last month when I took part in my first Half Ironman in Marbella. This was a gruelling race with an international field of 2,000 athletes from over 50 countries, including Olympic Gold winning triathlete Alistair Brownlee. I completed a 1,900m sea swim, a 90km bike ride (with a puncture at 18km in) followed by a half marathon along the beautiful waterfront of Puerto Banus and Marbella cheered on by thousands of onlookers. The firm also entered two relay teams in the 2019 Belfast Marathon earlier this month, with almost £4,000 raised for the Charity so far.” Chris added.  

Ruth Cooke from International Justice Mission said: “We are thrilled to have been appointed as the charity partner for John McKee. Already the firm has helped us raise much needed funds through its Managing Partner, Chris Ross, taking part in a challenging Half Ironman together with the fantastic efforts of the 10 John McKee runners who took part in the recent Belfast Marathon Relay.

Through the efforts of our office in Belfast, thousands of pounds have been sent to our front-line projects, many people have visited our projects globally, many have been inspired to use their buying choices to make a positive impact and many more people know how to spot the signs of slavery in their own communities. We are helping to make communities safer for the most vulnerable – for example, over a four-year period in the Philippines, we achieved a 79% reduction in the number of children being exploited in the sex trade through our efforts. But we know much more needs to be done and it’s the valued support from businesses, like John McKee, that makes it possible for us to carry out our vital work across the world.”

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