Ho’ola Na Pua hosted Thursday peaceful protests in Honolulu and Hilo to raise awareness about the issue of child sex trafficking in Hawaii on “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.”
The World Day Against Trafficking in Persons was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/68/192. Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children, and men for numerous purposes including forced labor and sex, in their own countries and abroad.
The organization said a study released this year that surveyed close to 100 survivors of sex trafficking in Hawaii showed that 25% of survivors were children when they were first sex trafficked, and the average age of first trafficking of children is 11 years old. Some 69% of the surveyed survivors reported having been homeless.
Ho’ola Na Pua, headquartered in Honolulu and Hilo, is committed to the prevention of sex trafficking and providing care for children who have been exploited. The organizations says it connects the dots between the lives of children and the community structure vital to keeping them safe, partnering with advocates and legislators to guide the legal framework addressing the crime of sex trafficking in Hawaii.
Ho’ola Na Pua’s programs are trauma-informed and survivor-informed. Programs focus on addressing commercial sexual exploitation of children through prevention through education and training, and direct services like peer to peer support, mentoring, and group services.