On August 12 and August 13, Ho’ola Na Pua partnered with Awaken International in hosting a Sex Trafficking Awareness & Training Conference in Puna, Hawai`i.
The target audience were members of the local community, majority of whom are unaware about the issue of sex trafficking. At the conference, attendees had the opportunity to hear about what could be done to help put an end to this injustice on their island. After the conference, some people were even ready to enthusiastically jump on board to help spread awareness about underage sex trafficking within their own local community.
Ho’ola Na Pua Big Island Outreach Representative Dawn Johansen and Volunteer Jeanette Robertson commented, “We drove to Hilo from Kailua-Kona in the fog as the rain came and left. The weather led us to wonder how many people would actually be able to come to the conference. We were looking forward to helping them become aware of the warning signs of sex trafficking, how recruitment occurs, and how they can volunteer to help prevent underage sex trafficking. Though it showered heavily that night, the rain did not stop sixty-four people from attending the conference. The next night, thirty-seven people were present–both men and women. After hearing about the warning signs, several families were very interested as they were concerned that a possible family member may have been or are being trafficked. We hope to return and continue more training in order to support the Big Island community.” We are excited to see more awareness and education taking place on the island. We are also thankful for Kaleo Schneider (Ho’ola Na Pua educator and volunteer) for being able to join us for this awareness event.